SSBS – Beyblade Episode 3: Take it to the Max!

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen7

Plot: Tyson and Kenny meet the new kid, Max, who happens to be an ace Beyblader with a dad who owns a hobby shop with its own Beystadium. As Tyson tries to learn and train, they learn that there’s an exciting new Beyblading tournament coming up and they all want to enter.

Bey-Battles

Max (Draciel Metal Ball Defenser) vs. Tyson (Dragoon S)

Victor – Max

Breakdown: Tyson is training with his new Beyblade when it’s suddenly taken by a puppy named Sparky. After Sparky returns to his owner, a little girl, Tyson and Kenny meet the new kid in town, Max Tate. However, their introduction is interrupted when they hear the girl yelling out in panic as Sparky is whisked away by the river.

I have a few questions about this whole rescue. Where did that conveniently sized log even come from? How little attention was this girl giving Sparky to let him climb on a log and float away? Why is this river that quickly flows into an incredibly steep man-made waterfall not blocked off to the public? Tyson and the others hang out there all the time. Not only is the river not restricted, but kids can easily climb on top of the waterfall platforms with no gates, fences or even guardrails.

Tyson and Kenny try to save Sparky, but the current quickly gets too strong for them to even attempt going in. Just then, Tyson gets the idea to smack the log with his Beyblade so it will turn sideways and block off the top of the waterfall. I get that we have to incorporate Beyblades into basically every facet of every plot point, but if I saw a couple of kids trying to save my dog with Beyblades I think I’d smack them. I know they can’t do much else, but still.

Tyson’s shot was unable to turn the log and the blade lands on top of the waterfall. Max steps up and releases his Beyblade to help, but Tyson chastises him for doing the same thing he did when it failed. I don’t know why he’s upset. He already launched it, there’s no point in getting angry over it. Max doesn’t even do the same shot – he launches his Beyblade to Dragoon’s location and smacks it to the proper angle, successfully shifting the log’s position and stopping Sparky.

With Sparky safely back with his owner, Tyson applauds Max for his Beyblading skills and they become quick friends. However, he’s slightly concerned over his Beyblade for being sunk in the water after that last shot. Max suggests taking it to his father’s hobby shop to get it looked at.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen1

After getting a clean bill of health on his Beyblade from Mr. Tate, he asks if Max wants to have a friendly Beybattle with him so he can teach him that shot that saved the puppy and he agrees. Max brings them down to the basement where he reveals that his father’s shop actually has it’s own Beystadium and even a few pieces of training equipment like a smaller Beystadium and a…..ramp with spikes—what?

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen3

Kenny has concerns, however, so he pulls Tyson aside to talk to him. He says he probably shouldn’t let Max train him because his shot seemed suspiciously good. Max is obviously a very skilled Beyblader, but finds it a bit too much of a coincidence to suddenly meet this skilled Beyblader with his own Beystadium right at the perfect time to save that dog…..Uhh…The dog was in trouble after Max started to introduce himself to them, so unless Kenny’s insinuating that Max was the cause of that accident, Kenny is a bit paranoid. Tyson just believes he’s being jealous and moves on with the match.

Kenny notices that Max uses an Easy Grip launcher, which improves accuracy without sacrificing spin, and the match begins. Dragoon is making some nice hits, but Max’s blade stays firmly in place. Max praises Tyson’s rotation, but Tyson points out that sitting there won’t help him win. Kenny, on the other hand, has news for Tyson. Max’s blade, the Draciel Metal Ball Defenser, is a special defense-focused blade. Despite it seeming like Tyson is way ahead, he’s actually doing no damage. Tyson’s not giving up so easily and changes up his strategy to pushing Draciel out of the wok instead, which he nearly succeeds in doing before Dragoon runs out of energy and falls.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen2

Max is the winner, leaving Tyson upset that he doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Max tries to teach him that patience is the key to improving – one match won’t improve much of anything. Uhh, I thought the first scene implied that Tyson’s actually been doing quite a bit of training. Kenny agrees, which makes this even more confusing because he’s been the one training Tyson all this time.

I would understand if it was the shot that Tyson missed because that was a new issue that was brought up, but despite talking about teaching Tyson the shot, there was no mention of it during the match and it wasn’t implied to be the problem afterward. He just got overconfident in the power of Dragoon and overestimated its lasting power.

