Plot: A boy named Sam (who is totally not Professor Oak) is transported 40 years to the future (Ash and the gang’s present) by the legendary Celebi after outrunning a Pokemon hunter. While trying to find a way back to his time, Sam, Ash and the others have to deal with a new threat who wants to use Celebi for malicious means.
Breakdown: Okay, I’m going to address something that might be confusing to some people reading this—why I don’t bother talking about the American posters for the Pokemon movies. I’ve been making it a habit to discuss the Japanese ones simply because they, for some reason, tend to be bad with the first being downright awful. However, the American ones have always been fantastic, in my opinion.
The first was simple, yet effective with Mew and Mewtwo facing off and the, at the time, entire roster of Pokemon behind them.
In Movie 02, they actually made what is my favorite Pokemon poster with the Pokeball like a planet, Ash’s (? Is that even Ash? He actually looks more like Red…) silhouette with his Pokeball to the sky and surrounded by tons of Pokemon under the Legends. That was just fantastic.
The third movie’s was somewhat ripping off the Japanese poster with Entei’s picture, but it was changed up plenty to actually mirror one of the best scenes from the movie.
All of the American posters have gotten rid of the clipart clutter and the pointless additions and have made great posters that I never felt the need to bring up….
What is this? Celebi’s fine. The ripple effect is fine. The lake shot is fine. What is Ash standing on? He’s floating in mid-air or he’s simultaneously standing on an also-floating Suicune and Celebi.
Why is he making that pose? With his hat backwards, that means that’s his capture pose.
Why is IMM almost microscopic, and why is he standing on his spider robot like that?
Why are they showing the God-awful grass monster thing?
Let’s address that title, eh? Pokemon 4Ever? Gee, 4Kids, you must think you’re clever as all hell for not only replacing a part of a word with a number, but also recycling the same for=4 joke thing from your own goddamn name. Ending any title with ‘Forever’ just seems lame anyway.
Though I did praise the poster designers for getting rid of clutter, there’s one character who kinda needed to be in this poster…..Ya know, Sam. The guy who’s supposed to be the other main character? I mean, his spot on the Japanese poster is depressingly small, but at least he was there. He gets nada in America.
Here’s where we kinda start falling off of the nostalgia wagon a bit for me. I never watched Pokemon Movie 04 in theaters simply because it never showed in any theaters close enough to me. And, according to Bulbagarden, that’s not surprising.
Miramax released the movie theatrically in an extremely limited manner, and those theaters that did have the movie never kept it for more than a couple weeks, if that. This was hindered even further by the fact that they did no advertising for it. In fact, the first time I even found out there was a fourth movie was because I saw a commercial for the DVD release.
Not only was this movie a box office bomb (because of the extremely poor marketing and theatrical release strategy) but was also critically hated and panned by fans as well. Ouch.
Soon after watching the commercial, I went out and bought the DVD, but I never got much into the movie. I like Celebi and Suicune and everything, but after loving Movie 03 so much, it failed to impress me. Especially with the blech-y CGI. Apparently, this is Dogasu’s favorite of the movies so far alongside Movie 05 so maybe I’ll see it in a better light once I’m done rewatching it for this review.
By the way, am I the only one kinda pissed at how Raikou was sufficiently snubbed in these movies? Entei gets a whole movie to himself, Suicune gets a significant part here and a decent part in the main series, and what does Raikou get? A special three-part episode in Pokemon Chronicles – that series people watched just to see the usually forgotten side characters left behind (IE the BetterThanAsh squad) actually do stuff on their own without Ash.
The main characters of the arc he was in, The Legend of Thunder, didn’t even include any known characters – it was three completely new characters made up for those specific episodes. Poor Raikou.
There’s a very significant change between the two versions that I was debating on bringing up here or in the sub review. I would usually bring it up in the sub review, but let’s just address this incredible moment now. It’s a moment of utmost stupidity that shows that 4Kids thinks so little of their audience that they are actually willing to lose their precious money, quite a lot of it in fact, to shove a plot point into the faces of the audience. But more on that later.
For more information sub/dub comparison wise, see Bulbagarden’s comparison here.
We start with narration from Brock for some reason (Brock killed the other narrator! CALL THE POLICE!) giving us the regular ‘World of Pokemon’ shtick as we see a bunch of Pokemon.
I recall this part of the movie specifically because it is one of the extremely rare times you ever see Porygon. Yes, the Pokemon so banned that even its evo stages are sufficiently banned from being shown in the series. They might appear for a second or two, like Porygon does here, but they will never be given spotlight in the show ever again.
Ya know, I joke about Messiahchu because he’s so glorified, but if anything Porygon and its evos sacrificed itself for the sake of the show’s mascot. Everyone salute!
The Wiki makes a weird note about this shot – Porygon’s the only Pokemon to be shown behind a chain link fence. What’s that note supposed to imply? That they purposely put Porygon behind the fence to make a statement about the character? “Oh yeah, we let Porygon in this shot, but it’s behind a fence, guys! Don’t worry! You can’t get seizures through a fence! DON’T SUE US!”
