Until I was debriefed at length by the father of a 5-year-old girl sitting in front of me at the preview screening of "Pokemon: The First Movie," all I knew about this Japanese-import cartoon phenomenon was that there was a cute, yellow cat-like character with a lighting bolt-shaped tail I kept seeing all over the World Wide Web.
Before I could stop him, the addicted daddy explained to me that there are 151 Pokemons -- a menagerie of mutant pets, each with special powers employed to defeat others in non-lethal, kiddie versions of cock fights. He told me about Poke-trainers and Poke-masters -- the Pokemon's human owners who care for them and train them for said battles, which come across like Dungeons and Dragons showdowns between Hello Kitty characters. He told me all about ambitious, heroic Poke-trainer Ash and his loyal Pokemon named Pikachu, the aforementioned cute yellow thing that communicates only by repeating its name with a series of different pronunciations.
"Pika-CHU! Piiiiiiiikachu! Pikachu-pikachu-pikachu! Pi-KA-chu!"
Continue reading: Pokemon: The First Movie Review
If these shoddily animated, dialogue deficient, trite and mind-melting Pokemon movies are going to become an annual ritual, I may be forced to look for a new line of work.
For the second time in only eight months, this regrettable kiddie cartoon phenomenon has spawned a feature film that is nothing more than a glorified and heavily padded episode of the el cheapo television program -- written, animated, scored and dubbed assembly-line style in Asia and unleashed like a pet store puppy on parents without the will power to tell their kids no.
In "Pokemon the Movie 2000," the endless menagerie of surreal, superpowered and collectably cute critters -- traditionally trained by teenage masters for cartoon adventure and pet-fu cock fights -- face a potential apocalypse brought on by the abduction of the pokemon fire god and the pokemon lightning god. Along with a pokemon ice god -- they're all birds that live on adjacent islands -- these two keep the Earth's elements in harmony and an now a world-wide weather disaster is looming.
Continue reading: Pokemon The Movie 2000 Review
Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.