Max suggests training with him for a while, promising to teach him all sorts of secrets and techniques for accuracy and power. Tyson agrees, but before they can start another Beybattle, a man walks in and greets Mr. Tate. He introduces him as Stanley A. Dickenson, the chairman of the BBA, the Beyblade Battle Association. Kenny gushes over Mr. Dickenson, proclaiming him to the most important man in the sport of Beyblading. He promotes and trains up and coming Beybladers to make them some of the most skilled players in the game.

Mr. Dickenson is a family friend of the Tates, and he has come both to check out Mr. Tate’s new store and to let him be the first to learn of the new Beyblade Battle Tournament that the BBA is hosting. They all get excited over it, but Tyson quickly gets worried, stating that a tournament this major is sure to bring out Kai. Mr. Dickenson says Kai’s actually already entered……Wait, he specifically said he wanted them to be the first to know of this tournament yet not only does Kai know, he’s already signed up?

Mr. Dickenson praises Kai as a Beyblader and reveals that he’s actually the returning champion. Despite the worries, they all get amped up for the challenge and go back to training.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen4

We cut to Kai who is also doing some training of his own. He’s trying to increase Dranzer’s lasting power. When he hears that Dranzer’s been spinning for over ten minutes, he implements a new phase of training, which is taking on three of his lackeys at once with the same still spinning blade. They start the match, but it’s over within a few seconds as all of their Beyblades are quickly knocked out of the arena. Even after the battle is over, Dranzer is still spinning strong. We get some slight insight into Kai who thinks to himself ‘That’s why I’m the champion….whether I like it or not.’

Back with Tyson and Kenny, who have returned to the dojo after from some intense training with Max, Kenny apologizes for what he said about Max and admits he was jealous. Tyson and him make up before analyzing Dragoon for some tweaks.

The truce lasts about a minute before Tyson gets all pissy about having to do actual planning, thinking and analysis to become a tournament class Beyblader. He says he’s gotten to where he is today without all of that boring stuff, but Kenny argues that it’s necessary in order to control the power of Dragoon. Tyson then gets personal and says Kenny’s only good at building Beyblades but sucks at actually using one, and he’s also so inept at controlling his own bit beast that he trapped her in a computer. Tyson realizes he’s gone too far too late and Kenny leaves.

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I don’t even know why Tyson got so pissed there. I can understand him having a tantrum over having to do technical work but going that far when he knows full well that Kenny has been invaluable to his victories since he met him? And that he’s been a great asset in his overall training? Kenny’s been so valuable that he’s been kidnapped for his knowledge.

Kenny and Max has a bit of a heart to heart by the river and Max asks Kenny to get Tyson and meet him later.

Back with Tyson, he’s training in kendo with his grandpa, who, coincidentally, is basically mirroring his match with Max. Grandpa is taking a defensive stance, and Tyson’s continuous swings are useless against it. He says he has to be good at analyzing his moves and predicting them in order to succeed in battle, which Tyson connects to what Kenny was trying to tell him earlier.

Grandpa suddenly starts moving so quickly back and forth that he’s basically learned anime!Double Team from Pokemon. Tyson realizes that the way to combat this is by studying where Grandpa was and is in order to predict where he’ll be next. Then, with proper timing, he’ll be able to strike the real one.

Tyson’s attack actually fails, which I like because it emphasizes the other lesson about needing to practice new moves instead of learning them immediately.

Later, Tyson has some quiet reflection in the dojo, thinking that Kai’s strength is in balance while Max’s is in defense. If he can figure out strategies to combat both, he’ll be the new champ—uh, dude. No. That will help immensely, but you do realize that there will be many, many, many other very skilled Beybladers at this tournament, right? In order to truly be effective, you’ll need to learn how to quickly adapt, study your opponent’s moves for strengths and weaknesses and use both of those aspects to your advantage.

Kenny arrives at the dojo and spies through the window for a second to see Tyson start training. He puts some spin on his wrist as he launches Dragoon, and his Beyblade speeds off like a blur, leaving burn marks in the floor and shooting it through the wooden wall of the dojo, embedding it in another stone wall. Tyson rejoices that he’s finally mastered controlling Dragoon’s power. Uh….so you worry about your Beyblade when it’s submerged for a few minutes, but not when it’s crashed through a wooden wall and embedded itself in a rock wall?

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen6

As Kenny updates his stats and devises new strategies for Tyson, Tyson apologizes for what he said and the two make up, ready to take on the tournament together.