After going through the motions of the ‘World of Pokemon’ opener, we get Ash’s backstory…..Why? I’m all for sprucing up the old footage, but if you’re watching the fourth Pokemon movie, chances are you know Ash’s backstory by heart.
And let me get my nitpicky gloves on. Ahem, Ash wasn’t wearing his regular attire when he got Pikachu. He was wearing his pajamas because he woke up late. In fact, that’s actually somewhat important because he only got Pikachu instead of the Squirtle he wanted because he slept late and was only able to get a leftover Pokemon instead of the three main starters. Yet they actually remember that Pikachu’s Pokeball has a little lightning bolt on it.
I love how they completely omit the fact that Pikachu was a little turdmuffin when he first met Ash. Can’t tarnish Messiahchu’s rep.
Our actual start is in the (Obviously CGI) forest (Because trees need to be CGI) with Celebi being chased by a Houndoom 40 years in the past. Celebi is then pursued by a Scyther and gets hit.
We cut to a boy traveling through the forest as he comes across a mysterious tunnel in the path. He is halted by a woman with green hair who tells him the story of the voice of the forest – a spirit who travels through time.
She says that the time travel abilities of the voice of the forest is noted by a peculiar sound. If you hear the sound, you should stop in your tracks, because if it sees you it could whisk you away through time. The boy, Sam, thanks her for her advice and says he’ll be careful. They part ways but not before she gives him a loaf of berry bread as a snack.
Cut back to Celebi’s chase scene where it’s being overpowered by the Houndoom and Scyther who are under the control of a Pokemon hunter. Celebi escapes once more and cries out loudly.
Back with Sam, who has stopped to sketch some things, he hears Celebi’s cries and sees the Pokemon of the forest running away in fright. The pursuit rushes in front of him. He runs towards the three just in time to see Scyther and Houndoom pinning Celebi down.
He tries to yell at the Pokemon to leave Celebi alone, but Houndoom shoots a Flamethrower at him to make him leave. Angered by this, Celebi wraps the two up in vines and weakly floats to Sam’s arms.
The Pokemon hunter shows up and demands that he hand Celebi over, explaining in unneeded detail what he is and what a Pokemon hunter does. Because of course Sam would hand over Celebi after learning this guy basically enslaves Pokemon and auctions them off to the highest bidder.
Sam runs off, but suddenly stumbles. Celebi activates its time travel abilities and whisks them away to the future!
We zoom out of the scene and it turns into a framed picture of the forest. We’re introduced to an older version of the Pokemon hunter being harassed by some guy in a helmet who is the actual villain of our story…..the *sigh* Iron-Masked Marauder.
I don’t really have that many qualms against this guy – he’s more memorable, interesting and threatening than Lawrence ever was, but why, 4Kids? Why the Iron-Masked Marauder? Were you going for a ‘pro-wrestler’ vibe? Because that’s what I’m getting.
He’s trying to get information on Celebi from the Pokemon hunter, but he won’t give it up. Hulk Hogan decides to persuade him by releasing one of the Pokemon the hunter captured, a Tyranitar, from its cage and using a Dark Ball on him.
A Dark Ball is a creation of Macho Man Randy Savage where not only does it automatically put any Pokemon you catch under your control (and maybe have a catching ability rivaling that of Master Balls – also maybe ignoring that a Pokemon is already captured by someone else) but it also increases their strength to max level. Wow, that’s really OP. Glad they’re never seen or mentioned outside of this movie.
He works for Team Rocket, and they have something like this? Why have they not utilized and mass produced them? They would take over the world in a week. Oh right, Team Rocket actually do something in the anime. Hah.
The now evil Tyranitar is commanded to Hyper Beam the place to ruins, even possibly killing the other captive Pokemon. In the midst of the destruction, the hunter gives up the location of where he found Celebi 40 years ago. Boy, I sure do hope Celebi didn’t travel to this exact time because that would be a heap of trouble.
We get our title screen, and I gotta say this is probably 4Kids weakest title screen attempt so far. The animations on the vines look cheap, like something you’d see on an e-card, and the actual title itself is presented like a title of a TV show episode not a movie. Also the 4Ever crap looks twice as dumb in huge bold 3D lettering.…
Wait, title screen!? That means—YAY DUMBASH AND FRIENDS!
This time, Brock and Misty are separated from Ash as they wait at a ferry that will be taking them to their next destination – Don’ttellthemwherethey’regoingbecausethatwouldestablishwhenthismovietakesplace town.
The ferry is about to leave, and Ash is going to miss it, so Brock sends out his Crobat to find him. Cut over to Ash who is about to have a Pokemon battle with an Australian trainer….named Dundee.
Really bringing your A game in the name department today, huh 4Kids? His Wiki page seems to justify this because he has a Croconaw but no, screw that. Drastically changing a character for no reason on the flimsy basis that he has a crocodile Pokemon? Ya know what? Ash has a mouse Pokemon. Better name him Walt Disney!
It annoys me when they set up scenes that very obviously show them in battle stances yet their first dialogue is like they’re meeting that very second, never introduced themselves and didn’t even realize they were going to have a battle.
Dundee chooses his Croconaw, and Ash chooses, who else, Pikachu, and we get our altered theme song for the movie, ‘Born to be a Winner.’ I always liked ‘Born to be a Winner,’ and this movie version is pretty good….though I honestly could’ve done without the out-of-place record scratches.
