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Pokémarathon Parade

Pokémon: The Movie 2000 - The Power of One

by Andrew Brown - May 16, 2011, 9:39 pm EDT

Andrew is secretly a member of Team Rocket.

The second Pokémon movie hit western cinemas in 2000, thus the somewhat absurd title. In the original Japanese version it was simply called Revelation Lugia, but like the first film, the English adaption was heavily altered to focus the story more on the heroic deeds of Ash.

During the events of this movie, Ash and his friends were traveling in the anime-only tropical region of the Orange Archipelago, firstly to retrieve the mysterious GS Ball (A plot device to advertise the upcoming Gold and Silver games, which built up mass hype concerning the purpose and contents of the ball, but was ultimately written out of the show), and secondly to compete against a sort of mini gym league known as the Orange Crew. Brock had left the team to serve as an assistant to the buxom Professor Ivy in this region, and was replaced by Tracey as the resident Pokémon expert and girl fanatic. These episodes were mainly to showcase the remainder of the Kanto Pokémon that hadn't received exposure in the main part of the series, and the movie followed suit.

We see an elaborate flying fortress belonging to an apparently wealthy and obviously eccentric collector of fine art, who uses his juggernaut to locate, attack and capture the legendary Moltres (#146). Talking to his operating system, he reveals that he plans to also snare Articuno (#144) and Zapdos (#145), which according to an ancient prophecy will awaken the G/S Pokémon Lugia, #249, from its slumber. Why he wants to collect these Pokémon, when none of his decor around the fortress suggests an interest in Pokémon or their collection in any way, is anyone's guess.

Ash, Misty, and Tracey boarded a small boat to the next Orange League gym, giving Lapras, their usual means of oversea transportation, a well-deserved rest. Their relaxation is short lived however, and a sudden storm blows them off course to the island of Shamouti. Here they are confronted by an enthusiastic crowd of people preparing for an annual festival honoring the Legend of the Chosen One, which coincidentally ties in with the prophecy of Lugia. Ash, conveniently being the only Pokémon Trainer around at the time, is quickly named the Chosen One and invited to a ceremonial banquet. Here he learns the tale of legend:

Ash faces off against the three legendary birds

“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.”

Essentially, he's instructed to visit three nearby islands to gather up some crystal spheres representing Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, then return with them to Shamouti to perform a ritual that in ancient times was intended to quell the anger of the aforementioned bird Pokémon during a great upheaval. The legend quickly becomes all too real, however, as the capture of Moltres upset the balance of nature, and weather patterns across the globe are thrown into chaos. Hurricanes, blizzards, and typhoons rock the planet as wild Pokémon collectively freak out and head south. As the sky turns dark, Ash reaches Fire Island and collects the Moltres sphere, only to be attacked by a confused Zapdos. It seems that with the element of fire removed from nature, Zapdos claims the land that Moltres once guarded. Its reign is short-lived, as the insane collector appears to scoop up Zapdos for his gallery, along with Ash, his friends, and Team Rocket, who have all amassed on the island.

The head of the flying fortress introduces himself only as “I am simply... a collector.” He then explains that he's trying to catch these legendary flying Pokémon, and then leaves the small group unattended in his castle museum while he begins tracking down Articuno. Confusing and abrupt, the man is clearly missing some marbles.

Pokemon witness what may be the beginning of the end

Anyway, the trainers decide that catching Pokémon for the sake of museum displays is too cruel to bear and much worse than enslaving them for the purpose of pitting them against each other in fighting contests. They trash his museum, setting Moltres and Zapdos free of their confinement. Rather than thanking the trainers for their help and going on their merry way, the two birds instead flip out and start attacking each other, blowing up several engines that keep the juggernaut afloat. It crash-lands, but fortunately onto Thunder Island where Ash can collect the second of the three spheres he needs for the ritual. By this stage, the weather has grown so intense that the ocean is literally frozen, so Ash and his friends regroup and head for the shrine on Shamouti to secure the safety of the two spheres and plan their next move. On the island, they're greeted by the shrine's guardian - a talking Slowking (#199) who reiterates the ancient legend and instructs Ash to collect the final orb. Completely unfazed by the talking hippo, Ash heads to Ice Island for the final orb, with not even an offer of help from Misty or Tracey. Some friends they are.

After failing miserably at crossing a war-ravaged, frozen ocean on foot, Ash is greeted by the surprising assistance of Team Rocket, who use a home-made hovercraft to navigate the crazed attack onslaught of the legendary bird Pokémon above. Why do they help? There's not much left to steal if the fighting birds end up destroying the world. Logical enough.

Meanwhile, the fighting of the three forces of nature has awakened Lugia just like the prophecy predicted, and though he collects Ash and transports him partway back to Shamouti, he's struck down by a last-ditch effort by our old collector friend. I guess being unable to properly catch him enraged him enough to simply kill Lugia instead. Lugia and Ash plummet into the ocean, and Ash is fished out with just enough strength remaining to hike to the shrine and place the final sphere in its place.

Ash and Pikachu: Our Heroes

Melody, the shrine maiden of the festival, plays her song, both magically calming Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno, and reviving Lugia. The festival comes to a close, and Ash is surprised to see that Professor Oak, Professor Ivy, and his own mother have traveled to the island to study the weather disruption and check up on him. After some encouraging words from his family and friends, Ash continues his journey to the next Orange Crew Gym Leader.

