Your favourite trainer from Pallet Town is back in the newest instalment to the world-wide franchise ‘Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!’. The flick retells the origins of Ash Ketchum and Pikachu whilst touching upon some of the biggest and most influential moments of the first ever series… but not how you’d remember them.
Being a passionate fan and loyal fan of the Pokemon franchise since childhood, both TV and game, the cinema release of ‘Pokemon the Movie: I choose you’ wasn’t something I was going to miss out on. The theatre was inevitably packed out with 90’s kids and adults alike who definitely were not embarrassed to admit their love for the anime. If you’re like me, one thing you must remember when watching this, is that we are no longer the target audience. At times, the events and story moments of the movie are slightly laughable, and a bit ridiculous. However, the younger children in the theatre were absolutely mesmerised by the viewing as much as I would have been at that age watching the original ones.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary, it follows Ash’s search for the legendary Pokemon Ho-Oh, that he is lucky enough to catch a glimpse of during his very first day as a Pokemon trainer. Guided by the rainbow wing, a mystical feather bestowed upon him by Ho-Oh, he faces a gruelling journey through forest and mountain to find the legendary bird. Rough terrain aren’t the only troublesome things awaiting Ash though as he comes across an array of new cold-hearted rivals. Despite being set in a newly designed and aesthetically beautiful Kanto, Pokemon of all generations are featured, including cameos from the new generations in Sun and Moon.
The movies new spin on familiar events from the original series is surprisingly refreshing. Charmander gets an all new (and even more upsetting) origin story of how he joins Ash’s team, accompanying a strong and emotional story arc. You can also expect a number of twists on the recruitment of some of Ash’s other influential team-mates, and their progressions and growth, namely how and when they evolved throughout his journeys. Plus, the return of arguably one of the most favourite characters throughout the entire Pokemon franchise, Ash’s Charizard (insert multiple heart-eyed emojis here).
Personally, I felt that this instalment had the strongest and most dynamic storyline and development out of all the movies, which is exciting and alluring enough to keep any Poke fan’s eyes on the screen. Ash is accompanied by two completely new characters (there’s no Brock or Misty) who are actually likeable and interesting, aiding the stories progression rather well. They do however feel even more of back-seat characters than usual as their stories or origins are blatantly ignored despite subtle references, and they aren’t really developed upon, as they follow Ash around and contribute only where needed. Team Rocket also make a number of appearances in probably their most pointless and frustrating roles since ever.
All in all, if you’re a fan, I would absolutely recommend channeling your inner-child and going to see this. I would emphasise that you shouldn’t expect an award winning masterpiece of scripting and story-telling but this addition just had something extra that other movies didn’t. Plus theres a moment towards the end of the movie with Pikachu that will have you picking up your jaw and rubbing your eyes, seriously.
Anyway, I’m heading off to go look for my old GameBoy.