The battle is rather boring for a movie battle. However, Ash does take this opportunity to prove his dumbness again because, after throwing Croconaw through the air and having him crash into Dundee, leaving both of them on the ground, Ash decides to Thundershock as a final blow. Hitting when the Pokemon is down is low enough, but he actually ends up shocking Dundee too because the two were still getting up from the fall. Nice going, idiot.
As Ash goes to check on Dundee, Crobat calls him over to catch the ferry. And that’s it for your movie opener battle, hope you enjoyed it. The rest is just Ash running to catch the ferry.
As Misty and Brock see Ash running to the ferry, they wave to him and hop on the boat, but Ash is held up by a transport vehicle pulling an insanely long line of trailers with boxes.
When it leaves, the ferry has departed and Ash jumps from the second dock to get on the boat. I love this shot because he’s jumping in slow-mo and trying to reach Brock, but as he misses his hand and nearly falls into the water, the song goes ‘Born to be a winner, born to be the very best.’ Yes, born to be a winner and the very best that one is.
After the song ends, they speak with the same deckhand who has the voice of Duke Devlin. As he learns that the group is really interested in Pokemon, he tells them that a lot of really unusual ones are near where he lives and he can take them there if they want. They agree and Pikachu spots a Suicune far off in the forest. He alerts Ash and the other to it and they’re able to spot it for a second before it runs off.
And here we go. This next scene is the significant change I was warning you about. It’s one of a few scene insertions.
“But Twix!” a reader cries through their computer monitor, “Lots of shows you do SDCs for have scene insertions! Heck, Movie 03 just had one!”
Yes, yes. Scene insertions aren’t really uncommon, reader. But this one is far different. This scene is not taken from the TV show nor is it taken from another point in the movie or another movie – it’s not taken from anything.
Get this. 4Kids had contracted out the original animators and artists for Pokemon to make additional scenes to this movie that amount to over four and a half minutes of extra footage.
Now, why would they do that, you ask? You remember Sam from earlier? Well, spoiler alert, Sam is Professor Oak.
In the original, the main connection the viewers had to this was the ending shot in the credits with Kenji/Tracey finding the sketch book that Yukinari/Sam had, which is fine and dandy.
However, 4Kids thought this was WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY the hell out of an American kid’s league, so they purposely asked the original animators to create, from scratch, specific scenes for the movie with the sole purpose of pushing this connection so far up the audience’s asses that you’d be seeing it coming out your nose.
4Kids has always done dumb things for no reason, but they are all about the Benjamins, baby. They wasted thousands of dollars to have all of this done. Not to mention how much time had to go into it. All in the name of ‘Your kids are way too dumb to ever understand this.’
I understood in the last movie how they decided to move the scene where Spencer is freed from the Unown’s purgatory place to after the Unown lose their power instead of in the ending credits like it was in the original. It may have been to make the fact clearer, but it was harmless if not better that way.
This – urgh! THIS ISN’T EVEN IMPORTANT! Does it change anything whatsoever if you never realize Sam is Oak? NO. It’s just a cool little factoid that is never brought up ever again, ever, and has no actual bearing on the plot or the series as a whole. Oak isn’t even in most of this movie!
I almost feel more insulted because of this fact. If it was an important part of the plot, I don’t think I’d care as much. But the fact that it’s not makes me feel like 4Kids is saying to our faces “Hi, brain-dead lobotomized monkey children. We know you have trouble processing information that is even slightly more complicated than toast=food, so we’re going to pay the original animators of this movie to animate more scenes to drive even unimportant points home. We spent our hard earned monies on this for your sake because we love you platonically, so remember to pester your parents to buy the DVD. That’s D as in Duh. V as in Very Unnecessary. And D as in Dollllaaaahhhhhhhhhhhssssssss!”
While I will note when scene insertions occur, I won’t be comparing the scenes until I get to the subbed version.
We cut to a video phone on a beach where Oak shows the gang a picture of a Suicune and asks if that’s what they saw. They say yes, and he says with confidence that it was indeed a Suicune.
He explains Suicune’s abilities, how it’s called the North Wind and how it can purify water. Just to really get up in your face with this, he tells them that he knows for a fact that these abilities are true. Ash asks him if he’s ever seen one before, Oak says he has once, but before he can explain when and how, the deckhand dude interrupts them saying they have to leave and they hang up.
Cut back to Oak’s lab where he’s thumbing through the book about Suicune. He asks himself if he should’ve told Ash the truth before he hung up. He really would’ve told Ash about everything that’s about to happen and about how he’s, spoiler alert, actually Sam? Honestly? Isn’t that bad for the space-time continuum or something?
Anyway, that entire scene was ordered up specially for 4Kids, and we have more coming up.
As we see the group traveling down a river to deckhand’s neck of the woods (I guess he’s never given a name) we also see Team Rocket following them in some sort of pedal-powered kite thing. Jessie’s leg cramps up, causing her to stop pedaling, and a big wind blasts them off. So soon? It’s not even 15 minutes in. They wouldn’t even be blasted off in a TV episode by now.