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I liked this episode, but mostly due to Max. Ray used to be my favorite character, but Max has gained a larger appreciation to me over the years. He has such a great attitude, awesome strategy, and I love his Beyblade. Plus, his backstory always seemed a bit more interesting to me than Ray’s. Truth be told, I think I used to be biased with Ray because I had a bit of a crush on him.

Tyson ruins this episode slightly to me because he has a little more ego than usual and he’s being a complete ass to Kenny for no reason other than ‘waaah, thinking!’

Some plot threads don’t mesh together like the log shot that Max just never taught Tyson, what connection the Double Team-ish move had to do with any of Tyson’s past matches, unless that was purely meant to give Tyson a niche (speed?) and I don’t see how him watching his grandpa do that automagically allowed him to control Dragoon.

Next episode, the qualifier for the tournament begins.

…..Previous Episode


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Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 06 (Sub) Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: The Wishing Star of Seven Nights: Jirachi Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A former member of Team Magma, Butler, wants to use the legendary Pokemon, Jirachi’s, power to absorb energy from the Millennium Comet in order to power a machine to revive a Groudon from a fossil. Jirachi selects young Masato/Max as his partner to protect him in the seven days he has awake while the Millennium Comet is visible from earth. It’s up to Masato, Satoshi/Ash, Haruka/May and Takeshi/Brock to keep Jirachi away from Butler and return him back home.

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Jeez, long-ass title there, Japan.

That is the best Japanese poster I have seen for the movies so far. It’s reverting back to a bit cluttered, and Jirachi kinda looks pudgy for whatever reason, but everything else looks fantastic. I like the nice touch of having Jirachi’s true eye cracking open.

I’m pretty excited but a little worried for this review. Dogasu said the script suffered from quite a few changes, though the comparison is pretty short. I really liked the dubbed movie, but will the subbed version make me rethink my opinion?

15 Minute Mark

Sadly, I’m working from the English visual track (widescreen somehow, guess they must’ve re-released it) with the Japanese audio, so I can’t compare the title screens.

Ah, I never noticed that the guy in the van at the end credits is part of the festival. He never has a big role in the movie outside of selling Haruka her wishing star but that’s a little interesting.

I find it weird that Kirlia got a voice change despite keeping the same name between versions and them both saying that same name.

Speaking of voice changes, Butler’s original voice is so much better. Suave and deep.

Butler commands Samayouru/Dusclops to do Will o’ The Wisp. In the dub, he says ‘Kappitata’ or something like that. It’s weird because this attack is the same thing in the English version. Maybe they wanted it to be triggered by a ‘magic word’ for whatever reason.

Half-Hour Mark

The whole thing about Jirachi needing a friend to emerge isn’t quite right. When Jirachi is about to emerge, he chooses a kind-hearted young boy as his partner to help protect him over the time that it is active. In a way, it’s a chosen duty or honor for this boy (no idea why it specifically has to be a boy…) not that simply Jirachi wants or needs a buddy or is designated as a ‘wish maker’.

The way it’s worded in the original also adds more weight because being Jirachi’s partner technically means that it’s Masato’s Pokemon, like how Satoshi considers Pikachu his partner, making Masato extra happy because that means he has a Pokemon of his own now. In the dub, their being labeled as friends changes the dynamic just enough to not hold as much weight.

Haruka says she’s not quite sure about the ‘kind-hearted’ part, and Masato gets defensive, saying that Jirachi just understands him better. May feels like Max is going crazy for hearing voices and talking to a rock. Max gets even more defensive and says May’s just jealous because Jirachi wants to be friends with him and not her.

This changes the later scene when May tries to touch the rock. It goes from Max teasing her about wanting to touch the rock when she said it was crazy to be friends with a rock to Masato teasing that he supposedly was too un-kind to let her touch it.

The wishing star that May bought was originally the ‘wish-maker.’ I wouldn’t have brought up, really, but the fact that the title of the dub is ‘wish-maker’ and this is the first I’ve heard of that phrase in the original (Jirachi didn’t say it to Masato when he was talking to him earlier) makes me wonder.

I refrained from mentioning this in the other review, but the guy with the van I mentioned, the one scene in which he has a speaking role is here (where he sells Haruka the wish-maker) and he sounds normal in the original but very ‘bad guy’-ish in the dub.

Masato isn’t being quite as creepy as Max was with the rock. He asks to hear Jirachi’s voice again and that’s why he ‘snuggles’ the rock. Max says they’ll be best friends and then hugs the rock.