This was my favorite movie when I first saw it due to the large role Team Rocket (my personal favorite characters) played in the story and their moment of triumph as heroes in a time of despair – but I find it hard to recommend nowadays. The plot is coherent enough, but the cast is completely dense throughout the whole thing, abandoning all logic at the drop of a hat. The whole purpose Ash went to the Orange Islands for in the first place was to retrieve the GS Ball for Professor Oak, as it couldn't be transferred via the PC system for mysterious reasons. So why, when he met the man face-to-face, didn't he just hand over the ball then and there? It would have saved them a lot of trouble later on...

On that note, Oak is Tracey's hero, he only followed Ash and Misty so he'd get a chance to meet him some day – and when it happens in this movie, for the first time, he doesn't bat an eye. What, was he too distracted staring at Lugia to notice the guy talking to him and his friends?

Why did the collector simply say hello and then leave everyone alone in his fortress, despite them clearly protesting his capture of Moltres and Zapdos, and making it obvious they would try to interfere? What was his name, anyway? He was mentioned in some movie-based merchandise as Lawrence III, while his Japanese name was Jirarudan, or “Gelardan.” On the Japanese soundtrack for the movie, he even had his own image song, creepily singing about his demonic urges to collect things.

Like the first movie, a lot of the script was heavily altered as well, to really drill in the fact that Ash was a chosen hero of legend. They even used the “the world shall turn to ash” line of the prophecy as a pun directly referencing his name. The original Japanese version of the legend simply called for “an exceptionally strong Pokémon trainer.”  Some scenes of the trainers busting Moltres and Zapdos out of their cages were removed too – the original showed a chemical reaction between a thunderbolt, flamethrower, and water gun attack, which caused a destructive blast. In the English version, it was made to look like Ash's Pokémon were so strong that the cages simply buckled under the pressure and exploded of their own accord.

There are some visual treats in the animation and some funny moments, but for the most part the cast seems to be in an odd daze throughout the movie, stumbling between islands and being generally clueless.

Pikachu's Rescue Adventure

In the second short feature, the Pokémon trainers have stopped to rest at a public camping ground, and decide to take a nap under a tree. They leave the Pokémon to their own devices, who are quickly thrown into panic as Togepi falls down a deep, dark hole in the woods. The stalwart group leap into the depths of the unknown in pursuit of their eggy companion.

Pikachu and gang

This feature introduces even more upcoming G/S Pokémon in the form of #165 – Ledyba, #239 – Elekid, a trio of singing and dancing Bellossom (#182) and a fleeting glimpse of a Hoothoot, #163.

After being spit out of the tunnel into a large valley surrounding a gigantic tree, the team discover that it is home to a large community of Pokémon living amongst the branches and hollowed-out trunk. Pikachu befriends an Elekid, who agrees to help them locate the missing baby. It leads them to a collection of straw nests positioned on one of the highest branches of the tree, where a familiar voice greets them. It seems Togepi has been mistaken for the 5th part of an Exeggcute, which is reluctant to give him up. In order to retrieve Togepi, they set out on a search for the missing egg and explore the entire valley, meeting Pokémon and making friends along the way. Their quest is cut short by the arrival of a major thunderstorm, and the Pokémon must pool their strength to fend off lightning strikes and put out forest fires. In the confusion, the nest-eggs are almost blown off their branch and a frantic Tug of War begins. After an epic struggle the raging winds die down and the Pokémon are safe again, and a Chansey meanders up to the group, revealing that it had been holding the missing egg all along. The reunited Exeggcute happily dances its way onto a Leaf Stone that blew in with the storm, and evolves into Exeggcutor. Happiness prevails, and Pikachu's Pokémon group returns to their trainers as the sun sets on another adventurous day.



CericMay 17, 2011

I remember when I saw the first one in the theatres it was a big deal for me.  I was in High School at the time so I had my Dad take me to the a showing away from where we would normally go and insisted on getting my Mew card.  I liked how the first one was in the shows continuety but, ended in such a way as to not mess with it.  That is the only one I've seen actually.

I saw the first film in theatres with a female friend. She cried when Ash died.

I remember there was a kid in front of me who kept saying the pokémon's names as they appeared on screen—"hey, kid! shut up, they say their own names!"

Ryan CannonMay 17, 2011

I always like the second generation the best for some reason...

SilverQuilavaMay 17, 2011

hehe! The Nostalgia Critic reviewed Pokemon The First Movie X)

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMay 17, 2011

Quote from: Ceric

I remember when I saw the first one in the theatres it was a big deal for me.  I was in High School at the time so I had my Dad take me to the a showing away from where we would normally go and insisted on getting my Mew card.  I liked how the first one was in the shows continuety but, ended in such a way as to not mess with it.  That is the only one I've seen actually.

That's basically what killed the movie for me: the ending. It would have been slightly fine in itself if they didn't get very preachy about it. Having Mewtwo erase everyone's memories by the end kind of defeats the purpose of hammering the message home. Plus, it just feels cheap.

For what it's worth, it can be enjoyed, but the constant preaching and the ending kill it.

As for my top three movies in the series:
Pokemon 4ever (which I wrote about): I really liked the story and the twist at the end. It got very melodramatic more than once, but I still like it.

Pokemon 3: Entei is my favorite of the three legendary dogs, and I thought the story was both sweet and cool, especially with the Unown (which are useless in battle but amazing in concept).

Lucario and the Mystery of Mew: Now, it's been a while since I've seen this movie but I didn't find Lucario to be THAT angsty. Mewtwo was far worse, I think, since Lucario has a good reason for feeling this way.

RABicleMay 18, 2011

12,000 words...

I don't even know what to say.

I almost cried during Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.


CericMay 18, 2011

Vote RABicle

roykoopa64May 31, 2011

My friend and I watched this in the theater when it came out, it was pretty exciting. Good overview of the movie!

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