The group reaches a waterfall and can’t climb up, but Deckhand has a special trick to his boat. The outriggers turn into blimps and they fly over it…..I would comment on this, but this is a hell of a lot less ridiculous than the whole ‘flying a sailboat’ thing from Movie 02.
They finally arrive at Deckhand’s town which turns out to be a town made entirely out of treehouses – a concept I adore and I believe was the inspiration for Fortree City later in Hoenn, which is my favorite location in that region.
They explore around, on the ground, because I know if I just arrived in a town made of treehouses my first goal would be walking around on the ground (Being clear, the houses all connect via bridges). The girl who talked to Sam before, now an old lady, shows up again with her granddaughter Diana at the same spot she met Sam. She gives them the same warning to listen for the voice of the forest and to be still if they hear it to avoid being whisked away through time.
Ash blows her off because he’s in a hurry (No idea why. Not like he has an appointment for his next Gym match, and the Pokemon aren’t going anywhere…) and they go through the tunnel and into the forest. As they theorize about what the voice of the forest is, something they would’ve known had they stopped and talked for two seconds, we see the trees glowing because of Celebi’s time travel powers.
They run because screw you old lady warning, and they see an even brighter light at the shrine. Sam reappears as does Celebi, but it quickly hides behind the shrine for some reason. The group finds Sam unconscious but alive in front of the shrine and decide to take him back to town so that Diana and her grandma can treat him.
They arrive, and Sam wakes up. He freaks out when he realizes Celebi is gone and pushes Ash. They get into a bit of a fight before Sam realizes he has no idea where he is or what’s going on.
The old woman arrives and instantly recognizes Sam. She happily hugs him, and explains that Sam is the boy from the story who disappeared from the forest 40 years ago. They wonder how Sam can be that boy since he’s still so young, but Sam also recognizes her from that day.
Later, in Diana’s house, the old woman presents Sam with his old sketchbook stating that she kept it all those years just in case he ever returned. They then explain how Sam must’ve been taken away by the voice of the forest on a trip through time over 40 years long.
Sam asks where Celebi is, but the group says there was no Pokemon with Sam when they found him. The old woman tells him that Celebi lives in the Lake of Life since it protects the forest surrounding it. Sam goes after Celebi because he believes it’s still injured. The group decides to go with him and they start their journey.
Meanwhile, we see Team Rocket up in the tree after they crashed and, as luck would have it, the group is traveling right below them. I really have to wonder how that keeps happening…
Pikachu’s pika-sense goes off and he rushes ahead to see two huge felled trees and a bunch of Pokemon gathering at a small opening between them. Ash and Sam climb up to see what’s up and find the weak Celebi in the opening. Sam reaches for Celebi, but it freaks out and psychically pushes the two away.
As Ash returns, Celebi creates awful CGI vines from the tree that start whipping at them.
Ash and Pikachu want to retaliate, but Sam stops them and explains that it’s just scared from being chased by a Pokemon hunter before they went through time. They decide to try to earn its trust instead. After some persuasion and a gentle pat on the head, Celebi recognizes Sam and allows him to pick him up so that Celebi can have some much needed rest.
As the group rushes back to Diana’s house, they’re stopped by Team Rocket. However, as they complete their motto, Wobbuffet comes out to do his bit and his weight breaks the tree branch they were standing on, causing them to fall. The group then takes the opportunity to leave.
However, they’re stopped yet again by John Cena in his giant robot spider. He lets out evil-Tyranitar to Hyper Beam the group in order to catch Celebi.
I love the enlarging animation for the Dark Balls better than any Pokeball. It actually looks like there’s some mechanism to make it grow and shrink instead of the almost inflating Pokeball animation we usually get.
The group tries to escape, but Andre the Giant keeps attacking them until Team Rocket intervenes with Weezing’s Smokescreen. However, they’re merely attacking him because they want Celebi now too, even though a second ago the reason was that he was impeding on their Pikachu-grabbing, and they won’t let him muscle in on their turf.
Tyranitar Hyper Beams through the Smokescreen, and Meowth actually acknowledges that 4Kids must’ve been going for a pro-wrestler thing by saying IMM looks like a Mexican wrestler. Jessie recognizes his mask and they realize that he’s a very prominent member of Team Rocket so they kiss up to him.
Meanwhile, the group is trying to get away, but Misty’s knee gets twisted so they stop for a bit. Until, that is, a Scizor and a Sneasel that belong to Triple H confront them. Ash prepares for battle and so does Sam, with a weird old gray Pokeball that you open by turning a little knob on the top.
While I would say this is a cool look at how Pokeballs used to function, I have to put my nitpicky geek gloves back on because that directly contradicts an episode from way back in the Orange League.
Remember that episode with the Gastly and Haunter who were protecting their master’s, a previous League Champion’s, Orange League trophy in his sunken ship for over 300 years? Their Pokeballs were exactly the same design as the ones used by everyone else today. In fact, the old version of the Orange League trophy has two Pokeball designs on it and both are the well-known Pokeball designs of today.
Why would Sam have what seems like an old relic of a Pokeball 40 years ago when the exact same design and technology that they use today seem to have been used three centuries ago? I guess there could be some justification for it somehow, but they never give one.