The thing about transporting Haruka makes more sense in the original. She merely says to return everything to where it came from, which Jirachi takes as meaning he should put Haruka back in the pile of candy from which she emerged. I don’t know why 4Kids changed this bit to something that made no sense—Oh wait, 4Kids. Default setting – Make no sense.

Oddly enough, there’s actually a reference to the movie’s short. Nyasu’s/Meowth’s original dialogue says that they should use Jirachi to wish for a new base that won’t be broken or danced on. This is in reference to the fact that Team Rocket’s new base was destroyed due to the magic dance wand thing in Gotta Dance. This is the first time I believe the show/movie has ever mentioned anything from the shorts. Kinda neat, actually.

Takeshi says that if Jirachi and Absol are friends, then it makes sense to teleport Achamo/Torchic and Pikachu out to avoid the fighting. Brock says it’s unlikely that the two know each other since Jirachi’s been asleep for 1000 years.

45 Minute Mark

The land that Jirachi originates from is called Faunz not Forina.

Butler doesn’t say that he’s doing this for Diane, which of course we know he isn’t anyway, he’s doing it purely for revenge and his own pride. He just pleads with her to understand why he needs to do this.

Takeshi says Groudon’s power is the ability to create land, not just that he has ‘incredible power.’

Okay, now we’re at a point where the original makes no sense. Diane says that part of the necessary procedure for awakening Jirachi is to find the young boy that Jirachi wants to be his partner. Thus, Butler has been putting on a slue of magic shows in search of that boy.

But surely Jirachi wouldn’t contact his partner before the day of the comet’s arrival? Unless he would and some boy would have to be friends with a rock for days, weeks, months, years, possibly decades just to get to the comet’s arrival, and that’s if the kid is lucky enough to be born within a decent time frame of the comet’s arrival.

What would Butler have done if he found the right kid like last year? Stalked or kidnapped the kid for a year until he can awaken Jirachi?

This conversation is omitted from the dub in lieu of more explanation of the comet’s energy and Jirachi’s ability to absorb it.

And now we’re bridging a gap I had in the dub. I never understood why Butler, who seemed to have great aspirations of being a magician, became a scientist for Team Magma. In the original’s flashback to Diane and Butler as kids, she says he loved inventing things that surprised people, which culminated in magic tricks when they were kids and his attempt at making a Groudon revival machine as an adult.

I believe his desire to put on a show for people, impress them, resulted in a big ego for Butler, and his pride as a showman was greatly damaged when he was humiliated by Team Magma after his failure.

It’s mostly implications and theorizing, but it’s something to ponder.

Okay, I’m going to talk about Team Rocket because I just don’t have much to discuss at the moment. Team Rocket is after Jirachi too. They’ve been following the group this whole time supposedly waiting for the right time to snatch Jirachi. While I’m glad they never try because, in all honestly, one Team Rocket snatch job is more than enough for most episodes and seriously isn’t needed in the movies, the fact of the matter is…..just that – they never try.

The group is on this trip for four days and they are completely unguarded save for Satoshi and the gang. Butler snatched Jirachi right from Masato’s arms offscreen even, while Takeshi, Satoshi and Pikachu were all asleep within two feet of each other. Why aren’t they making any effort to take Jirachi?

They have at least three opportunities to do that at night while everyone’s sleeping and they just sit there doing nothing. They, both sub and dub, even say at a point that they have the perfect opportunity, yet still nothing. Their desire to catch Jirachi is only there to keep them on screen because they’re a crowd favorite in America and Japan.

Hour Mark

Got nothing particularly note-worthy here.

End Mark

Butler originally tells the boys that he’s sorry for what he’s done when he’s being absorbed. In the dub, he said at least he’d get to be with Diane. I prefer the original’s because I think we needed a moment where he actually said outright that he was sorry for what he’d done. Knowing that he loves Diane and wants to save her only goes so far, ya know?

Jirachi just says he loves Masato, he loves everyone and that they’re all friends. The group assures this. In the dub, this was the stuff with Max being the one to grant Jirachi’s wish of having a friend.

Oh God, Takeshi’s Japanese VA is just as bored-sounding when he’s singing this song!

Oh okay, so Diane and Butler actually had a reason for staying in Faunz beyond ‘as long as we’re together.’ Butler and Diane want to help restore the land that was damaged from the clone Groudon’s attacks. They also plan on studying the plant life.

The ending song is the same between versions except that it’s, obviously, 100% Japanese instead of half Japanese half English. I like both versions equally.

