Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 01 (dub) – Mewtwo Strikes Back

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Rating: 3/10

Plot: DNA has been taken from the legendary Mew to make a clone called Mewtwo, supposedly the most powerful Pokemon in existence. Giovanni, leader of Team Rocket, orchestrated the creation of Mewtwo and wished to control him in order to take over the world. After being betrayed by Giovanni, Mewtwo decided he had more pressing matters to attend to besides the whims of a human. He wanted a purpose. He wanted to know why he existed. And more importantly he wanted to destroy the world too because humans suck, so do Pokemon and only clones shall rule!

Ash, Misty and Brock get caught up in Mewtwo’s scheme along with several other trainers who assumed Mewtwo was challenging them as the greatest Pokemon master. Can the power of cheesy speeches save the world from Mewtwo?

Breakdown: Ah….This is one of those things that is really a nostalgia bomb for me. This was the first movie I ever saw in theaters with a friend instead of my parents and this was right at the peak of Pokemon for me. The release for the movie was insane whereas now the movies can’t even seem to get theatrical releases anymore, at least around where I live. And I loved it so much that I’d watch it over and over.

…..Now that I’m an adult, who still likes to watch and play Pokemon but sees it with a more critical eye, I……don’t like this movie nearly as much as I used to. It’s very preachy and hypocritical. 4Kids, despite advertising this movie like it was a cure for cancer, made several mistakes in the script and changed it severely from its original version, which I will review after this. And it’s fairly cliché. At the very least it gave us a tiny bit of insight into Giovanni, but look where that lead us. Nowhere to the best of my knowledge. He does nothing, and he’s much more interesting and compelling in the manga than he ever was in the anime.

That’s not to say there’s nothing to enjoy here, but I have a lot more problems with it than I had as a kid and my love of the movie has definitely waned.

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Our movie starts out underwater where our narrator is getting all existential on us by wondering about the meaning of life and the mysteries surrounding our existence. We’re also following a Mew flying through the sky as the narration goes on. Throughout the narration, we hear Mewtwo whispering stuff like “Who am I? “What am I?” before the narrator segues into our story and a new scene.

Enter Mewtwo….’s eye, as we see him staring through a tube filled with citrus Crystal Light at several scientists. He thinks to himself that what he is seeing right now is not the same place he was in before and that he believes he might’ve been dreaming. Is Mewtwo insinuating that he remembers being a Mew or that he has the same memories as the Mew that he was cloned from?……I’m no scientist but I don’t think that’s possible.

Mewtwo breaks out of his tube and one of the scientists starts explaining the backstory of Mewtwo. He’s the clone of the legendary Mew, but he has also been genetically restructured to be even more powerful than Mew and to be the strongest Pokemon in existence. Mewtwo doesn’t much care for this and I can’t say I blame him. If I was created with giant balls on my fingers I’d be pretty pissed too.

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In his rage, he starts breaking everything in the lab with his psychic powers. I will never understand situations like this.

Scientist: “We’re going to create the most powerful being ever! Muahahaha!”

Scientist 2: “YES! How shall we contain it?”

Scientist: “A glass tube!”

Scientist 2: “….Uh….anything stronger?”

Scientist: “Weak metal robot arms!”

Scientist 2: “….Anything….else?”

Scientist: “Nope!”

Scientist 2: “Won’t it break out then?”

Scientist: “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over all the world I’ll be dominating!”

I’m actually somewhat surprised 4Kids didn’t try to skirt the very obvious fact that those scientists all died in there. They never say it, but they couldn’t have survived that and you never see them again. They could’ve pulled a DBZ and said they escaped in the nick of time with parachutes…..on the ground….*cough*

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Mewtwo gloats about how powerful he is. Lines like this really contradict the fact that the story’s supposed to make us empathize with Mewtwo to an extent. “I’m just a clone? A shadow of Mew?…….I AM THE MOST POWERFUL POKEMON IN THE WORLD!!!!………but why am I here? :(“

Giovanni shows up with an offer for Mewtwo. He tells him that his powers are out of control and he has a way to focus his powers to help him take over the world. I’d like to point out that this plot line comes out of nowhere. I mean, we know why Giovanni wants to take over the world…………..he’s…..evil? But why does Mewtwo want to do that all of a sudden? Because some scientists treated him like a science experiment and he wants to find his purpose? Seems a bit illogical is all.

Giovanni outfits him with some weird armor that is supposed to help Mewtwo focus his powers, and he puts it to the test in the Viridian Gym. Mewtwo slams an opponent’s Onix into a wall and Mewtwo says “Sooo, this is my power!”…..Yes, Mewtwo, that’s your grand focused power….putting an Onix through a wall. You’ve finally found your purpose.

You blew up an island earlier without breaking a sweat, why are you impressed with yourself here?

I guess Onix-Throwing isn’t a big sport as he moves on to Tauros wrangling next. We see a montage of other battles in the gym after that with Mewtwo battling an Alakazam and a Magneton. However, most fans will note that part of that montage is Mewtwo’s battle with Gary and his Arcanine and Nidoking that was seen in the regular series. I think that’s a rare occasion where the series poked at one of the movies.

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Despite having fun making other Pokemon float in the air, Mewtwo still feels unfulfilled in life as he desperately wants to know his purpose.

