Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 05 (Sub) The Guardians of Altomare/Guardian Gods of the City of Water: Latias and Latios Review

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Satoshi/Ash, Kasumi/Misty and Takeshi/Brock are on the island of Altomare where they treasure the heroes of their local legend, Latias and Latios. Satoshi is lucky enough to see them after saving a Latias from the thieves Zanner/Annie and Lion/Oakley, but they still have plenty of plans in store for the pair. Plans that could involve the destruction of the town.

Breakdown: Now THAT is a much better poster, Japan. That is eye-catching, detailed, well organized, contains scenes from the actual movie and just looks great. If I would complain about anything, it’s the lack of Kasumi, Takeshi and Team Rocket, but seeing as how they’re basically not a part of the movie, I can’t damn it too much.

There’s also this poster, which is more complex.

That is pretty good too, and Kasumi and Takeshi are included this time as well. Plus there’s the awesome soul dew center piece. My problems are the slight nitpick that Satoshi wasn’t wearing his vest or regular pants in the race, Kasumi was wearing a life jacket (the Water Pokemon Trainer’s wearing a flotation device but not Satoshi? Weird) and the odder issue with what the hell Takeshi is even doing there.

That shot, to my recollection, is not in the movie, though his role really is just gushing over girls. It’s a shame, it’s like they wanted to include him but realized he did absolutely nothing the entire movie. They would’ve been better off using stock pictures, to be honest.

Alright, well, since we may be dealing with first movie level changes according to Dogasu, I’m going to go through the movie step by step again. I’ll try to glance over scenes whenever possible to avoid unnecessary text walls.

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The ‘World of Pokemon’ opener starts us off, even though it seems faster and like it’s missing a couple scenes in contrast to the dub. For example, this version doesn’t include the further shot of Satoshi in Okido’s/Oak’s lab, and it includes scenes from the first episode with Satoshi and Pikachu running from the flock of Onisuzume/Spearow and the classic battle between Iwark/Onix and Gangar from stock Pokemon League footage.

Our movie actually starts off with….me wondering if I put the right movie on—oh god it is the first movie all over again!

Alright, alright!….Deep breaths, everyone! I’m sure we’ll be fine.

We start off with some pretty cool looking construction-paper cut-out-like animation of the town of Altomare. In the Japanese version, Altomare is one word. In the dub, it’s two. I don’t understand why, but I’ll assume it’s because the Italian translation is two words…

A female narrator starts explaining the backstory of Latios and Latios. Back in the ancient days of Altomare, an elderly couple found two children, a boy and a girl, injured and washed up on the beach. They took the children in and cared for their injuries. As the children were recovering, a gigantic monster that looked like a huge cloud made of dark gears appeared and…..wait, dark gears?….Black Gears?! Someone call the Digidestined, looks like Devimon’s up to his old tricks again!

The monster took over and started destroying the town. The elderly couple tried to shield the children from the monster’s attack but were startled when the children started transforming. The children became the Infinite Pokemon, Latios and Latias. Together, they called upon their other Latios and Latias friends to defeat the darkness with what seems to be the power of the Heart Drop (The Soul Dew).

As we cut out to the shots of the book actually seen in the dub, we learn that peace returned to the island, and the two Latios and Latias who were cared for by the elderly couple started frequently visiting the city of Altomare to ensure that the peaceful state remained.

The book is held by two thieves, Zanner and Lion – Annie and Oakley respectively in the dub – and they run off before they’re caught stealing the book. Also, according to the Wiki, they’re sisters in both versions, but I don’t recall hearing them ever say that in the dub.

In the car, Zanner points out that the story is just a legend, but Lion says there’s plenty of evidence to support that the story is real, and there’s also a hidden secret in the book that leads to something much better than the jewel. They drive off and then fly off on Barbie’s magic dream jet/convertible and head towards Altomare.

We get our title screen and it beats out the 4Kids one. They did a better job with the jet transition and the tidal wave effect. Plus the actual title itself looks like finished CGI.

For comparison’s sake, I made a gif of the dub movie’s title sequence too.

