For the 90s kids, you know how Pokemania was for us. Pokémon cards, Pokémon games, the anime, and of course, the movie. A few years ago, Pikachu, I Choose You was released and while I had my issues, particularly with a few awkward creative choices, I thought it was a really well done celebration of early Pokémon for those of us who experienced it. When I heard they were remaking the original movie in a totally different 3D style vs. the usual 2D, I was confused and all I could ask was “why?” And here I am, still wondering, “why?”
I can’t positively talk about the direction of this movie, or at least it’s very hard for me. I don’t know whether this is a love letter to the fans like Pikachu, I Choose You or if it’s targeted towards newer fans who might’ve never seen the first movie. It doesn’t really satisfy either demographic in my eyes.
The original movie, while cheesy as most all movies are to kids back then, I don’t know if it holds up for a newer audience. The film has its moments, even after years of not seeing it I remember them vividly, but I don’t think the movie’s visual art style allows for the emotional moments as well as the original art style had. The bigger moments of the movie fall stiff. I still enjoyed the story, but I don’t think it really holds up in the bigger picture of things.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Jess is well meaning, caring but can’t say no, and can’t let go. We see this in her work but especially in her relationship with Josh and Aaron. She’s almost too good, making everyone around her uncomfortable without realizing, and it’s clear that her moral judgement sometimes comes without a healthy dose of reality. I would have liked to see a lot more development with the two male leads - we get very little insight into their emotions and thoughts about the life changing decision that they will have to make, and instead they are background characters who Jess decides are morally bankrupt. Again, it’s unclear if this is intentional, as by making them somewhat undeveloped, it allows the viewer to easily picture themselves in their position, and pose the question to themselves.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
This might be the one slight saving grace of this film. The fun music, sound effects, and everything in that category hit me with nostalgia. Sure, even the first song is almost too 90s, but I didn’t mind. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the music that is so classic to the Pokémon franchise. Nothing strays from the original in here, but that’s okay and highly preferred.
Oh boy. This is the big one. Before I go full negative, I will say this was a like/hate relationship with the new art. At times it feels so incredibly bland that I couldn’t understand why this was being done, but certain parts stand out. Lighting is awesome, the water looks great, and as you’d expect, though the Pokémon have less personality, they look great. The people on the other hand… everything is so immobile. A character can be speaking enthusiastically but not show it whatsoever. The movie didn’t give me more than 5 or 10 minutes without showing me a moment that just made me question things. I tried to go in with an open mind, but it didn’t really cleanse my palate.
You know the Pokemon Mimikyu? The one who uses a bad Pikachu costume to hide its true form? Well the Pokedex entry for it sums things up pretty well.
MIMIKYU: It stands in front of a mirror, trying to fix its broken neck as if its life depended on it. It has a hard time getting it right, so it’s crying inside.