Giovanni, ever so smart, responds to Mewtwo’s queries about his purpose by saying Mewtwo’s purpose is to serve him, and that all Pokemon are meant to serve humans – not be their equals. In response to this betrayal and his arrogant words of stupid, Mewtwo breaks free of his bonds. Again, nothing in place to prevent this? Nothing at all? Just hope the all-powerful Pokemon with a temper will obey you without question even after you basically call him a slave?

Mewtwo blows up the place and leaves, showing us yet another shot that was included in the series.

Mewtwo flies back to the island where he was created because….Good memories there, right? He’s still moping about his purpose and then states that he’ll mow down humans and Pokemon if they decide to oppose him. Then he basically states straight out that he’s going to take over the world.

4Kids breaks out the CGI and we get our title screen…Ten minutes into the movie. Dang.

We cut to a meadow where we see everyone’s favorite main Pokemon protagonist, Ash,

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And Misty and Brock who are preparing for lunch….They also have a huge table and a parasol for some reason. How are they carrying that with them? I would say this is a set picnic spot, but it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Ash is lazing about because he’s hungry when another trainer with a skull and crossbones bandana walks up to them and asks if they know a trainer named Ash from Pallet Town since he wants a battle…..Who is this guy? How does he know who Ash is? How did he know he’d be in this meadow? Is he just wandering around random places wondering where Ash is? I wouldn’t be so curious if not for the fact that he pops out of nowhere and leaves just as suddenly with no explanation as to anything about him; not even his name.

Ash points out that he’s….er Ash, and they have a battle as the remixed theme plays. I like the remixed theme, but it’s not as good as the original in my opinion. Ash calls out Bulbasaur first while the opponent calls out a Donphan, but Bulbasaur blasts him away with a Solar Beam that took way too short of a time to charge by the way. Ash then praises Bulbasaur as we see that he’s being monitored by cameras.

Now, stopping here for a moment, this next part confused me as a kid and I never figured out what the cause of this was until I got older. Actually I still don’t understand what the cause of it is, but I understand what is actually occurring in this scene a little better. When Ash’s opponent calls out his next Pokemon, Machamp, the scene of Machamp emerging and flexing his muscles is shown twice….And not only that, but we see Ash call out Squirtle without throwing his Pokeball. What happened?

Well, according to Bulbagarden’s comparison, apparently the original footage is perfectly fine. The dub screwed with this for seemingly no reason. They repeated the footage of Machamp emerging and flexing to seemingly lengthen the battle, maybe to match the new theme, yet cut the shot of Ash throwing Squirtle’s Pokeball to shorten the scene. The edited version is the exact same length as the original. Basically they purposely made this scene look like it was edited with a chainsaw for no reason whatsoever. Sense: Not produced by 4Kids.

Back to the show, it’s Squirtle vs. Machamp now and Squirtle easily beats Machamp with one Bubble attack…..Wow….You fail, Machamp.

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You don’t even have a weakness to water. Go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.

The opponent then decides to cheat (but Ash doesn’t call him out on it for some reason) by releasing three Pokemon in battle at once; a Venomoth, a Pinsir and a Golem. Not fazed by this at all, Ash lets Pikachu give one good Thundershock and it instantly KO’s all three because Pikachu can just do that okay? Also, if you’re going to have a scene where Pikachu one-hits three Pokemon at once, why make one of them a Golem?….The Pokemon that…ya know….shouldn’t even feel Electric attacks?

Misty: “Well that sure was a shocking ending.” Someone do me a favor and find out just how many times 4Kids has made a ‘shocking’ pun over the course of the entire series. The number has to be staggering.

Cut to Jessie, James and Meowth who are watching the group with binoculars and talking about how jealous they are of the others eating a big meal while they’re starving.

James: “There’s another credit on Pikachu’s charge account.” Scratch the previous request; just check for any electricity related puns.

I should also note that Ash is feeding Squirtle and Bulbasaur here, but he’s not feeding Pidgeotto or Charizard. All Pokemon must earn their meals through battle!

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We cut to the camera again which is now seen attached to a Fearow’s neck as it flies around. Back at Mewtwo’s redesigned island of doom, a Nurse Joy, under the control of Mewtwo, asks if she should send an invitation to them as well. I guess winning a battle like that without breaking a sweat when, logically, it should’ve been much more difficult, and managing to defy the laws of Pokemon type in that last match are pretty impressive feats.

Mewtwo sends out his messenger Dragonite to give a letter to Ash and…this never occurred to me before now, but why exactly aren’t Ash and the others amazed by this? The only exposure they’ve had to Dragonite before now has been in the episode with Bill where it was only seen in shadow as a giant and was touted as one of the rarest Pokemon ever seeing as how they had no real information on it at that time. They see one face to face playing messenger boy and they don’t bat an eyelash?

Anyway, Ash gets a card that reveals a hologram inviting him to Mewtwo’s New Island claiming that it’s a challenge from the world’s strongest Pokemon trainer (And he’s called the world’s greatest Pokemon ‘Master’ throughout the film.)

Ash can’t wait to accept the invitation and immediately sends off his response. Dragonite starts to fly back to New Island when Team Rocket stops him with a frying pan. Well surely they’re impressed by the Dragonite and want to capture—nope, they pay it no mind. Oh well!

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The acceptance card falls out of Dragonite’s bag and Team Rocket wonders what it’s saying ‘yes’ to. I suppose sometime afterward they also discovered the hologram card because there’s no real way they could’ve known what was going on the next time that we see them unless they did.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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