Bottomline: The script wasn’t changed too much for the dub. I really stretched for some of my notes here, but yes the script for the original is better than the dub’s. Some things that were nagging me were explained, such as Masato’s actual role here and why Butler and Diane were staying in Faunz. We still get no explanation as to why Groudon turned out that way, but I guess we can just chalk it up to an experiment gone wrong.

The dialogue’s better and really shows how much wording can help a script, the voices are better, and, oh yeah, there aren’t any jarring edits. At least they didn’t really change the story or lore, but the minor changes to the script can still have lasting impacts.

The only thing I would call major is the fact that the ‘wish-maker’ thing doesn’t exist. The only ‘wish-maker’ in the original is Haruka’s charm thing. The dub kinda leads you to believe that Max is chosen as a ‘wish-maker,’ kinda like Jirachi’s a genie and Max is his master. It doesn’t come up much, but it does pop up a few times and is the name of the movie.

The ending song, while still having a bored-sounding Takeshi, was also a bit less silly to listen to, making the ending more emotionally connecting.

4Kids missed the mark a bit here, but it is by far not their worst efforts. I still really wanna slap whoever thought it was okay to release the movie with incredibly obvious and annoying screen jumps.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone!

Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 06 (Dub) Jirachi – Wish Maker Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Every 1000 years, the Millennium Comet is visible from earth for seven days. Ash, May, Brock and Max take a break from their Pokemon journey to visit a festival meant to celebrate the Millennium Comet. While enjoying a magic show, they meet the Great Butler and his assistant, Diane, who give Max a crystal that contains the wish-granting legendary Pokemon, Jirachi, as he’s the one Jirachi has chosen to befriend in order to emerge from his slumber.

They become fast friends, but it soon becomes apparent that Butler had malicious motives for giving Jirachi to Max. He wants to use Jirachi and the comet to power a machine that will clone a Groudon as revenge against Team Magma.

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I don’t really know if there’s anything I can say here. Like I said in my Gotta Dance review, I only caught this movie on TV once or twice. I really wasn’t keen on getting into it for a few reasons:

1) I was still salty about Misty leaving.

2) This movie’s main character is Max. I am not a fan of Max.

3) Despite liking him, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jirachi.

I still watched it when it aired on Cartoon Network, and I didn’t remember entirely all that happens. I was either watching something else while watching that movie the first time or I just wasn’t paying proper attention. I don’t have much else to say about my previous experience with this movie beyond that.

The poster is really good yet again. I have to wonder why only the starters and Pikachu are on it, but it’s nothing major. Looks fantastic otherwise.

Bulbagarden’s comparison of the movie can be found here.

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Since Misty is now gone, we need to make a new ‘World of Pokemon’ opener, but this one’s a bit different….and awesome.

This ‘World of Pokemon’ opener moreso focuses on the legendaries and the Pokemon lore as a whole. The thing that’s really cool about it, though, is the fact that they showcase each of the legendaries that have been spotlighted in all of the previous movies and in the TV show. They even show Ho-Oh first because technically that was the first ever legendary to appear in the show.

Mewtwo follows, and he’s wearing a huge scarf for some reason, then we get Lugia, Entei, Celebi, Latias and Latios (though it must be a different Latios) and Kyogre….who must’ve appeared in the show before this I guess. Each of their shots are extremely cool, too. Entei’s and Lugia’s in particular look amazing.

Cut to a Pokemon battle in a stadium and – oh my god, those are different Pokeballs!

Man, it’s so rare to see different Pokeballs in this show. What’s that black one? It’s awesome!…..Wow, I think this is the most excited I’ve gotten during any of these movie reviews and I’m only at the ‘World of Pokemon’ opener. Hopefully this is a good omen.

Anyway, we – oh my god, the person throwing them is Ruby!

I’m so unreasonably happy right now!

The narrator continues on saying that Pokemon are sometimes used in battles alongside Pokemon Trainers, and Pokemon and humans live together in peace and harmony. However, there are some evil people who want to use the strongest Pokemon for their own malicious means, such as Team Magma’s pursuit of Groudon.

Cut to a cave where two people find a big crystal that supposedly holds the key to granting their strongest desire.

Now we’re with Ash and friends, further explaining their stories. Well, Ash’s dream of being a Pokemon Master anyway. The narrator doesn’t even bless the others with names just ‘friends with hopes and dreams of their own.’

Also, you think I’m joking when I call him Messiahchu?

Since when is Pikachu so fast that he doesn’t break surface tension? I don’t even think he’s using Agility!

The narration keeps going with basically saying dreams are great, but be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Obvious moral is obvious.

We get our title screen and…..really good CGI?…..What the hell were the good CGI guys doing when Gotta Dance was being made?

Ash and the others are walking around in the middle of the night looking for some festival that is meant to celebrate the Millennium Comet, a huge event since the comet only appears for seven nights once every 1000 years.

They reach the location where the festival is supposed to be, but find it to be a completely empty field. They take a break to eat and soon after fall asleep when they’re awoken by the festival workers setting up.

The credits are playing over this…..

But….but…..but what about the theme song? They started not including the theme songs in the movies? That’s a sin or something isn’t it? Outside of the awesome World of Pokemon opener, it makes the opening really lackluster.

Wow, even the CGI trucks look really good….Seriously, where the hell were you animators in the short?

We see our main CotM and antagonists, basically, Butler the magician and his assistant, Diane, using cute tricks with balloons to make crates and tents suddenly appear and assemble. The place ends up looking good, but I don’t think that assembly montage was ‘opener-worthy.’

Cut to the daytime where Ash, May, Max and Brock are having fun at the festival and we see Team Rocket throwing fliers for the Great Butler’s magic show. Way to litter, guys. I really never understood why people thought that was a good way to advertise. Yes, it’s exposure but it’s also really annoying.

Ash and the others find one on the ground and decide to go to his show.

Dogasu’s comparison makes a note about this poster. There’s Japanese text at the bottom of the title that is basically the exact Japanese translation of the English words, The Great Butler’s Magic Show. In the dub, they erase this text, which isn’t anything new by far. This is 4Kids. However, it is a new thing for the movies, because, outside of titles and credits, the text has been left alone in the movies.

They explain how this paint edit in particular is dumb because they left half the Japanese theme song to this movie completely untranslated, which is very much a rarity for them. They also have the full Japanese song and the Japanese title card available on the DVD, so it’s yet another ‘missing the forest for the trees’ moment for 4Kids. Maybe they’re just so used to removing this stuff that they did it on instinct.

What I’m more focused on is the sloppiness of this edit. If there’s one thing I can always (backhandedly) compliment 4Kids for is that, when it comes to the editing involved in their changes, they’re pretty good about whitewashing nearly every trace of the fact that they changed it.

While their text replacements leave much to be desired most of the time, they’re pretty good when it comes to removals. They’re so good that there have been numerous times when I’ve tried to catch a screencap of the painted shot and it just goes by so quickly that it’s either incredibly difficult or close to impossible to get the shot.

What they do may be stupid, but they did get pretty damn good at it – Usually, anyway.

Nelvana and DiC also do similar edits sometimes and they suck at it for the most part. I remember those edits that Cartoon Network would make on Yu Yu Hakusho to censor blood and middle fingers and they were horrible at it. Colors never matched, the paint would shake in a very distracting manner, and it just looked awful.

I can think of several instances where their paint and editing is off, but 4Kids was basically the best in the business at what they did. I’ve probably missed minute details that they’ve edited away in my SDCs simply because I don’t have hawk eyes or the patience to go through episodes frame by frame.

The shots of Team Rocket throwing the fliers is perfect. You can’t tell a single thing was changed. Then when they show a close up shot of one of the fliers on the ground, there’s one frame that they neglected to change.

What’s worse is that, in addition to erasing the text, they seem to have moved the shot a bit, making the screen jump when it cuts to that shot.

This is the frame they neglected to paint:

This is the frame post-paint:

Granted, their ‘after’ shot is a little better because they made the G visible, but that’s still no excuse. This is such sloppy editing from 4Kids that I’d actually say I’m disappointed in them. They rarely ever miss frames, and editing mistakes that make the screen jump are a once-in-a-blue-moon deal with them.

The reason I brought up Team Rocket throwing the painted fliers is the fact that those are numerous, much smaller posters being thrown through the air. Meaning you have way more things to paint that are constantly moving and changing angles. That’s a very hard and time consuming paint edit that they did perfectly.

This is a mostly static shot, up close. There’s no reason for this. For shame 4Kids’ editing staff. For shame.

….Last thing about this poster, I promise…..Shouldn’t it be ‘Welcome to THE Great Butler’s Magic Show?’

Cut to the magic show where magic happens. Butler is wowing the audience with his magic and he makes Diane and the stone they found earlier in the cave appear in a puff of fire and smoke. The stone is CGI, and, on its own, it looks fantastic. Diane is traditionally animated…So yeah, it looks wonky when they try to meld the two in one shot and make the CGI move with the regular animation. It just doesn’t look right.

Max starts hearing a voice emanating from the stone talking about wishes and the comet, so he rushes the stage like a crazy person. Ash tries to bring him back to his seat, but Butler and Diane decide to use them as volunteers in their act.

I’m gonna stop right there and explain why I don’t like the fact that Max is technically the protagonist of this movie.

I don’t much care for Max as a character. I find him to be a little annoying know-it-all. He does love Pokemon, yes, and he definitely has a passion for training. But the fact of the matter is that he’s annoying to me because of his attitude and the vibe he gives off. Even his voice irks me.

There’s also little point in him being there. On the episodes that do follow him, they mostly just focus on the bare basics in terms of the spirit and technical aspects of Pokemon Training, which makes sense considering Max is too young to be a Trainer, but it’s boring to watch unless you’re just that new to the franchise.

If it is to help welcome newbies who may be getting in on the new generation….We have May for that don’t we? Isn’t she supposed to fill the newbie role? I know she becomes a Coordinator later, but my point still stands. Plus, he seems to be pretty booksmart in regards to Pokemon, so it’s a little contradictory.

Other than that, his episodes mostly center around his childishness, which also makes sense because child, but that doesn’t make it any better to watch.

Speaking of not being a Trainer….Max isn’t a Trainer. Or anything else, for that matter. Thus what he does is essentially nothing in episodes that don’t center around him. He basically takes a seat as yet another Ash companion who is there to be there and not much else.

I guess I understand why Max is the main character in this movie, because it’s cuter to have a younger kid being best friends with a cute Pokemon over the older kids. Plus, the other kids have Pokemon they treasure and Max doesn’t get to actually ‘have’ a Pokemon often.

Still, couldn’t they have just as easily used a new CotM? They did it in Movie 04. Max will be gone from the franchise entirely in….what, two or three years? And I will say it makes me stew a bit that who I consider to be the second most useless Ash companion (three guesses who the first is) gets a movie to himself, but Brock and Misty never did, and this really never happens again as Ash or a CotM takes over in practically every other movie.

I won’t say Max doesn’t grow over time. He does mature and gets slightly less annoying to my recollection. However, we will never see the fruits of this labor. The last we see of Max is him back at his dad’s Gym still working on becoming a Trainer some day, and I will bet everything I own that we will never see that day.

He’s barely made a cameo since his departure, and in order to actually see him as a legit Trainer, we’d need to hop ahead three years to make him ten, and Pokemon just doesn’t age people. They may change their character designs a bit, but no aging. Worse yet is the horrible idea of making Ash 13! *gasp*

If anything, Ash has been de-aged recently with the new character designs.

I don’t remember him being quite a big annoyance in this movie, but I’m still not looking forward to an hour and a half of Max spotlight.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Ash and Max are set to perform the trick of ‘the burning box’ which requires them to escape from a box before it bursts into flames. May bitches about not being in the show and Brock does the same because he wants some of Diane’s booty.

They start the trick and decide to make it more interesting by, instead of using flames, using a Dusclops’ Hyper Beam to destroy the box.

Meowth: “They’re stuck in a dark place with impending doom and no way out. That sounds like my life.”

Wow, that’s…kind of dark, 4Kids.

The Hyper Beam goes off and the bottom of the box falls out at the last second, sending Max and Ash under the stage. The Hyper Beam looks weird in this movie. It charges blue and then looks like fire when shot instead of the yellow beam we know and love.

They continue to ride under the auditorium and pop up back in the audience.

As they take the applause, Team Rocket ditch their clown outfits and nab Pikachu as well as Butler and Diane’s Mightyena and Kirlia.

Butler defeats them with Dusclops, Pikachu lends a hand and Dusclops sends them blasting off.

Once the show concludes, Butler tells them that the rock is housing the sleeping wish-granting legendary Pokemon, Jirachi. He only awakens once every 1000 years, and in order to awaken he needs two things; 1) The Millennium Comet needs to be visible and 2) He needs to find a friend.

We’ll be right back with Care Bears: Wish Maker in a moment, but wow that is some crazy coinky-dink. Jirachi can only be awoken when the Millennium Comet comes around, which it only does once per 1000 years. How convenient that they happened to find it right as the comet’s set to come in that very night.

They realize that Max is the one Jirachi has chosen to be its friend, and additionally his ‘wish-maker’ if what Jirachi said earlier is any indication….No criteria needed, it probably could’ve talked to anyone or everyone in the audience, but there ya go. Butler hands the rock over to Max since he has the best chance of awakening Jirachi.

Later that night, Ash and the others enjoy the festival some more. May decides to buy a wishing star, which looks kinda like a dreamcatcher. The cashier says that the wishing star is a neat little contraption with which you use in conjunction with the seven days of the comet. On each day of the comet, you fold down one of the points and make a wish. When the final day is done, your wish will come true.

They watch the fireworks and, of course, there’s a Pikachu one and, of course, it’s the biggest one.

They also show a Psyduck, Treecko, Lotad, Torchic, Beautifly and Mudkip…..wow, that was just a big collection of random Pokemon Ash and his friends have owned. Huh.

Can I take the time out to step back and show how crazy Max seems right now?

He’s hearing voices only he can hear and he’s carrying around a rock, cuddling it and treating it like it’s alive. I, you and the Ash gang know or believe there’s a Pokemon in there….but no one else does! I’m surprised more people aren’t staring at the kid giving hugs to the giant purple rock. I can’t be the only one who thinks it’d be funny if it ended up to be just Butler yanking the kid’s chain or Ash and the others humoring him until the guys in white show up to take Max away.

How is Max dealing with lugging that rock around this whole time, anyway? It’s really quite big to be carrying around like a teddy bear.

They see the Millennium Comet, May makes her wish and Max falls asleep. May pats his head and Max mutters for his mommy. Aw. That is kinda cute.

May starts… I suppose I’ll call it humming even though she’s moreso going ‘doodododdodododo’ Another note Dogasu made here was that they left in May/Haruka’s original Japanese voice for this song……which I find baffling. Is Veronica Taylor really that bad at singing that she can’t pull off a ‘doodododododdooododo’ song in her female voice? I’m not really complaining, I’m just curious.

May explains that the song is a lullaby their mother would ‘sing’ to them, and as she ‘sings,’ the rock glows and we cut to the woods where a green light is flowing through everything. It looks exactly like Celebi’s time travel effects. An Absol sees this and runs towards the rock.

Jirachi emerges, and I will say that Jirachi is very cute…..Not as cute as Mew, maybe on par with Celebi. They also selected an equally cute voice for the little guy.

Diane arrives somehow knowing what happened and tells the kids they can sleep in their bus for the night. Remember kids, if a carny you barely know says you can sleep in their bus, it’s A-Okay!

Diane then runs off to tell Butler, who happily receives the news, revealing that he has big plans for the little star—Evil plans! Muahahahaha!! He doesn’t have the voice to pull this off but MUAHAHAHAHAH!

Back with the kids, Max wants to test out Jirachi’s wish-granting powers. So, being a kid, he wishes for a bunch of candy.

Jirachi’s tags glow and he floats up in the air, but nothing happens.

Max: “There’s no such thing as someone being able to grant wishes! I knew it!”

See, this is the kind of crap that makes me dislike this kid. Also, when the hell did you ever say that? You’ve been believing each and every thing about this situation since the instant you heard Jirachi’s voice. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have snuggled with a rock for the past six hours. Little brat.

Jirachi’s wish-granting abilities start working and candy starts popping up all over the bus. I don’t know when crackers and cheese became candy…..but I like cheese, so I’ll allow this.

However, it seems that Jirachi works on the laws of equivalent exchange because we then cut to the vendors at the festival having their candy and foodstuffs disappearing.

Once Max’s wish has been granted, the others fight over who gets the next wish, even going so far as to play tug-of-war with poor Jirachi until they burst out the back door of the bus.

Diane and Butler arrive and explain that Jirachi grants wishes, but the hitch is, like I said, he really just teleports things that you wish for. He doesn’t make them from thin air…..So….Jirachi’s a kidnapping and theft machine. Kinda takes away from the mysticism of this legendary doesn’t it? That also means there’s a ton of wishes you simply can’t make because of this fine print. This is the least impressive legendary ever.

At least they’re giving rules and restrictions to how this magic works, which is more than I can say for a lot of magic things in kid shows….but when something is a wish-granting machine, you kinda just accept that it grants wishes. The fact that it simply steals things makes him a really lame legendary…that you’d probably get arrested for using.

May flips her lid after discovering what Jirachi did and demands him to ‘get rid of the problem’ which prompts Jirachi to transport May into the pile of candy. I uh….don’t get it? May’s the problem? