Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 01 (Dub) – Mewtwo Strikes Back Review

70wcr1y

Plot: DNA has been taken from the legendary Pokemon, 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. More importantly, he wanted to destroy the world. He wanted to rid the world of humans and Pokemon alike, leaving a world of only superior clones.

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 anyone stop Mewtwo?

Breakdown: 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 as much as I used to.

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.

That aside, on its own, it’s very preachy, hypocritical and 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 and games than he ever was in the anime.

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

You can find Dogasu’s Sub/Dub comparison of the movie here.

————————————

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 – 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.

9nksmlr

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.

PM1SCREEN1

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. 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?

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.

PM1SCREEN2

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 his 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 choose to oppose him. 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, along with 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. He 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. Ash then praises Bulbasaur as we see that he’s being monitored by cameras.

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. Not only that, but we see Ash call out Squirtle without throwing his Pokeball. What happened?

According to Dogasu’s comparison, the original footage plays perfectly fine – it’s the dub that is edited funny. 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.

It’s Squirtle vs. Machamp now and Squirtle easily beats Machamp with one Bubble attack…..Wow….You fail, Machamp.

PM1SCREEN3

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 combat!

PM1SCREEN4

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!

PM1SCREEN5

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.

Meanwhile back in Mewtwo’s lair….

Mewtwo is stirring up a storm with his psychic powers while we see Mew waking up in a bubble underwater. Sensing the disturbance in the force, Mew goes off towards New Island.

While that’s going on, Mewtwo’s storm has reached the coast, and it’s a doozy. So much of a doozy, in fact, that the ferry that was supposed to take this big group of Trainers selected by Mewtwo to New Island has been canceled.

The island ferry manager or whoever she is, explains that this is the worst storm she’s seen in a long time. She tells the tale of how a similar storm that once wiped out nearly all Pokemon. The tears of the Pokemon that remained brought the other Pokemon back to life and created the perfect opportunity for Midnight Sons to get a deal on the soundtrack.

Some of the Trainers don’t give a crap about deadly weather or old legends, so a handful of them head off on their Pokemon. One of them sets off on his Gyarados and claims all of his Pokemon are Water-type, something I will nitpick later. Officer Jenny says that’s an awful idea, especially since the local Nurse Joy has been missing for a month and it’s caused the Pokemon Center to be completely closed down all month?!

Okay, I understand that somehow one Nurse Joy can handle an entire Pokemon Center, especially if the area’s rather low in population, but there’s no Chansey to pick up some slack? There’s no other Nurse Joy that could fill in? A nearby Pokemon doctor? A temp? Intern? Anything? You’d think there’d be something in place for situations like this.

Brock can tell that the Nurse Joy in the ‘missing’ poster (the one that would be entirely useless to anyone but the sharp-eyed horn dog, Brock) looks familiar, alluding to the woman in the hologram letter.

PM1SCREEN6

Everyone’s off to New Island, and Officer Jenny says she’s going arrest them if they actually leave….Arrest them for what? Being headstrong and stupid? Because Ash should have a life sentence by now if that’s illegal.

Ash and the others want to follow suit, but since they have no Pokemon who are strong enough to give them a ride, they’re forced to give up. That is, however, until two vikings in a small row boat offer them a ride.

Spoilers: it’s Team Rocket.

I have no clue why Team Rocket believes they have the boating skills to make it through this storm in a ROW BOAT, especially to a location they’ve never been to, but this is Team Rocket not intelligent people. You’d think, with all the insane robots and contraptions that they’ve had that a larger boat or plane or something wouldn’t be out of their budget.

Brock: “I didn’t know Viking’s still existed!”

Ash: “They mostly live in Minnesota!”

Fun fact: Never understood this joke at all until I read Bulbagarden’s comparison of the movie where they explain that it’s a poke at the Minnesota Vikings, which, according to my research, is a team that plays the sport known as ‘football’.

I love how 4Kids is gung ho about pandering to what they think their main audience is (dumb kids who can’t/don’t read and believe Japan doesn’t exist/is evil) but they throw in a random sports joke. I know some kids are into sports, but the audience for Pokemon is very mixed. How many people got that joke, and for those that did, is it funny to you? Just seems so random.

A giant wave crashes over the boat and knocks off Team Rocket’s disguises…..which, by that logic, shouldn’t all of them have lost their regular clothes? They discover that it’s Team Rocket, but no time for the motto because another wave smacks into the boat and knocks them all into the water.

PM1SCREEN7

Misty calls out Staryu, and she manages to save Brock, who’s just flailing around since he has no Water types, and they soon reunite with Ash who is riding on Squirtle.

It’s rough going for a while, but they manage to make it to the eye of the storm which just happens to be Mewtwo’s island.

Nurse Joy meets them at the dock, and Ash presents his invitation as proof to enter…..Wait, that means Team Rocket couldn’t have possibly seen the hologram letter…..Then how’d they know about all this?

Brock says he recognizes her as the missing Nurse Joy, but she denies this before welcoming them into the castle.

But wait a minute, what happened to Team Rocket? Well, they beat the odds too by using Weezing, since it’s the only Pokemon they have that can do anything in water. Not sure how it propelled itself through the water, but it does float well, I’d imagine.

And then….I’m sorry. This scene is just so incredibly adorable. Mew arrives at Mewtwo’s island and takes a minute to play around on the windmills. It’s so cute and it’s easily my favorite scene in the movie. :3

Cut back to within the castle where Ash, Misty and Brock meet the other three Trainers who made it to the island…..Guess the others died or something.

There’s little point in having these Trainers here besides adding more Pokemon to the mix to be captured later and to complete the starter trifecta. If this were a horror movie, they’d be those characters put in the story just to up the body count. I don’t even think they get names, to be honest. At least not in the dub. If they do, they’re never spoken. There’s some guy in a blue shirt, some guy in an orange jacket and some girl wearing girl clothes.

The only notable trait any of them has is the fact that the guy in the blue shirt has nothing but Water Pokemon, as he mentioned previously. But, as we can clearly see:

1muks5p

That’s wrong because one of his Pokemon is a Nidoqueen, a Poison/Ground type. This is a dub-only line, I believe, though. One of many mistakes 4Kids makes during the production.

That reminds me:

Dub Mistake Counter: 3 (Counting the edit with Machamp and the one with Squirtle in the opening and now the all-Water-type claim.)

But don’t get too comfy–

Dub Mistake Counter: 4 (When introducing himself, the guy in the orange jacket calls his Pidgeot a Pidgeotto, which is an insanely dumb mistake considering Ash has a Pidgeotto and that’s very obviously not a Pidgeotto.)

Nurse Joy tells them to let all of their Pokemon out of their Pokeballs and wait for her ‘master’ to arrive to explain the details. Dunno why they all did it. They’re here to battle. Wouldn’t any of them think that maybe showing all of your Pokemon to the guy you’re battling might be a little…not smart? None of them ask why they have to do this either.

And while the other Trainers do let out all of their Pokemon, Ash only has Pikachu, Squirtle and Bulbasaur out while Brock lets out Vulpix and Misty lets out Psyduck.

First of all, why didn’t Ash let out Pidgeotto? It truly annoys me to no end how little he seems to care about Pidgeotto. I’d understand not letting Charizard out, it doesn’t obey him and would only cause trouble, but why not Pidgeotto?

Second, why did Brock only let out Vulpix? Despite not being kept out of its Pokeball like Togepi or Pikachu, it is very obviously Brock’s most beloved Pokemon, but why only Vulpix? Onix might be a bit big but he also has Zubat and Geodude.

Third, why did Misty let out Psyduck? She doesn’t like Psyduck and gets annoyed whenever it lets itself out. Why not Staryu or Goldeen? There’s a pool ready for Goldeen.

Fourth, why are Brock and Misty even letting out their Pokemon at all? They weren’t invited to this shindig.

Fifth, still don’t understand why they need to do this period.

Voice: “Because Mewtwo wants to steal the Pokemon and make clones from them.”

Good point, voice. Except it’s shown later that it doesn’t matter if the Pokemon are in their Pokeballs or not. He can capture Pokeballs just as easily as free Pokemon. It kinda makes this entire thing moot except to show the Pokemon that will eventually be fighting their clones later.

Mewtwo reveals himself to the group and everyone’s confused as to how a Pokemon can call itself a Pokemon Master. Blue shirt calls him out on it, but Mewtwo tells him to be quiet. He uses his psychic abilities to lift him up into the air and throws him into the pool where his Pokemon are. Because if movies have taught me anything, you can survive any fall as long as it’s into water.

PM1SCREEN8

Blue shirt is angered by this and sends his Gyarados to attack Mewtwo with a Hyper Beam, but Mewtwo just swats it away and back at Gyarados, instantly knocking it out into the pool.

Mewtwo releases Nurse Joy from his psychic control and explains that he essentially kidnapped her and took control of her to make use of her knowledge of Pokemon physiology. He also explains that he erased her memories of everything that’s happened since I guess he took her, but I have no idea why. Why would he care? Does it matter? She’s supposedly going to be fish food in a few minutes along with all humans and Pokemon, so why bother?

Cut to Team Rocket who has made their way through the innards of the castle and discover Mewtwo’s cloning lab with a cloned Blastoise, Venusaur and Charizard in cloning tubes. Jessie accidentally activates the machine by sitting on it, and it quickly grabs Meowth for a DNA sample.

We see a projection of Meowth’s tail fur which is being used to create a Meowth clone. As a shadowed picture of Meowth appears on the screen, Jessie and James say this:

James: “Who’s that Pokemon?”

Jessie: “It’s Meowth!”

Ugh.

Also, I find it so funny that they’re choosing to bring up “Who’s that Pokemon?” in a movie where they make three Pokemon misidentifications. One of them being with this very projection screen. (Though I am aware now that this was loyally adapted from the Japanese version so I can’t really complain too much, I just find a lot of irony in the dub here.)

PM1SCREEN9

Soon after, a cloned Meowth appears in one of the tubes. Wow, Mewtwo really is impressive. He not only perfected the cloning process that the scientists started, he made it so that it takes less time to make a clone than it does to cook ramen!

A video activates…for some reason (No button was pushed or anything), and it’s the main scientist guy from before telling us that they were contracted out by Giovanni to clone Mew and make the world’s strongest Pokemon, Mewtwo. However, he went out of control with anger and started destroying the laboratory.

…..What is the point of this video? Why did he start recording right as Mewtwo started blowing everything up? It’s not like he’s saying anything particularly important or useful in combating Mewtwo, just that they were the ones who created him, Giovanni was behind it and Mewtwo’s a clone of Mew. Also, how is there fittingly edited clips over this narration? Did the main scientist guy do some quick editing to provide proper visuals for this before his face was disintegrated by Mewtwo? Also, if this is purely for record/history purposes, anyone would think that this record would also be destroyed if Mewtwo destroyed the lab. It didn’t, somehow, but any logical person would think that.

This just seems pointless. We know this already, there’s no point in telling it to Team Rocket since this information doesn’t prompt them to do anything about it. They never tell anyone else either, if there’s even a reason to tell anyone else.

Back upstairs, Mewtwo explains his plan of wanting to wipe out both humans and Pokemon alike with his storm. Humans for being dangerous creatures unfit to rule the world and Pokemon for willingly being their servants.

Pikachu defies Mewtwo’s claim by stating that he’s Ash’s friend not his slave, which prompts Mewtwo to send him flying only to be caught by Ash.

PM1SCREEN10

Orange Jacket Guy gets fed up and tries to capture Mewtwo by battling him with his Rhyhorn. Right, because if a Hyper Beam by a trained Gyarados was easily swatted away like a fly, I’m sure your Rhyhorn charging headfirst at him will surely result in victory.

It doesn’t, obviously, as Rhyhorn gets thrown into the table. Ash challenges Mewtwo to a real Pokemon battle and Mewtwo accepts. He uses his psychic powers to activate the cloning tubes and wake up Blastoise, Venusaur and Charizard. Don’t really know why the clones have dark markings on their bodies. It’s probably so people could better tell them apart, but most of the other clones later have no discerning marks.

Also, there’s an animation error. Blastoise’s jaw is usually tan, but in one shot it’s blue.

1b8jffd

Doesn’t affect anything, but I thought it was funny.

Mewtwo then reveals that he has an entire stadium set up outside.

Brock: “A stadium! Mewtwo planned this all along!”

Oh my – really!? You mean the one who invited you all to the island to have a Pokemon battle was planning to have a Pokemon battle this whole time!? WHAT A TWIST!!

I should mention that only two of the extra Trainers here can even participate in this battle since they’re using the starter final evos and the guy in the blue shirt has no starter final evo Pokemon.

Orange Jacket introduces his Venusaur, BruteRoot, while Girl introduces her Blastoise, Shellshocker. You just don’t see many Pokemon have nicknames in the series, really. The only prominent example I can think of is Richie and the random CotD. Which is really odd when you think about it. You’d think nicknames would be more common, but apparently most people are content calling their Pokemon by their species name.

Ash has the Charizard (Oh God, no.) so he lets him out of his Pokeball. Gee, wonder if he’ll behav—nope. He instantly Flamethrowers Mewtwo in the face, but the fire is blocked by Mewtwo’s psychic powers.

PM1SCREEN11

Mewtwo: “Your Charizard is poorly trained.” Said everyone always.

The battle has started, and BruteRoot’s up first. Now that I’m seeing Orange Jacket’s clothes in full frame, they’re actually pretty cool. Nice design, and his Pokeballs attach to his pant legs….And that was your Pokemon Fashion Moment, girlfriiieeennnndd! ❤

s5dtz8e

He starts off with a Razor Leaf attack, but all of the leaves are swatted away by Cloneasaur’s Vine Whip in what is actually a really cool shot. Afterward, Cloneasaur grabs BruteRoot with the vines and throws it across the stadium.

Next up is ShellShocker, who tries a Hydro Pump, but Blastclone uses Rapid Spin, instantly plowing though the Hydro Pump and smacking ShellShocker into the wall.

Misty tells Ash to forfeit (Like he has a choice at this point), but Ash won’t give up. Oddly, Charizard seems to be actually obedient in this one instance as he follows Ash’s guidance to use speed instead of power and even waits until his command to fly off into battle. Maybe Charizard understands the gravity of the situation? Hm.

It’s a battle in the sky now, but Cloneizard is too fast for Charizard. He Seismic Tosses Charizard into ground for an instant KO.

I’m kinda wondering…what the point of all this is….Does Mewtwo just wanna show off? Why did he really invite these Trainers here? I know he wanted their Pokemon, but he was doing just fine getting Pokemon on his own. That’s how he got Charizard, Blastoise and Venusaur.

It’s not like he’s particularly concerned with getting the best trained Pokemon since he sees all non-clones as weak and it summoned ASH of all people there. I’d try to lure the Elite Four or at least some Gym Leaders if I wanted that.

Hell, he actually had two Gym Leaders right beside one of the Trainers that he invited. At least give some actual reason like “I’ll destroy the world unless you find some way to beat me or at least hit me.” These battles and inviting these Trainers to the island just seems to be a little pointless to me.

Oh and also, how does Mewtwo hope to kill off the Water Pokemon?….Doubt they’d die from….ya know….water.

PM1SCREEN12

Anyway, as prize for winning, even though he doesn’t need to earn it, he uses special floating black Pokeballs to capture everyone’s Pokemon. Even Blue Shirt’s, despite the fact that he never ‘formally’ battled Mewtwo. He states that he’s going to use their DNA to make clones, and keep the clones safe on the island with him as humans and Pokemon get eliminated by the storm.

All of the Pokemon are getting captured, even when Ash tries to put them back into their Pokeballs (see?). Only one remains; Pikachu. So what does he do? Climbs the giant spiral ramp thing up and up and up. Pikachu, have you never seen a horror movie before? Never go upstairs, that just traps you!

Why does this ramp thing even exist anyway? Decoration? Mewtwo doesn’t need it; he uses psychic abilities. Okay I’m getting too nitpicky here.

Pikachu tries to fend off the Pokeballs with his electric attacks and, surprisingly, it seems to work somewhat, but more and more keep coming after him as Ash gives chase.

Pikachu’s getting exhausted, and he falls off the ramp. Ash jumps after him, but a Pokeball snags him. Oh no, that means Ash will die from this like 15 story fall. If only there were some randomly placed tiny pool of shallow water beneath him. Oh there is! Yay! Thanks movie magic!

qawdvfg

Ash chases Pikachu’s Pokeball into the chute thing.

Ash: “YOU’RE NOT GONNA GET PIKACHUUUUUU!”

Yeah, you can keep my Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charizard! But don’t you dare take my favorite of favorites, Pikachu!

Back downstairs, the cloning machine is analyzing the DNA of the newly captured Pokemon.

Jessie and James: “There goes…Alakazam!”

Dub Mistake Counter: 5 (The Pokemon displayed on screen looks nothing like Alakazam, and there wasn’t even an Alakazam in the room. There was an Alakazam seen for one short shot earlier, but that was way in the beginning of the movie. The Pokemon is actually Scyther.)

Meowth: (As the clones are entering the tubes) “Sandshrew…”

Dub Mistake Counter: 6 (The Pokemon in the tube is curled up in a ball and that’s the only reason I give 4Kids some leeway for this mistake. It’s actually Sandslash.)

I just don’t get it. I really don’t. 4Kids is a company that does not care about their audience at all. They don’t care about their shows, they don’t care about making good dubs – they only care about money. Why, then, would 4Kids take its baby, one of the first shows it ever dubbed and arguably the best and most popular one they ever dubbed, get a damn movie deal for it, one that was advertised heavily and got a huge theatrical release, and then drop the ball so much?

One mistake? Sure. Editing flub? Happens. Two editing flubs back to back? Ehh. Mistaking a Pokemon for being one type because of color? Racis—I mean accidents happen and most of his Pokemon were Water-types. Three Pokemon misidentifications in one movie? After how long 4Kids had been dubbing the show at this point? That’s just appallingly bad. Did they think no one would notice? I noticed all of these when I was a kid. I know 4Kids thinks their audience is about as smart as my toilet, but come on.

PM1SCREEN13

Ash is fighting fiercely to free Pikachu from the machine and causes a meltdown in the lab because of it. Apparently breaking a few robot arms causes a bunch of stuff to blow up.

He succeeds, and is reunited with everyone’s favorite rat. As the lab is going berserk, the clones start emerging in droves while the original Pokemon get released due to the explosions that, logically, shouldn’t be happening. Conveniently, Bulbasaur and Squirtle get released right by Ash and they have a happy reunion. But no time for all that, Mewtwo’s gotta be stopped!

Back upstairs, Mewtwo and the others are….having a staring contest I guess. The clones emerge and side with Mewtwo as he states that his goal is drawing near. Oh dear, who could possibly save us now?!

Fear not, Ash is here! Complete with declarations from a cloud of smoke and slowly walking towards the enemy with an army behind him. He even has marching music behind him. Hey, he just survived a lab explosion technically. Maybe he got super powers!

PM1SCREEN14

He did! He got the power of super-psychic-cutting strength as he turns his hat around and dashes towards Mewtwo with breakneck speed! Fist clenched and ready to beat the threat before him, Ash bravely…gets his ass handed to him with no effort on Mewtwo’s part….Whoo!

He’s thrown by Mewtwo into the stone…roof? Whatever those are. But a strange giant pink bubble catches him. It’s Mew!

Mew starts playing around, but Mewtwo realizes what it is and starts attacking it. However, Mew easily dodges all of Mewtwo’s attacks and even thinks it to be a game.

Mewtwo: “Mew…So finally we meet.”

Blue Shirt: “Mew?”

Mew: “Mew?”

I love Mew. It doesn’t speak and is playing around for most of the movie, but it’s always making me laugh and smile.

Mewtwo explains how it was cloned from Mew, which allows the others to get up to speed, then Mewtwo challenges Mew to battle to prove which one is truly the strongest.

When you see the two side by side, it really does show how much Mewtwo improved the cloning process. Mewtwo really looks nothing like Mew. Mew’s so small whereas Mewtwo’s at least like five feet tall. Mew’s light pink, Mewtwo’s purple. And their designs, barring their heads and maybe tails are completely different. I know Mewtwo was made to be ‘better’ than Mew, but Mewtwo also made ‘better’ clones without altering their outer appearance that much.

The battle starts and Mewtwo is constantly throwing attacks at and chasing after Mew while Mew basically refuses to fight back and constantly dodges.

However, Mewtwo snags him with an energy blast and sends him flying into the clouds. Mewtwo looks on with a smirk as everyone else looks on with shock. Mew’s not out of the battle yet as it sends its own energy blast down straight into Mewtwo, smacking him into the bleachers….Dunno why those bleachers are there. He wasn’t planning on having an audience—eh, I’m getting off track again.

PM1SCREEN15

Also, again, Mew makes me smile. He sends this powerful ball of energy down and smacks down Mewtwo like he’s nothing then he gently floats down from the clouds like nothing happened. I love you, Mew. ❤

Okay guys, it’s starting. It’s been bearable up until now, but we are turning the corner into PreachyCheeseLand and it’s a long road out. If you have the following conditions:

  • Weak stomach
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Allergy to corn
  • A brain

Please go do something else until the end credits.

Thank you.

Mewtwo repeats the same stuff about how the clones are just better than everyone else because of their super cool powers and Mew makes our first corny speech (translated by Meowth) about how a Pokemon’s worth is not measured by their powers – their real strength comes from the heart.

Mewtwo, angered by this, says his Pokemon don’t need their powers to prove their worth…right before using his powers to try to attack Mew…Yeah, Mewtwo…

qlmciwt

Mewtwo decides to start an all-out brawl between the clones and originals to see who is really greater. He blocks their abilities with his psychic powers (even though he and Mew are still using theirs…) and it’s on like their Nintendo brethren, Donkey Kong.

This badassery is brought to you by some hippie song by Blessid Union of Souls. Yes, everyone, we’re at ‘Brother My Brother.’ Believe it or not, I actually fairly liked this segment when I was younger, but cut me some slack, I never paid attention to the lyrics. If you’ve never heard it, ‘Brother My Brother’ is a very corny and preachy song about how violence is bad and love is the answer. This is also the point in the movie where many people call complete BS on the movie’s message, at least from a dub standpoint.

Violence is bad. Don’t fight. Love each other.

….No really, that’s essentially the song lyrics. Look.

“Brother my brother, tell me what are we fighting for? We’ve got to end this war.

We should love one another. Oh can’t we just pretend, this war never began?”

Why is this hypocritical? I doubt anyone who knows of the series in the slightest really even needs to think about it that hard. Pokemon is a series based around fighting. Animals fighting each other for the sake of their masters. Rarely do Pokemon ever get permanently injured or killed because of battles, mostly because it seems like Pokemon Centers are magical, but they still get beaten up badly on a regular basis for sport.

Here’s what this movie is essentially saying. Fighting each other in fist fights is wrong. Let’s all go back to the good ol’ days when we fought each other with razor sharp leaves, beams of solar energy (Which, having recently rewatched Gundam 0079, is especially frightening to me right now), electricity, giant rocks and FIRE. That was much less violent.

And lest we forget that there are tons of Pokemon moves that are physical attacks and not special powers. Tackle, Scratch, Cut, Bite, Slam etc. There’s also a whole type of Pokemon dedicated to fighting like that – FIGHTING TYPES. Which also makes the scene where you see Hitmonlee fighting its clone to be pretty dumb.

PM1SCREEN16

Misty and James both contradict this message by basically saying all fighting is wrong later in the movie.

If anything, this whole scene and the following one seem like it’s a really well-made anti-Pokemon cartoon from one of those old groups of parents from the late 90s/early 00s who thought Pokemon was Satanic.

All the Pokemon start fighting along with Mewtwo and Mew who are fighting in glowing Zorbs while Ash tries to get down from wherever he is, I still don’t know. I will admit that this scene isn’t entirely corny as we see Psyduck fighting its clone by slapping its head once, them saying “Psy” in unison, then the other slapping its head and saying “duck” in unison. That was kinda funny.

Pikachu meets its clone who is one of the few who has a small mark to tell them apart – the little spike of black on its ears. It’s raring to fight, but Pikachu doesn’t want to. Instead he allows himself to get his ass kicked without mercy.

The music cuts out and we get slow motion shots of the Pokemon falling over in exhaustion as emotional music plays.

Joy: “Pokemon aren’t meant to fight…” One could make that argument, yes.

“Not like this.” Oh yeah, the….electricity and fire method.

“It’s useless….What can come out of it?”

Girl: “Nothing….but pain.” To be fair, what comes out of regular Pokemon battles? Nothing really. The Trainers get all the glory usually, there’s no money involved (anime-wise anyway) it’s really just battling for bragging rights whether to be the best Trainer or have the most types of Pokemon. There’s really no benefit for the Pokemon unlike Pokemon researching and….I’ll go ahead and say it – Pokemon watching.

*audience gasp*

What? It involves research too!

Brock: “Why can’t Mewtwo understand it’s not right to make Pokemon battle this way?” Poison, paralyzation, freezing, burns….oh yeah, there’s a move called GUILLOTINE!

Misty: “They’re all living creatures….This just proves that fighting is wrong!” Self-Destruct, Horn Drill, ACID, Spikes, Destiny Bond, Seismic Toss, TOXIC Spikes, should I go on?

PM1SCREEN17

Cut to Team Rocket where we get more cheesy dialogue.

James: “I was prepared for trouble, but not for this.” James, I want to ask you if you know of the organization that you work for. Team Rocket members are horrible, awful people. In the games and the manga, they’ve done things far FAR worse than making some Pokemon bitchslap each other.

Jessie: “Make that double…for me.”

James: “Now I can see how awful fighting really is!”

Who wrote this dialogue? It is awful. It sounds like someone’s bad attempt at a PSA from the ’50s. Speaking of which, does anyone want some beer? Come on, don’t be a square. Everybody’s doing it. Don’t you want to be hip and happenin’?

Then we get to—Oh no…..No. I will give anything to not watch this scene again….. It stands as one of the corniest and lamest things I’ve ever seen in any show ever. Even as a kid, loving this movie, I hated this scene. ….Ughh….Guess I might as well get it over with.

Meowth sees his clone is also about to challenge him. Meowth bares his claws, as does the clone, but they both stop what they’re doing.

Meowth: “Get this straight, Copycat, You-owth ain’t gonna push Me-owth around!”

Clone: “Meow meow”

Meowth: “You mean…we don’t have to fight with each other? But how can I trust you? You was born different.”

2676onk

And I do want to mention something about this. In the Bulbagarden comparison of this movie, Dogasu, the creator of the comparisons for Pokemon on that site, says this.

Meowth, on the other hand, develops this sudden prejudice against those who are different that lasts for this scene and this scene only. Which, y’know, is totally in-character for a Pokémon who was rejected by the love of his life because it walks on two legs and is able to speak human language.”

Good point, indeed.

Meowth: “I almost made a clawful mistake” Is practically every word out of Meowth’s mouth a damn pun?

“but how do I know you’re not gonna pull a fast one on me?”

Clone: “Meow meow MEOW!”

Meowth: “You’re right! We do have a lot in common. The same earth, the same air, the same sky.” Right, we all live on the same planet thus we are all trustworthy. Words to live by. Hey, small children of the world! Stranger danger’s a bunch of crap! The only strangers you have to worry about are aliens.

“Maybe if we all started lookin’ at what’s the same instead of what’s different…well, who knows?”

This is the other message that this movie is supposed to have but I can’t really figure it out that much. Is it…like an anti-racism message? A general anti-prejudice message? Or just another way of telling everyone to get along?

Also, if the clone Meowth is supposed to be better than the original, why can’t it talk and why does it act and behave like a regular Meowth? I know cloning doesn’t really work that way, but you can’t tell me with all the stuff that we have to believe in this series and movie that they couldn’t have done that without anyone batting an eye.

PM1SCREEN18

Mew and Mewtwo continue battling as do the other Pokemon despite a good chunk of them seemingly giving up during that little montage earlier. Ash is still climbing down the whatchamascrewit and sees Pikachu, the only Pokemon he cares about, still getting his ass kicked by his clone.

Pikachu and Cloneachu start that really funny one-sided bitchslap fight. Then Cloneachu’s heart also grows three sizes that day and starts to cry as he fights.

Ash finally makes it down to the ground and we get more preaching.

Joy: “I’d rather risk my life out in Mewtwo’s storm than watch these Pokemon destroy each other.” Can’t say “kill”. Come on, 4Kids, drive your message home! Break the rules! Be a rebel without a cause….err well, I guess with one.

Brock: “Those Pokemon look like they’re ready to fight to the death!”…..”Fight to the death” “death.

*sigh* Not even going to try to make sense of them anymore. Is there like a limit to how many death references they can make or something?

Misty: “That’s a fight that nobody’s going to win.”

Yeah, yeah, flower power, we are the world. Can we move on?

Ash says the only way to stop this is if the Pokemon themselves take a stand and refuse to fight, just like our messiah, Pikachu.

Just then, Mew and Mewtwo crash into the ground with their energy Zorbs and prepare for a more serious face off with Dragon Ball Z auras that can shoot energy blasts.

They’re stalemated, and Ash takes a look around to see all of the Pokemon in pain and suffering from their battle. Wanting to stop the fighting once and for all, Ash runs out between Mew and Mewtwo and gets caught between their two energy blasts, causing him to turn into stone.

PM1SCREEN19

Now, like many fans, I was emotionally shaken by this as a child.

As an adult who is making a hobby out of watching all the old Pokemon episodes and analyzing them with a critical adult eye………FINALLY!! YAY!! HE’S DEAD!! HOOTHOOTHOOTHOOT!

I’m kidding, of course. It still hits me, just not quite as hard. This scene still prompts cry-like feel emotions of humans in my face are, and I definitely still get teary-eyed when Pikachu is trying in vain to shock Ash back.

But we know they’d never actually kill him. And we already alluded to a way to bring living beings back to life before. The Pokemon all start crying that Ash ‘died’ and the power of their tears cures him from his rock form and reunites him with Pikachu.

I would question…..everything right now…..But it’s not like this is ever brought up again in any way, and I admit full out that it’s still tugging at my heartstrings. The music doesn’t help. I think that’s one of the few pieces of 4Kids’ music that actually really had emotional impact with me.

PM1SCREEN20

Pft, I never noticed this. All of the Pokemon, even the ones who don’t belong to him or knew him in any way are crying at this. Brock and Misty? Not a drop. Misty looked sad earlier, that’s about it.

Mewtwo, seeing the sacrifice that Ash made for the Pokemon, sees that life is not about how you were born or what you are, it’s about how you choose to live your life. Realizing his mistake, he and Mew psychically take all of the Pokemon clones away from the island to start a new life elsewhere.

In order to ensure this doesn’t screw up continuity, Mewtwo erases everyone’s memories of the events on the island and teleports them back to the wharf.

No one else but Ash is wondering why they don’t remember why they came to the wharf, but whatever. I’d think that’d be a severe sign of mental issues, but I’m no doctor. Nurse Joy is also at the wharf….which creates a bunch of continuity errors, doesn’t it? Nurse Joy was missing for a month before this point in time. Did Mewtwo turn back time or did he alter the memories of everyone else in town and remove the ‘missing’ posters?

They look outside to see that the storm has mysteriously ended quite suddenly, and Ash sees Mew flying through the sky while no one else does.

Ash: “The day I left home from Pallet I thought I saw a really rare Pokemon. And just now, I thought I saw another one.” I believe I get what they were saying, that he saw another rare Pokemon, but it also makes it sound like he’s saying he saw another of that same rare Pokemon. Which it isn’t. The rare Pokemon he saw way back in episode one is Ho-Oh, not Mew.

PM1SCREEN21

Ash and the others continue their Pokemon journey as we fade to black and back to Team Rocket who for some reason didn’t get teleported, but did have their minds wiped. *shrug*

They also believe a sudden onslaught of amnesia is perfectly fine since they’re on a nice island.

Meowth: “You know I’d really like to go sailing in one of them Catamarans. Haha!” Yup, every sentence he says is a damn pun.

That’s the end of the movie, but we still have the ending credits. I do actually very much like the soundtrack for the movie, even if they do everything in their power to cram as many songs into the ending credits as possible without giving any of them a full playthrough. Remember, buy the album!

The only song that seems kinda oddly placed is ‘Free Up Your Mind’ mostly because it starts with someone saying “The government!”

Also, ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ doesn’t really belong in this movie since romance was not a part of anything at all.

The background footage for the end credits is boring, but nice to look at. It’s just Ash and the others walking, visiting some places and camping, but the art and animation make it look nicer than usual.

———————————–

Art and Animation: In terms of art and animation, they’re better than the TV show, but it’s not a massive change. It’s definitely more polished and crisp, and there are certainly more unique angles added. There were several uses of CGI both by the original art team and 4Kids that kinda clashed with everything. Like, why exactly did the door need to be CGI? Or the windmills? Fairly good use of CGI for 1999 though.

Music: The soundtrack is pretty good in my opinion. Some points have over-the-top music for emotional scenes and heroic scenes, but it’s nothing that bad.

Bottom Line: I just can’t deny the fact that, as much as my nostalgic side is crying right now, this movie is a rampant mess.

I understand that the movie was drastically changed from the original version, and 4Kids dropped so many balls while dubbing this movie. From the awful dialogue to the hypocritical message to the preachiness to the several mistakes that should’ve easily been fixed if there were any sense of quality control. There was the confused motivations for Mewtwo and a bunch of other stuff. Not to mention that this movie ultimately amounts to nothing because their memories were all erased. Down the line, we’ll see Mewtwo again, but that’s way down the line.

The dub isn’t worth much as an actual movie on its own. It holds nostalgic value for many people, myself included, and there are some really good moments both emotionally and action-wise, but nostalgia and some nice action can’t cover this mess entirely.

This is some of 4Kids worst work in the realm of dialogue and storytelling, and I can only praise them for not slapping a whole bunch of digital paint onto this. Not that there’s much to paint anyway, but they find ways. They even left the wharf signs, which have both English and the evil language of JAPANESE on it!

I will give all the props in the world to Mewtwo’s VA, Jay Goede, for doing a fantastic job, but otherwise this movie is mediocre at best, and, at its worst, is a sloppy dub job that 4Kids pumped full of licensed songs and ridiculous easily fixable mistakes. I can’t fault them entirely for the cheesy and somewhat hypoocritical messages, because they were still present in the original version, albeit toned down a bit, so they get a bit of a pass there, but since this review is largely about this movie works as a standalone and as a dub, I still have to ding it because, while the messages can still stay, they don’t have to be nearly as nauseatingly cheesy about it.

This dub is much more mutilated than many people realize. You can find out exactly how and why in my review of the Japanese version of this movie here.

Recommended Audience: 4Kids….

Edit 3/14/22: I have cleaned up this review in regards to wording, structure and some unfair statements. Ultimately, my viewpoint remained the same, but I will eat some crow and slightly agree with the lone commenter below and say, as I said in the Bottom Line, at very best, this movie is mediocre. I no longer use ratings and am eliminating them from my past work entirely since I have always sucked at giving things number ratings properly and I don’t much care for the system anymore for unrelated reasons, but while I mostly still stand by my original view because the movie IS a mess, objectively, I will say I was a bit overly harsh with that defunct rating, and I apologize. 


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisement

2 thoughts on “Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 01 (Dub) – Mewtwo Strikes Back Review

  1. 3/10, I’m sorry but this was a pretty solid film. I liked the storyline and even remember crying when Ash got turned to stone. At least a 6.5-7. A 3? The I Choose You movie deserves a 3, not this.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s