Note: For the Pokémon series, Anime Hajime refers to both human characters and Pokémon by their English names.
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution. Reader discretion is advised.***
As a reminder: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. Films and other posts under the Out and About: Eigakan label are watched in Japanese with NO English subtitles. Therefore, misinterpretations and misunderstandings are possible. With that said:
I just got out of Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution…
Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution
And the first thing you need to ask yourself should you choose to watch this movie is:
Am I looking for quality, or am I looking for nostalgia?
Premiering nearly twenty-one years to the day of the original’s release, Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is the CGI remake of 1998’s Pokémon: The First Movie. To show my age a little, I remember going to the theaters to watch Pokemon’s film debut. As such, when I heard about Evolution, there was no way in the world I was going to miss it.
Now, for me, the main characters of the first few seasons of the Pokémon anime were and will always be Ash and Pikachu, as well as Misty and Brock. Plus, our main group was closely followed by the dynamic trio of the infamous Team Rocket, Jessie, James, and Meowth. I’ll acknowledge everyone’s original Japanese names – Satoshi (Ash), Kasumi (Misty), Takeshi (Brock), Musashi (Jessie), Kojirou (James), and Nyarth (Meowth), with Pikachu, just being Pikachu – but for this post, and for any future Pokémon related content on this site, I will be using the English names I have grown up with.
With that said, here is a brief synopsis for Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution:
A group of Pokémon researchers was on the trail for the world’s rarest Pokémon, Mew. On one outing, the team found a hair of the elusive creature, and from it, they were able to create the ultimate Pokémon – Mewtwo.
Stuck in a perpetual existential crisis, Mewtwo refused to be a tool used by humans. He promptly escaped and set out to prove that the strongest Pokémon trainer in the world can only be a Pokémon. Mewtwo sent out countless invitations to trainers to challenge his prowess. One of those invitations ended up in the hands of Ash Ketchum and his friends Misty and Brock.
Ash and his group made their way to Mewtwo’s home base, and once there, the powerful Pokémon’s true intentions revealed themselves. Like himself, Mewtwo believed that real strength isn’t trained, it is created.
I’ll cut the synopsis off there, and for the record, this movie was extremely easy to follow. However, don’t go thinking my Japanese has improved. Although the language barrier wasn’t the hardest obstacle I’ve faced with these Eigakan posts, do remember, I saw this movie multiple times as a kid.
To go straight to the point, this film was a pure gimmick. It was merely an update to a twenty-plus-year-old story; now with a fresh coat of CGI paint.
It has been a while since I last watch The First Movie, so I can’t adequately address how on-the-nose its remake was. Nevertheless, there was never a moment in this film where I thought I was seeing something completely new; other than the animation itself.
Hence my question from earlier: quality or nostalgia?
Let me say, I loved the fact that the only Pokémon seen in this movie were from Generation 1. Back in the day, I knew all 151 Pokémon by heart (compared to the 800+ which exist now, with more on the way once Sword and Shield release later in 2019). This film was like reuniting with a ton of old friends.
And that was the best part of Evolution – the Pokémon. It was they, as well as the –background settings, who really benefited from the CGI facelift. Additionally, there were several very fun Pokémon battles throughout the film; my two favorites being an epic Charizard versus Charizard aerial fight and the climactic showdown between Mew and Mewtwo.
Unfortunately, Pokémon are not the only characters in a Pokémon movie. There are a bunch of humans as well, and Evolution was no different. Unless you see them in action for yourself, the best way I can describe Ash, Misty, Brock, and everyone else’s appearance is with the word “off.”
Sometimes everyone looked fine. Other times, it was like everyone was taken straight from a cheap GameCube era Pokémon knockoff game.
Now, if you’re interested in things like this film’s story, let me ask you a simple question – Why?
This is a movie for Pokémon fans; specifically, veteran fans.
If you want to get a sense of what this franchise is about, pick up one of the games before choosing to sit down with this film; original or remake. The First Movie, and by extension Evolution, knew its audience. This was never meant to be something unbelievable.
But as a trip down memory lane, it was perfect.
But you know what? I could have missed something. We will just have to wait and see.
Thank you all so much for reading. Please comment down below if you have anything to say —positively or negatively — about this post. Also, if you have seen the film, I would love to hear your thoughts.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m Odyssey, and I’ll see you next time.