We cut to the start of the race and learn that it’s actually Altomare’s Summer Festival and this is just a water race for the festival as opposed to the actual race being the big event, the Tour de Alto Mare – and I’m just now realizing that 4Kids was probably referencing the Tour de France with that…..you know, the French bicycle race? France, Italy? They’re both foreign, who cares? Bicycles, boats? They’re both modes of transportation, who cares?

The race begins and we get our theme song which is just another remix of the same Mezase Pokemon Master song we’ve heard every single movie so far. Guys, it’s a fine song, but change is good. As much as I love the original Pokemon theme song, even that would get old after hearing it for so long. Variety is the spice of life, people.

As for how this remix fares….it’s okay. It’s pretty poppy for my tastes. They remove the Pokemon sounds, so that’s something.

Everything’s fine and dandy throughout the race, except we don’t hear Takeshi talking to that girl when he’s on the bridge. Not a big surprise, even though I don’t get why they’d leave it alone in Movie 02 and 03 and yet add dialogue again here.

Satoshi wipes out, gets saved by Latias and then pulled by Latias and we cut to Kasumi and the other guy vying for first place. Believe it or not, 4Kids almost left his name intact. He’s Rossi in the original and Ross in the dub.

Satoshi catches up, but gets diverted when Latios skews him off course and he crashes. Meanwhile Kasumi pulls out the win.

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Rossi offers a ride in his boat to celebrate, and the gang heads off with him on his gondola. Kasumi marvels at her medallion, but there’s nothing stating that the symbols tell the story of Altomare. In fact, now that I really look at it, the only symbols are Latios and Latias. How is that a ‘story’?

Kasumi asks what the statues of Latios and Latias are and Rossi basically just gives the cliffnotes version of the legend. And now it makes perfect sense why Latios and Latias are both on the statues instead of just a Latios like the dub legend states.

Cut to Zanner and Lion’s little camera thing and the icky CGI people below. They explain the same thing about how Latios and Latias can disguise themselves as humans so they’re scanning the people. Latios and Latias have lower body temperatures than people, so the thermal imaging can quickly spot Latias.

As they pursue Latias on their boat, they splash Team Rocket and Kojiro/James instantly recognizes them as two of the top thieves ever. Yup, another change between the two versions is that Zanner and Lion are merely great thieves, not spies for Team Rocket, nor members of Team Rocket at all. I don’t have any clue as to why 4Kids changed that.

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The comparison states that it was big rumor that the two were part of Team Rocket before the movie even came out, but that’s not really an excuse seeing as how they eventually got and translated the damn script themselves. Unless they started writing the dub script before the movie even came out….I wouldn’t put it past them.

Sucks, actually. While they don’t do a whole lot, I like when Team Rocket actually does villainous organization things. Like how I liked Vicious in Movie 04. Though I’d prefer if one day the whole organization got off their asses and did something big and movie-worthy for once. All I remember is them taking over the St. Anne and a few things Butch and Cassidy did. They’re a pathetic organization….

They get basically the same idea as the dub, only they want to outwit and beat them at thieving not follow them and try to learn from them.

Back with Satoshi and the others, Rossi bids them farewell and tells them of a great crepe shop, not an ice cream shop and seafood place like the dub. Surprisingly, the ‘ciao’ is also present in the dub, and I feel weird about that for some reason.

The gang runs off for some crepe-y goodness while Pikachu goes off to a fountain. Latias, in human disguise, turns on the faucet for him and Pikachu starts drinking and cooling off. Satoshi arrives and thanks Latias for turning on the water for Pikachu. Latias gets in his face, circles him and runs off.

Latias continues her stroll until Zanner and Lion spot her, out her as Latias and pursue her. Pikachu hears the fuss and runs off, prompting Satoshi to follow, and Zanner and Lion catch Latias. Satoshi to the rescue, but Zanner sends out Elfie/Espeon to attack Satoshi.

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Satoshi counters with Pikachu’s electricity and runs off with Latias while Ariados and Elfie pursue.

They run through the town giving us that ‘flying’ shot, but it’s slightly helped by the inclusion of footsteps. It’s still way too smooth to be running, though.

Satoshi gets a bit lost, and Latias leads him back to Kasumi and Takeshi before mysteriously disappearing.

Satoshi reunites with Kasumi and Takeshi and they head off to some temple. Oh, it’s a temple and not a museum. I guess that makes more sense considering the only things I saw there were the two fossils and the machine.

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Zanner and Lion spy on them with their little robot and Lion says he won’t get away, which I guess means she doesn’t want to keep Latias and him apart like the dub said.

At the temple, Satoshi and the others see the fossils of Ptera/Aerodactyl and Kabutops. As expected with the different backstory, there’s no mention whatsoever about these two nearly destroying the city. In fact, they’re not even the only fossils at the temple supposedly. I’m not exactly sure why they’re there, but there ya go.

They’re brought to the machine and Takeshi says his pointless and confusing line about finding a girlfriend in the city all because he saw stained glass.

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As we cut to an outer shot, the old man explains that, in ancient times, the temple that they’re currently in and a neighboring building called the Sun Tower were built for Latias and Latios as an expression of the people’s gratitude for them saving the city. The machine was also seemingly built for the sake of peace, but no one knows how to operate it.

Satoshi sees what he thinks is the girl from before and takes chase. When he finally catches up, he asks the girl why she ran away but she just asks what he’s talking about and walks away.

The chase continues, but he gets lost and gives up right as they spot Latias, who drags them through town some more until they reach the portal.

They go through the portal, find themselves in a park and find Latias yet again, but Latios springs up out of the water and attacks Satoshi and Pikachu. The assault is halted by Latias, and Kanon/Bianca soon shows up to see what the fuss is about. Kanon hears Satoshi’s story about how he followed Latias into the park, but she finds it suspicious and sics Latios on him. He’s instantly stopped by Vongole/Lorenzo, however.

Everything’s sorted out and they start playing together, and we cut to Kanon and Vongole talking to Satoshi about how they protect the secret garden as a sanctuary for when Latios and Latias come to visit the island.

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Wait, that just raises more plot holes in the dub. The city was supposedly just a regular land-based city before the evil Trainer and his Kabutops and Aerodactyl attacked and then it became flooded with water that Latios delivered. Unless Latios made a damn OCEAN when it defeated Kabutops and Aerodactyl…in which case, why is Latios not a Water Pokemon?

They also explain that the Latios and Latias before them are indeed brother and sister with Latios being the older brother.

Latias steals Satoshi’s hat and playfully teases him while Latios starts sight sharing, called Dream Projection in the original (though, to be honest, sight sharing is a more logical name) before diving underwater.

After that’s over, we’re brought back to the secret garden where we catch the tail-end of the legend of Latios and Latias, and they solidify that these are not the same Latias and Latios from the legend nor are they the direct children of the one/ones responsible for it, they’re their ancestors.

They explain the stuff about the Heart Drop being used in conjunction with the device from before even stating that the many Latios and Latias helped them build it, which explains how it’s all magical and stuff.

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Satoshi is tasked with keeping the garden and the Heart Drop a secret, he agrees, and Latias and Latios try to play some more. He politely declines as he says he needs to get back to his friends, but promises to come back and play later.

They exit out of the door in Vongole’s gondola workshop while Zanner and Lion’s camera captures images of Latias and Latios in the garden, and Kanon escorts him to the Pokemon Center.

Meanwhile, back with Team Rocket, they see Zanner and Lion roof-hopping, try to follow them and fail. And thus ends their kinda-sorta-ish-maybe-a-little-okay-not-really subplot.

Zanner and Lion knock out Vongole again and break into the secret garden. Latios and Latias try to fight the intruders, but they ultimately fail. Latios is captured, but manages to help Latias escape.

Latios and Latias sound awful in both versions. In the dub, they have higher-pitched squeals, and in the original, Latias has a high-pitched squeal while Latios constantly sounds like he’s saying ‘Wha-hoo!’ It’s not unbearable but it is annoying and a little silly.

Zanner and Lion steal the Heart Drop, and Lion scans the tablets on the floor to figure out how to use the Heart Drop in conjunction with the machine. It’s here where we learn the not-stupid explanation of what happens later in the movie.

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The tablet warns that the Heart Drop should not be used for evil. If it is, the Heart Drop will be defiled and will vanish along with the island. It was a warning to the villagers stating that, as long as they’re responsible with the Heart Drop and the machine, their land will forever be protected, but if they decide to use the powers they’ve been given for evil nothing but destruction will follow.

Much better explanation than ‘Oh yeah, if the Soul Dew is used at all, or if it’s kept out of its water tank for more than 15 minutes, our protected land will be wiped out by a tidal wave caused by the thing we used to protect ourselves.’

I still say that the secret garden has the worst security measures ever. They don’t even have a lock on that entrance in Vongole’s workshop. Town-destroying jewel, the instructions on how to use it right next to it and two legendary Pokemon sitting right there and you can’t be arsed to buy a damn padlock. Does Altomare have no hardware store?

Zanner and Lion head to the temple to use the Heart Drop with the machine, Vongole and Kanon arrive only to get knocked out, and they start the machine.

Meanwhile, Latias goes back to Satoshi in the Pokemon Center, and Takeshi and Kasumi are made privy to the situation. Latios uses Dream Projection to show Latias, Satoshi, Takeshi and Kasumi what’s going on.

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Lion starts controlling the machine, revives the Ptera and Kabutops fossils to have them do her bidding, and sets up grates to block all exits and entrances, except, as I mentioned, the waterways, while Satoshi escapes the Pokemon Center with Pikachu before they’re trapped as well.

Satoshi grabs a boat and heads to the temple, but Ptera attacks them, destroying their boat and nearly drowning Satoshi. Latias saves him and they grab one of the boat things I still can’t identify to continue traveling.

Back with Takeshi and Kasumi, still trapped by the grates, they let out Crobat, Sunnygo/Corsola (Sunnygo?….That sounds really weird. And I keep thinking of Sunny D. I know it has actual meaning; the word Sunny mixed with sango (coral) but still, weird.) and Nyoromo/Politoed to help Satoshi.

Nyoromo has an incredibly cute and goofy Japanese voice, by the way.

They valiantly go off to help Satoshi, ashamed of the fact that their combined strength can supposedly not support the weight of Satoshi’s monster balls and belt. If only monster balls weren’t made of dark matter!

Kasumi and Takeshi’s Pokemon help Satoshi take down Kabutops and he heads back off towards the temple.

Lion, spying on them with the machine, realizes that Kabutops and Ptera failed, so she uses her waterbending to create a water spout that ensnares Latias and Satoshi. However, Latias uses her psychic powers to break the water.

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This results in the machine going haywire while Satoshi, Pikachu and Latias try to free Kanon, Vongole and Latios, meaning I get to watch Satoshi the human battering ram again! Hahaha! The entertainment value with this is endless.

They eventually get Latios out, and the machine shuts down. Everyone’s okay, even if Latios is worse for wear. Kasumi and Takeshi arrive because they exist, and Zanner retrieves the Heart Drop.

However, it’s completely tainted by evil and expels a huge burst of energy when she tries to remove it. Zanner and Lion both fall into the machine as it powers back up again and spins them right round baby. Right round. Like a record, baby. Right round round round.

The legend starts coming true as the water starts receding into a giant town-destroying tidal wave. Latias and Latios realize that they can’t depend on any of the other Latios and Latias who are around to come in and help, because that would just save the life of one of their kind and everything. The Celebi from movie 04, you are not. They head towards the wave and use their psychic power to disperse the water in a harmless manner across the town again.

Latios dies due to expending too much energy and bids farewell to Latias.

The effects of the machine start to disappear over the town, and Satoshi and the others head out into the water to find Latias. They find her being rescued by some Water Pokemon and are soon made aware of Latios’ fate.

Latias’ dream projection activates and Latios shows them his view of the clouds and the earth from space (or maybe it’s heaven now that I think about it) and Latios either makes a new Heart Drop or becomes one, it’s not entirely clear. In this version, the Latias and Latios who gave the initial Heart Drop just had one, no one died for it that I know of, but they keep saying ‘Latios’ to the new Heart Drop so *shrug*

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Satoshi and the others are leaving the city, so they bid farewell to Vongole. They want to say goodbye to Kanon as well, but she seems to have stepped out for a second. Also, this shot lends more credence to the theory that it was Latias in the end and not Kanon. There’s really no reason why Kanon/Bianca wouldn’t have responded when being called numerous times unless she was Latias and couldn’t speak. Not only that, but you’d think Kanon would hear that Satoshi and the others are leaving and ask out the window that they wait for a second while she gets the picture to give to Satoshi.

Satoshi and the others leave until they realize ‘Kanon’ is following them. They stop, she hands Satoshi a rolled up drawing, puts her mouth hole to his face and runs off.

Satoshi opens the paper to see a drawing of him and Pikachu and they depart from the island once again, seeing a bunch of Latias and Latios on their way out, segueing us into the end credits.

The end song in Japanese is ‘You Are Not Alone’ by coba & Kazufumi Miyazawa. I really like this song. It has a great melody, wonderful singing and the instruments being used fit in wonderfully with the setting. It’s probably my favorite Pokemon end theme so far, movie wise anyway.

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If I have one complaint, it’s that the opening is a little too peppy to really fit the tone of the final couple of shots. 4Kids’ little CD mashup may have been random, but they did purposely start off with a nice slow song.

During the end credits we see Zanner and Lion in prison, Vongole fixing up the machine or temple, Kanon drawing and Satoshi and the others traveling some more. The end.

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That was actually a lot better than the dub, mostly because it actually made sense. Who woulda thunk it?

I know I’ve mentioned that 4Kids, oddly enough, sometimes changes stuff to make it worse than it actually is to create drama and tension, but I still can’t get over the fact that their revised story involves so much death and murder.

Kabutops and Aerodactyl get forcibly drowned, probably alongside the unnamed evil Trainer, the citizens are left with the worry that their town will be destroyed and everyone will be killed if a ball accidentally dries out, and Latios from the legend dies while sacrificing himself for the town. The original story was perfectly fine and very sweet, yet they made it dark and nonsensical for no real reason.

Think about that. Let it sink in. The company that is so scared of death that it’s basically became a meme to replace ‘death’ with ‘the shadow realm’ or something, purposely added in much more death to the movie. I can’t even begin to comprehend that.

What I really find problematic is I cannot in any way justify why they changed it. The whole thing with Mewtwo way back when, they probably changed that just to make it a more clearcut struggle of good vs. evil. Can’t make Mewtwo too sympathetic until his redemption. Plus, they were really trying to shoehorn in a ‘violence is bad and we don’t condone it’ message to the parents of the world who were outraged at Pokemon for the violence and ‘cockfighting.’

However, I can’t understand why the original story wasn’t good enough. If it was really because the art style for the story part upset them for whatever reason, then it’s still not justified. They repeat the story without the special construction-paper animation, so they could just parrot the story without showing the opener. I see nothing wrong with any part of the original story to warrant changing so it’s really just boggling my mind.

It’s boggled even further by the fact that most of the movie besides that is left completely alone for the most part. Some minor changes, but nothing that major.

Bottomline: It’s much better than the dub…..but I’m still not all that into it.

I love Latias and Latios, and Kanon’s made to be more tolerable than Bianca. The story here actually makes sense, the death scene with Latios is on par with or better than the dub’s, and the town is probably the best location Pokemon has had to date. The music’s great and very fitting for the location, but the plot is still predictable from practically the first scene with the only real shock being Latios’ death.

The giant tidal wave, once the reasons for it happening are explained, is done in a way in that’s not out of the blue and dumb, and makes for a pretty good scene as well. I can better understand why this is Dogasu’s favorite Pokemon movie thusfar, but it’s still nothing terribly special to me.

Recommended Audience: I’ll actually lower the rating for the original merely on principle that 4Kids added death. 3+

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