Ever get that sense of nostalgia where you just have to re-experience something you loved as a child? I’ve declared November a month of new beginnings, as there are a lot of big changes going on for me right now. Sometimes when moving forward it’s fun to look back, plus who doesn’t love pulling off the nostalgia goggles from time to time.
Pokémon is one of those things that I ever quite grew out of. I first experienced Pocket Monsters when it first came out and a Japanese exchange student I knew was playing it. I loved the idea, but had no comprehension of how the game worked. When it came out in Canada, I rushed to get copy…even though I hadn’t quite saved up enough for a Gameboy. When I finally did get a Gameboy I was hooked and have been playing Pokémon ever since.
The first episode of the Pokémon animated series I ever watched was Tentacool & Tentacruel, part two of a two part episode where the first part never aired because of fake boobs. I remember thinking that the show was incredibly stupid, but here’s the thing, it knew it was stupid and that kind of made it charming. Despite the fact that I knew the show wasn’t great, I loved it and would watch it every day after school. It was silly and nonsensical, it had a great theme song and was stupid but cute and for the most part the characters were really likable. Looking back, the show still kind of holds up. It’s still stupid, but fun, which is something I cannot say about the later seasons.
When I first heard about the first Pokémon movie I was stoked, but was ultimately disappointed when I saw it. The best part were the promo cards that came with the tickets, which I still have to this day. Despite my dislike of the first movie, I still looked forward to the second one. I’ll admit, I really liked it and saw it a couple of times in theaters and got it as soon as it came out on VHS. From what I remember, it was the strongest of the Pokémon movies, with the third one coming in as a kind of close second…the fourth and possibly beyond are pretty un-watchable.
Worst Time Travel Movie Ever!
So let’s look at Pokémon 2000 and see if it holds up past the nostalgia goggles.
Disturb not the harmony of fire, ice or lightning, lest these titans wreak destruction upon the world in which they clash. Though the water’s great guardian shall arise to quell the fighting, alone its song will fail, and thus the earth shall turn to ash. O Chosen One, into thine hands bring together all three. Their treasures combined tame the Beast of the Sea.
So the basic plot of the movie is that Lawrence, collector extraordinaire, needs to collect the legendary Pokémon Lugia for his collection. In order to do this he needs to capture the three legendary birds, Moltres, Zapados and Articuno. In doing so, he disrupts the environmental harmony, unleashing some insane weather all over the world. Meanwhile, Ash Ketchum and friends are stranded on Shamouti Island where Ash is invited to take place in a legend ceremony. He is told that he needs to collect three orbs from Fire, Ice and Lightning Islands and bring them to a central shrine. Ash, being Ash, decides to rush things and heads to Fire Island. Because of Lawrence’s tomfoolery, the prophecy comes to fruition and it’s up to Ash to save the day.
As I mentioned before, back in the day I thought that this was the strongest Pokémon movie. Now saying that Power of One is the best of the Pokémon movies is like saying Puppet Master 3: Toulon’s Revenge is the best of the Puppet Master movies, it doesn’t mean a lot. (Although, now that I think about it there are a lot of similarities between the Puppet Master Series and Pokémon. Both are about little creatures who can do good or evil in their masters hands, with emphasis on collecting them all. Perhaps Puppet Master is a stupid, proto Pokémon. If you combined the two you’d get Puppetmon from Digimon, but I digress). Upon re-watching Power of One, I can safely say that yeah, out of all the Pokémon movies I’ve seen Power of One is the best.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is by no stretch a great movie or even a good one for that matter. It’s an hour and a half commercial for something far more awesome. It is, however, a far better commercial than Battle Ship or Transformers two and on. The plot is predictable,but fun. The animation is poor and suffers from what a lot of animated features from the late 90’s and early 2000’s suffered from and that’s unnecessary use of CG graphics. Nowadays traditional and CG can be blended quite seamlessly, but back then it was jarring, ugly and would really take you out of the film. Disney and Don Bluth couldn’t do this right, Pokémon didn’t have a chance. Now I have read that in the first movie a lot of the CG stuff was added, but I haven’t been able to confirm this for the Power of One.
Despite all of that, it still kind of holds up. I could watch the whole film without having to pause it and it didn’t grate on me that much. It still has that charm that the original series had, where it knew it was bad, but was having fun with it. So here are the things that I think made Power of One a better movie than it should have been.
1. The Story.
Despite the story being predictable, it has a more epic feel than the rest of the movies (at least that I’ve seen). The use of the prophecy is an effective, if not, cliche way to tie things together. It feels like there’s a lot at stake and that it might really be Ash and Pikachu’s biggest adventure.
2. Misty Gets To Do Something.
At this point in the series Misty had essentially been delegated to protector, caretaker and overseer of all things Togepi. There are very few moments in the series after Togepi hatches that Misty would get to do something not related to Togepi. In the film she actually plays a big part, even if a lot of the film involves her denying her crush on Ash. She’s the one that saves Ash and by extension the world. Hell, even Tracy, (who in my opinion is the series most useless character, come on, even Todd got his own video game) got a little something to do.
3. The music is pretty good
The soundtrack from the first movie was largely pop songs…and not great pop songs at that(except the one by Weird Al, cause Weird Al is awesome). The Power of One has a largely instrumental soundtrack and a couple of fun pop songs, including one from the B52’s. Lugia’s theme is strangely haunting and works as an instrumental piece outside of the film.
4. Team Rocket
Jesse, James and Meowth are great, because in the movies they are aware that they’re in the movies. They are constantly breaking the fourth wall and despite their wicked ways, help out as best they can. They don’t have a lot to do, but they provide the comic relief, which balances out the tone of the movie.
So Pokémon 2000: the Power of One isn’t great, but it’s fun. So if you liked the show growing up and you have a high tolerance for late 90’s cheese, it’s worth a re-watch.