October 10 marked a very special anime day with the big screen re-release of the first Pokemon movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back. Thanks to my amazing friends at PokeCollection, I was invited to a special screening at Hoyts New Zealand, along with some other cool peeps.
I was excited. I had just come from watching Boruto: Naruto The Movie in the afternoon (click the title for my review) and couldn’t wait to watch another anime film, yet alone one that I had thoroughly enjoyed as a child. I can clearly remember the Pokemon craze I went through with my childhood friends. Those were the good old days. Saving up all my lunch money to buy booster packs every week in the hopes of scoring a rare holo card, trading cards with friends to diversify my collection, watching the animated series every Saturday evening and then begging my parents to let me watch the movies when they came out; those were exciting times. Pokemon was such a huge, worldwide phenomenon back in the late 90s and early 2000s that it blows my mind how big it still is in certain parts of the world, with a loyal fan base still collecting, trading and even competing in card games. One such fan is PokeCollection, who not only enjoys all aspects of the Pokemon brand personally but has also dedicated a YouTube channel and various social media platforms to sharing, engaging and interacting with other fans worldwide through well put together reviews, hilarious skits and all around good fun.
Mewtwo Strikes Back opened with the hard-hitting notion of controversial scientific experimentation, in this case, the genetic modification and cloning of an ancient and thought to be extinct Pokemon, Mew, to create the more advanced and more superior version, aptly named as Mewtwo. The practice of animal testing has always been largely disputed and frowned upon due to the cruelty of the practice and the common disregard for the animals’ freedom and well-being. This movie addresses the issues that come with animal testing and the concept of betrayal by way of Mewtwo fighting back against his creators, who treated him as nothing more than just an experiment, and those who betrayed his trust, realising mankind’s true nature as cruel, unjust predators and captors with God complexes who prey on innocent creatures for their own personal gain, whatever they may be.
As a means to avenge himself and create a world for all Pokemon to be free from humans, Mewtwo utilises his unique abilities to summon the best Pokemon trainers to a party hosted by the ‘world’s greatest Pokemon trainer’. It is here that we are introduced (or re-introduced for all those who keep up with the anime series) to Ash Ketchum who, along with his friends Misty and Brock, are making their way to becoming the best Pokemon trainers in the world. It was nice to see familiar faces on screen, with notable Pokemon such as Pikachu and Togepi running around, having a ball of a time. What I wasn’t prepared for was Ash’s voice. I don’t recall his voice ever irking me as a child but this time around, I found myself getting rather annoyed. This was countered though by the humourous, quirky and troublesome trio that is Team Rocket. How many of you remember their utterly cheesy yet iconic introduction speech? As the movie progressed, I was actually grateful for Team Rocket’s inclusion in the movie. Meowth was an absolute hoot and the several “who’s that Pokemon?” questions made me giggle inwardly, not to mention the appearance of the very very cute, Mew, whose species isn’t quite as extinct as first thought.
The so called ‘party’ turned out to be a ploy for Mewtwo to exact his revenge and prove to the world that Pokemon are far superior than humans. Ash, being the typical ‘gutsy’ anime kid, challenges him, to which a Pokemon battle ensues between the Pokemon belonging to the trainers at the party and the cloned Pokemon that Mewtwo had created. Having not watched the movie since its initial release in 1999, I had forgotten most of the movie’s plot, so watching it a second time around felt fresh, although I have to admit to there being some rather predictable moments. Such a moment being the inevitable tear jerker scene which involves Ash and his very attached Pokemon, Pikachu. It was rather disappointing in a way that all it took was this sad scene and a few touching quotes ‘said’ by Mew to warm Mewtwo’s heart and change his mind. As a child, I found the movie entertaining and extremely gripping but as an adult, with a bit more intelligence and a lot more cynicism, I found it tough to really get attached to the story. I did, however, feel sad for about a millisecond during the touching scene between Ash and Pikachu. I could clearly see the disparity of the feelings I had watching the movie as a ten year old and watching it as an adult. That being said though, true die hard fans and children will certainly enjoy the magical wonders of the Pokemon world depicted in this movie.
All in all, it was certainly interesting watching this movie again and comparing it to when I watched it as a little girl. It took me back to a simpler, more carefree time in my life that I had forgotten and ignited the burning desire I now have to bring out my Pokemon card collection and have a good look through. After all, I did invest a lot, and I mean, a LOT, collecting them all. Will I watch the movie a third time? Probably in another decade or so.
Having said that, I’m quite excited for the next special treat courtesy of Hoyts Australia and Hoyts New Zealand. For all you Pokemon fans down under, another Pokemon movie will be hitting the big screens from 5 – 8 November 2015 and this time it’ll be Pokémon The Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages.
As I’ve never seen this one, I’ll certainly be heading along. Check out the session times at the links below and I might just see you there!