Ash lets out Bayleef while Sam lets out his Charmeleon. They battle and win against The Rock’s Pokemon and they bond a bit over their battling abilities.
Later, Ash and the others are having trouble finding their way out of the forest, and Celebi is getting worse as time goes by. However, an Ursaring and Teddiursa direct the group to follow them.
They’re passed on to a Stantler, because I guess Ursaring and Teddiursa can go no further or something. Soon after, they’re passed on to a Furret because they’re pretending the group is a baton in a relay race, I guess, but they soon reach the Pokemon’s destination, Celebi’s home of the Lake of Life.
Sam walks Celebi into the water and they see all of the Pokemon in the forest have gathered around them to see if Celebi recovers. It soon perks up and jumps out of Sam’s arms to swim around for a bit. It basks in some sunlight for a while before it starts glowing and really gets re-energized.
Celebi’s all fine and dandy and even starts playing around with the group. Ash and Sam join in the fun by swimming around in the water. Misty and Brock don’t join because they’re not allowed by side character law. They swim around with Celebi for a while, and Celebi uses its psychic powers to allow them to fly around.
Celebi then fixes Misty’s twisted knee with just a touch….Cuz it just can, okay?
After the fun is over, Celebi leads them to a tree that has tasty CGI berries on it so they can all have a snack. Ya know, Celebi really is adorable in this scene…..Mew’s cuter, but he’s still really cute.
Oh goodie….this scene. Back with Team Rocket on the giant robot spider, they complain that they’re hungry and see a peach tree nearby. They try to grab one, but end up falling off the giant robot spider. As they realize The Undertaker is leaving without them, they run towards him to catch up and the scene ends.
This is another scene insertion, again, completely of 4Kids’ own orders. I am not kidding.
Look, as much as I find it pointless if not insulting to add the scenes with Oak that scream that Oak is, spoiler alert, Sam, at least those do have an actual point to them. It’s still an abhorrent waste of money, energy and time, but they could justify it if they wanted. THIS is filler. THIS is entirely pointless. THIS is 4Kids saying ‘What’s that? I can’t hear you while buried in this pile of money.’
You know what else? Read the paragraph recapped the scene and tell me, does that seem funny to you at all? No? Well, trust me, it’s no funnier with the animation and dialogue either. The slapstick’s lame, the scene itself is stupid and the dialogue is particularly poor Team Rocket humor and puns.
It’s a shame, really, because I actually would’ve given this bank-humping slice of self-indulgence a bit of a pass if they did it because they had an idea for a particularly funny scene. They do tend to give Team Rocket some good material sometimes, especially in the movies. But nope. Just awful.
Back with Ash and Co., it’s bed time and Ash catches Sam staying up to sketch Celebi and Pikachu in his sketchbook. He shows all of his sketches of Pokemon to Ash, and Ash compares the sketchbook to a Pokedex….Tracey did the same thing and you never said that to him. *shrug*
While I get what he means, most people think of information on Pokemon when they think of the Pokedex, not just the pictures. Which also means Tracey’s sketchbooks, being a Pokemon Watcher, would actually be more like a Pokedex than Sam’s.
But considering who we’re dealing with I wouldn’t be surprised if Ash’s only focus when using the Pokedex was ‘ooh purty pitchurrs.’ I believe this line of dialogue was mostly included because Oak invented the Pokedex and, spoiler alert, Oak is Sam. So….Ash gave him the idea to make the Pokedex? I would ask a lot of continuity based questions right now, but I always get a headache dealing with time travel issues.
Oh and there’s this –
Sam: “I guess you know a lot about the future, Ash!” Well…yeah he’s kinda lived there his whole life. He likes to refer to it as ‘the present.’
Sam: “At least, more than I do…”
Ash: “Yeah, I guess so. But I sure am glad I’m not stuck in it like you are.”
WOW, ASH! Was your mother too busy checking the status of your underwear to teach you tact?
Sam obviously gets upset at this, though Ash tries to apologize. Sam forgives him, and he says he might actually like living in the future, but feels sad that his mom probably worried for years and might still be worried to this day. Ash can relate with his own worried mother, but his grumbling stomach interrupts their conversation.
Sam gives Ash half of the loaf of bread the old woman gave him before (I love how she’s a way bigger part of the story than Diana is yet she gets a name and the old lady doesn’t.) and it seems like it also survived its trip through time just fine.
As they laugh….because bread is funny, Pikachu’s pika-sense tingles again and also wakes Celebi up. They head off into the forest, and Ash and Sam follow to see that a bunch of Metapod are glowing, indicating evolution. They are soon surrounded by hundreds of Butterfree and marvel in the sight.
Sam: “Look at all the Butterfree!”
Ash: “I hope you’ll be free, Sam. I mean to go back in time.”
That was a nice sentiment but a dumb line.
Some nice harmonica music plays as Ash and Sam decide to climb up a tree to get a better view. They happily watch the Butterfree fly around creating sparkles against the sunrise. They put their arms around each other and spawn untold amounts of yaoi fanfiction.
What? I remember this scene, and it’s really nice. But come on, this is way beyond the line into romantic. They’re watching sparkly butterflies flying against a sunrise backdrop as they put their arms around each other.
And just to get juvenile, they are literally Ash and Sam sittin’ in a tree!
The next morning, the gang is well on their way back to town, but Rowdy Roddy Piper and Team Rocket come back for another attack. This time they actually succeed in capturing Celebi use a Dark Ball on it.
However, Ash, Sam and the Pokemon from the forest won’t take that sitting down, so they climb on top of the giant robot spider to combat Stone Cold Steve Austin. Ash manages to get the Dark Ball away from him, but the robot crashes and throws Ash from it with the Dark Ball in hand.
Ric Flair soon approaches Ash and starts crushing his fingers under his foot to get him to let go of the ball. Ash can’t take the pain any longer and ultimately lets go, giving Celebi to CM Punk yet again.
The forest Pokemon gather to confront him, but he claims it’s too late to save Celebi anyway and proves his point by releasing the now evil Celebi from the Dark Ball and commanding that it cause all sorts of ruckus. After blowing the Pokemon away, it uses its abilities to create a giant sphere of sticks and leaves, I mean of DOOOOMMM!!
I guess it leaves because next we see Ash waking up. Diana, old lady and Deckhand arrive (seriously, people, just throw out a name. Anything. Prove to me that you give a crap, please.) in their blimp boat to pick up the kids.
We interrupt this movie for cel-shaded Gamecube graphics and landscapes from 6 Angels. Did Suicune really need to be in CGI for this shot? Especially insanely obviously cel-shaded CGI? It’s bad enough they think the trees need to be CGI, particularly when we’re supposed to be so in awe of the beauty of the forest, but this just clashes so badly.
The group is surveying the destruction caused by Celebi in the forest because I guess Rey Mysterio really just wants to destroy the forest for no reason. The line for Captain Planet villains starts there, sir. We see Celebi in its completed…ahah…its….pbbt….giant spiky ball of sticks and what looks like fur. Pbbbahahahah. I’m sorry, I am….haha, it just looks like something my grandma’s cat would hack up.
The sad thing is these CGI shots would actually be pretty okay in a fully CGI film, especially for its time, but it just clashes so horribly with the regular 2D animation that makes up a bulk of it.
Back with Batista who is riding the giant furball, Jessie, who was whisked away by the winds earlier, asks to be released from the sphere, but he says he can’t because he needs a witness to his power. He wants to prove to Giovanni how powerful he is now because he wants to take over Giovanni’s job. He even states later that he wants to kill Giovanni to do so, in 4Kids-ese of course, and eventually take over the world.
To prove his point further, he demands that Celebi increase his power level to super saiyan and create…..pbbbbtttt…..hahahahaha, what is that thing? A giant grass Nobody with crab legs and wings?
Anyway, it uses its leizar beemz to destroy even more things and even starts attacking the Lake of Life.
The group confronts Celebi, but The Iron Shiek commands it to shoot down their blimp boat. They manage to land gently in the lake, because blimp boat, but that doesn’t matter because Celebi shoots them again immediately after they land. They still manage to survive without a scratch, though.
They try again when Celebi comes back, this time confronting it with an attack from Pikachu, but to no avail. Celebi charges up his death ray again but this time Sam and Ash are saved by a better looking Suicune.
Jeff Hardy takes the opportunity to catch Suicune so he sends out his Tyranitar to battle it. Brock actually GETS TO DO STUFF and sends out Onix to battle Tyranitar while Suicune tries to get Ash and Sam to Celebi. He eventually does, but Celebi just throws them off of the wheat monster.
Onix continues to battle, and actually doesn’t do half bad, which is shocking considering this thing is supposed to be max level, but it’s still obviously losing. Tyranitar heads for Suicune, who knocks it down with a Bubblebeam, and a slightly fallen Onix takes this as its cue to swat Tyranitar away 500 feet into the lake like a friggin’ boss. Really makes up for the crappy battle it got in Movie 03. He’s exhausted either way and Brock recalls him.
Sting decides to attack them again with Celebi. Suicune attacks it with a Bubblebeam, but it doesn’t faze it. Probably because Water is weak to Grass….Geez, Suicune at least try to be slightly more competent than Ash. It ends up ensnaring Suicune, Ash and Sam in its vines.
Ash and Sam end up falling, somehow, but Jessie catches them both (wow, strong lady) and tells them to be careful. Sam thanks Jessie and they head towards Celebi without freeing Jessie. What jerks.
Ash and Sam try to get Celebi to remember them to break free of the Dark Ball’s influence, but it’s having difficulty struggling against its power. Also, apparently the Dark Balls gave Celebi Sith force lightning.
They keep trying to get Celebi to remember with even the forest Pokemon crying out to help. Celebi starts having a few flashbacks but the real kicker occurs when Sam hugs it.
So they are literally saved by the power of friendship as Celebi regains its control. This also causes the Dark Ball to explode in IMM’s hands…..Sorry, I ran out of wrestler names. With Celebi good again, the frosted shredded wheat creature starts falling, knocking off IMM and forcing Celebi and the boys to escape through psychic flight. However, Celebi is greatly weak from its ordeal and is actually dying from it.
