Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I promised you a movie review. Let's kick it old school.

Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker

Directed by Kuniko Yuyama; English adaptation directed by Eric Stuart

Starring the voices of Amy Birnbaum, Madaline Blaustein, Rachael Lillis, Ikue Ootani, Eric Stuart, Veronica Taylor

Turn back the clock about a year and two weeks. On one very busy Saturday night, I get a fateful call from Omiya. Head office decided to keep me around and offered me a position as an emergency teacher. Given my mindset towards the job at the time, I did a little soul searching and found only one reason actually compelling me to stay in Japan: I'd get to see Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker. Of course, I didn't know that was the title at the time. I just kept calling it Pokémon 6. In the end, I figured that it wasn't compelling a reason enough. I politely told head office "No thank you" and continued planning my farewell excursion to Mt. Fuji, Nagano, and every small onsen town in between. I knew that, someday, I'd get to see Pokémon 6. And, lo and behold, here in North America, it came out straight to DVD yesterday, and I was first at Superstore to pick it up. Was it worth the wait?

The Millenium Comet is visible for just one week every 1000 years. Naturally, with an event of such magnitude, our heroes Ash, Brock, May and Max are taking a break from their pokémon journey to enjoy the Millenium Comet Festival. At the festival, they meet Butler the magician and his assistant Diane. But, during Butler's act, a crystal in Butler's act begins calling to Max. At the end of the show, Butler tells our heroes that this crystal contains the dormant form of Jirachi. Jirachi is a legendary pokémon with the power to grant wishes. Jirachi awakens with the Millenium Comet and will only be awake for the week the comet is visible. Since Jirachi has already taken a shine to Max, Butler makes Max the guardian of Jirachi. That night, the comet is visible, and Jirachi awakens! Max and Jirachi become fast friends. But, when Jirachi awakens, Butler shows his true evil nature. Butler, you see, is one of the top agents of the evil Team Magma. Butler seeks to use Jirachi's power to unleash the evil pokémon Groudon. Soon, our heroes and Diane are on a perilous quest to return Jirachi to his home before Butler's evil schemes come to fruition. Will Jirachi get home before he goes dormant again? Will Butler unleash Groudon...or something else? And will Team Rocket ever catch Pikachu?

This is a great pokémon movie! Fans of the show, as always, won't be disappointed. The animation, as always, is just of a bit higher quality than the cartoon. (We're talking a Transformers the Movie/Transformers: The Show kinda difference.) Butler is probably the most complex villain created for the film series so far. Unlike the Iron Masked Marauder of #4 or Annie and Oakly of #5, we see that he actually has a reason for what he's doing! This film is probably the most reliant on computer animation out of the whole series, too, and it works. All in all, it's a great film, with a great message about friendship. Pokémon fans won't be disappointed. But, ya know, it wasn't worth staying with the company for.

Oh, and I have to take a moment to geek out over the whole new, "What pokémon are" intro to the film. It's cool in that it features every legendary pokémon that was the subject of every prior film. (Shot of Mewtwo) "Some choose to remain hidden..." (Shot of Lugia) "Some have become the subject of legend..." (shot of Entai) "And some are borne of our dreams." So, again, a nice little nod to continuity.

A solid 3 Nibs.

And, before I forget, let's get to some favourite quotes from the film!

Meowth>> They're stuck in a dark place with impending doom and no way out. That sounds kind of like my life.

Jessie>> Do I look blind to you?
James>> Well, that would explain your hair.

And, as always, nothing makes me geek out like a veiled reference to a long-ago incident or a character no longer with us. This time around, we get Ash's subtle nod to Misty, as he explains to Max what it's like to lose a friend:

Ash>> A good friend left me, too, and I miss her everyday. But I know we'll always be friends forever.

Yeah, I know. It's little. But at least it gives the impression that our characters aren't amnesic!

Since it came out straight to DVD, let's take a minute to tell you about the bonus stuff. You get the short film Pokémon Gotta Dance, which I completely geeked out about last night so I won't go into it again. You get a message from the director, Kuniko Yuyama. That's a little lame. Mr. Yuyama shot this himself, on video, as he scouted locations for #7 in Vancouver. He just says he hopes you like the film and he's working hard to make the next one even better. There's the music video for the film's theme song, Make a Wish. Cool thing about that is it's J-Pop; they didn't even bother getting an American artist to translate it. Just think, a year ago, I would have seen it on Japanese TV. There's a trivia game about the film (easy), bios of the new pokémon introduced in the film and short film, and some stills of the more impressive artwork in the film. Not a bad package, all in all.

So, yeah. Right now, I'm happy.

Anywho, let's get to some more DVD news. We've known about this for a while now, but the official announcement was made today. On July 13, one of my most anticiaped DVDs comes out. Justice Leage: Starcrossed - The Movie is the epic final episode of Justice League. On the DVD, you'll get: a featurette on Hawkman and how he was changed for the show, a new animated short film in which the Flash gives you a tour of the Watchtower (Justice League HQ), and interviews with the show's creators and voice cast.

Next Issue...Wah? Pokémon 7?

No comments: