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Austin Chronicle Pokémon: The Movie 2000

By Marjorie Baumgarten

JULY 24, 2000: 

D: Kunihiko Yuyama and Michael Haigney; with the voices of Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart, Addie Blaustein, Ted Lewis, Ikue Otani. (G, 103 min.)

Gee, it seems like it was only last Thanksgiving that we had our last encounter with Pokémania of the cinematic kind. Now, eight months later we have the sequel, although eight months can be a long time in the life-cycle of a fad ­ or maybe not. Only the patter of little Velcro-fastened shoes at the cineplexes will know for sure. In the meantime, we have only the movie, not the fad and its multiformatted artifacts, in our cross hairs. As I noted when reviewing the ominously titled Pokémon: The First Movie, nothing said in a review will likely influence your decision to see this movie. If you're a fan or a parent of said obsessive, the choice is clear. Likewise, if you're already living your life virtually Pokémon-free, nothing in this review is likely to show you the error of your ways. Like the earlier film, this Pokémon adventure consists of a feature-length film titled The Power of One, which is preceded by a 22-minute cartoon, "Pikachu's Rescue Adventure." The look of the animation differs in the two. The short has lots of background detail, giving it an almost psychedelic look, while the feature is more two-dimensional-looking, with most of the handiwork going into the foreground detail. The storylines are as confusing (or as simple?) to the uninitiated as they were before, but that doesn't stop them from making sense to the kids. This new feature has more plot than the first one ­ something about an obsessive collector whose quest throws the world's natural balance out of whack (and Pokémon are more sensitive to this because they are more in tune with nature than humans are). Pokémon trainer Ash becomes the "Chosen One," on whose shoulders rests the fate of humanity. Actually, if one were so minded, many biblical references in addition to the idea of a "chosen one" can be found in The Power of One. But then, I was also able to see in the movie a whole mini-version of current adult fare: Survivor during the Legend of Shamouti Island Festival, The Perfect Storm during the shipwreck, and even a heroic ending similar to Marlon Brando's final, inspirational trudge across the wharf in On the Waterfront. And the short begins with a fall down a long tunnel that could be a birth canal and a story about saving a nest of eggs. Stop me; I know I've gone too far. "We all live in a Pokémon world," states the movie's funky theme music. And it's a world in which we're all "heroes or zeroes." I'm wondering if there's a neutral country somewhere.

2 Stars

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