I don’t exactly know why. Just because it expelled too much energy or because the forest is damaged? Either way, Celebi’s shriveling up like the lettuce in my fridge so Ash tries to save Celebi by dipping it in the lake water. However, the forest is so damaged that the lake water is tainted and lost its healing capabilities. Suicune skips across the lake to purify the water and Ash tries again but it, surprisingly, doesn’t work.
Ash says he has to keep trying and he sits on the lakeside to feed Celebi the CGI berries that they picked earlier. Celebi still won’t move, but Ash keeps trying in vain, all the while his hands are shaking and causing the berries to fall into the water.
He starts crying and says this –
Ash: “Celebi you can’t die!”
4KIDS JUST SAID THE D-WORD!
I joke, but this is actually a really impacting scene rivaling Ash’s ‘death’ in Movie 01. They very rarely ever tackle the subject of death in Pokemon and having a focal (albeit movie) Pokemon die is a pretty surprising thing for them, made all the more surprising that 4Kids didn’t digitally paint Celebi away in this scene and say he went to the shadow realm because of the Dark Ball or something.
Sam: “Now it’s too late to choose because Celebi’s gonna die!”
Stop doing that!
Also, nice little subtle hint of preachiness with the whole ‘it was a human being who destroyed the forest!’
Everyone mourns the loss of Celebi, including the forest Pokemon and Suicune in a scene that, again, reminds me of Movie 01, which just begs the question of why they can’t use their magic Pokemon tears to bring Celebi back to life, but I digress.
There’s still 15 minutes left in the movie and we all know Celebi will pull through, so give it up, movie. How’s it go?
A time warp opens and tons of Celebi pour out of it. Apparently there are a lot of Celebi floating around the time stream and I guess they can sense when one of their own is dying or dead.
They carry Celebi off into the sky and create a circle of Celebi around it to start the healing process. This scene is really nice in terms of visuals and it really puts the CGI to good use instead of being pointless and ugly.
Though I would’ve chosen a better song for this scene. I know 4Kids kept the score, points to them, but the la-la-laaa-lalaaalaa just seems…I dunno. Care-beary?
So yay Celebi’s fine again and it thanks its Celebi friends from the past and future for helpin’ a brotha out, and they depart. Wait, if there are Celebi throughout the ages, where’s the Celebi for this generation if the Celebi here was the one from 40 years ago?
Celebi flies around happily for a while and is about to reunite with Ash and the others when IMM suddenly bursts out of the water and grabs Celebi again.
IMM tries to get away with a jetpack, but Ash grabs his legs and takes off with him. Celebi has the power to psychically make people fly but can’t break free of the hands of one man? Pikachu shocks the jet pack, causing it to explode and sends them all falling out of the sky. But Celebi saves Ash with its psychic powers.
IMM is not so lucky and ends up crashing through the trees. The crash knocks his mask off to reveal…..just his face.
So the Iron-Masked Marauder was wearing his signature iron mask….for absolutely no reason….okay.
He’s surrounded by the villagers (Diana, old lady and Deckhand anyway) as well as a bunch of the forest Pokemon who are ready to whup his ass for what he did to their home. He tries to fight, but realizes he must’ve lost Sneasel and Scizor somewhere along the line. A bunch of Bug Pokemon wrap him up in String Shot (cool, the Bug types get the last hurrah for a change) and that’s the end of him.
Back with the group, Suicune makes its departure, and it’s here where I realize Suicune has been basically pointless this entire movie. It takes nearly all of the movie before it finally shows up, is really only there to save Ash and Sam that one time and give them a ride up to Celebi, which other Pokemon could’ve done, and yeah it purified the lake, but the purification did jack squat in terms of saving Celebi. I still like Suicune, but it has a pretty pointless appearance here.
Since all is said and done, Celebi starts to bring Sam…back…..wait, it’s had ample opportunity throughout the movie to bring Sam back, what was preventing it? I mean…no, no, just that.
It was weak when it first arrived, sure, but it quickly got better and it had like a full day of good health. What was preventing Celebi from time traveling again besides ‘we needed a movie’? I guess I should take back that stuff I said about Ash with the tact because Sam never was ‘stuck’ in the future to begin with. He was just there and Celebi hadn’t decided to go back yet.
Celebi does the time warp again, and Sam knows that’s his ride back home. He and Ash exchange the whole ‘no matter where or when you are, we’ll always be friends’ stuff and Ash actually cries at this which makes me unreasonably annoyed.
He’s known Sam all of a day and a half. Sure they bonded and became friends, but he’s refrained from crying after releasing numerous Pokemon, that he has bonded with, befriended, battled with and loved for months if not years, and he’s said goodbye to other companions as well without shedding a tear for God’s sake, yet he lets the tears flow for Sam. I mean it, he starts sobbing afterward.
One could say that it’s because, unlike his old Pokemon or the friends who have come and gone over the years, he knows he can always see them again someday if he wanted to (he just never wants to, I guess) whereas Sam is off in another time. Well, Ash doesn’t seem to consider the fact that he could meet 50 year old Sam anytime. He could’ve popped right up next to him as an adult after he vanished.
I hate to bring up time travel stuff again, but how are we living in a world where Sam was both gone for 40 years (See: old lady) and a time line where he came back and lived his life (See: spoiler alert, Professor Oak)?
Also, what about the Pokemon hunter from 40 years ago? Won’t he pick up the pursuit when it returns?
Anyway, moving on—MISTY’S CRYING TOO?! Come on! And old lady? Shouldn’t you be more happy for this considering his disappearance seemed to emotionally scar you?…Or…didn’t because he came back? I’m getting confused again.
Whatever, we get our final scene insertion which is another phone call to Sam—I MEAN SPOILER ALERT OAK! They relay their adventure to Samoak who asks Ash what’s wrong since he looks down in the dumps.
Ash says he’s sad because he had to say goodbye to a good friend who went to another time, but Samuel Oak consoles him by saying that real friendships can survive the test of time, and he’s sure he and Sam will be friends forever.
This cheers Ash up and they hear the horn for their ferry, prompting them to say goodbye to the professor, Professor Samuel Oak, which can be shortened to Sam, but Misty suddenly stops and asks how Professor Oak knew Sam’s name since they never mentioned it. They hear the horn again and start running when Brock gives us this stupid line.
Brock: “Professor Oak is amazing, he knows everything!” If there’s one line in this movie I remember vividly, it’s that. What a dumb thing to say. Yes, Professor Oak is so freakin’ smart he knows things that would be impossible to know unless he was there or SPOILER ALERT WAS ACTUALLY SAM!
And why doesn’t Oak just tell him? Not like it would mess up the time stream now.
But it’s actually not even the end of the scene insertion because we cut back to Oak’s house where he reminisces about that day while looking in his old sketchbook.
We cut back to Team Rocket who are still in the lake. Tyranitar, Sneasel and Scizor are free now I suppose, though Tyranitar still seems evil. They just decide to enjoy the waters of the Lake of Life and the movie ends.
The end credits showcase additional scenes like usual. Ash and the others bidding farewell to the people of the treehouse town, The scene I mentioned before where Tracey finds Oak’s sketchbook.
….Wait……..does that mean that…..Oak….is Sam?!
Also, this scene now creates a continuity error due to the last scene insertion. Why would Oak’s old sketchbook be all dusty in a pile of old books in the back room if he was just reading it a little while ago?
Other than that, more landscape shots including the group and other stuff. I always enjoy these. As for the music accompanying it, it’s a rather catchy little song called ‘Cele-b-r-a-t-e.’ As with all 4Kids fare, this song may be catchy but it is really irritating.
It’s fine for the first….45 seconds, but then it quickly gnaws on your nerves with how repetitive it is. It just repeats the same lines over and over and over. Just when you think you got some reprieve, the singers point out that they forgot to ‘vamp out.’ and the lead actually says –
Lead: “You mean this ain’t the end of the song?”
Lead: “Aw man.”
Did you hear that? The lead singer is disappointed that the song isn’t over! What does that tell you?
What’s even worse is that, after that, they add two instances of the ‘tape rewinding’ noise just to grate on you even more. This song has references to time and rewinding so there’s your connection to the movie. As for the title of the song, well, speak the first half and first letter….See? Cele-b? Celebi! Get it?! Yeah that is oh so clever.
While I do find this movie to be better than I initially remembered, even if there are the stupid facts about the scene insertions, I can justify why this movie didn’t impact me as much as the others.
It just didn’t seem as ‘big.’
The other movies seemed to be really big and had a lot of weight to them, no matter the stupid moments or cliches. This one just didn’t seem to have as much weight.
The only thing that was in immediate danger was the forest, even though IMM did say he’d take over the world after destroying the forest and taking over Team Rocket. It would’ve sucked if the forest was destroyed, but it doesn’t have the same weight as the possible destruction of the whole world or even a little girl being trapped in a reality of her own making after the loss of her parents. It just couldn’t give me the impact I had come to expect.
I do appreciate the scenes with Sam and Ash’s friendship even if I call foul on how he was crying so much after Sam left. (Seriously, he spent no more time with Sam than he did most CotDs and he never seems bothered saying bye to them)
Celebi was a cute and interesting Pokemon, and I like Suicune even if his role was kinda moot. IMM was actually a legit villain for a change, one who didn’t seem like he was chucked into the movie for no reason and ultimately forgotten like Lawrence. They didn’t try to make him cheesy or lame, they made him an actual threat and I applaud that. Though, to be honest, he’s still not that interesting of a villain seeing as how his only drive is to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!
Sam was a likable character, even if Ash took some of his thunder. He really should’ve been the one doing most of the stuff with Celebi seeing as how it seemed like it was intending on going that way. Brock got to battle! Misty got to….twist her knee.
I am glad that 4Kids didn’t try to shove an environmentalist message down our throats, even if there was a line or two that nudged it.
The regular art and animation is a step up from the show like usual, but the CGI does just stick out like a sore thumb and is just plain ugly as a result most of the time.
Overall it’s a solid and enjoyable movie. It may not share the weight of 01 or 02 or have the sentimental value or interesting worlds of 03, but it is still pretty okay.
Recommended Audience: The word ‘die’ is said twice, so best to leave this for ages 18+
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