Pokemon 2000

Okay, first of all, most of the people who mock the whole Pokemon culture have not had first hand experience with it. Take away the nonstop mockery, and the whole thing is not much of anything at all. Pokemon is just another fad, slowly going the way of the Tamagotchi and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Pokemon 2000 arrives in theaters on the tail end of the fad. Anyone who reads Variety knew this was coming. Late in 1999, this movie came out in Japan, and popped up in Variety's box office reports for Japan. It was inevitable that it come here next. The premise is basic. There are lots of Pokemon, each with a unique power. Trainers catch each Pokemon, and then use the Pokemon they catch to catch others. Whoever catches them all wins. Simple.

In order to sate the short attention span of youth of today, the first part of Pokemon 2000 is a (long) short, Pikachu's Rescue Adventure. Pikachu is the little yellow rabbit/dog/thing that accompanies Ash, the main character in the Pokemon mythos. Pikachu and his Pokemon friends are off to rescue another one of their friends, and a rival from Team Rocket. The immediate reaction to this short is "this must be what Japanese people dream up when they are trippin' out." It is a strange, surreal adventure that mixes Teletubbies with Pink Floyd. This adventure is Pokemon only, and remember, the only things Pokemon say are their name, over and over.

The actual movie then becomes only about an hour long. Most people instantly criticize it because it is one long commercial. The movie introduces new Pokemon that in turn will receive new cards, which cause kids to whine until their parents succumb. True, but the real travesty is that Pokemon 2000 does nothing new. The story is no more epic than a two-parter on Kids WB. With so much that can happen in a movie, Pokemon 2000 only serves up an extended television episode. Why pay for something of this quality (quality being relative here) when you can watch it free on television? The story revolves around a zealous collector after three ancient Pokemon. They represent fire, ice, and lightning. Supposedly, a fourth, legendary Pokemon will emerge upon capturing the first three. The three are in a delicate balance, and removal of one causes massive problems.

Ash and his friends are on vacation, and unwittingly get caught up in the story. The way the movie accomplishes this is not really realistic, even within the confines of the story. The villain is not much of a villain; he disappears for a large chunk of the middle of the movie. The legend of the three ancient Pokemon also falls apart upon closer scrutiny. This is odd, since most anime relies on intricate serial plotting, much more so than American cartoons, so this is probably a mistake on the part of the translator. The animation is on par with the cartoon series with the only exception being a massive CGI ship that looks like a massive CGI ship, out of place with everything else. There is little else in Pokemon 2000, except for some self-deprecating comments aimed at collectors and excessive moralizing about friendship and teamwork.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Rated G.

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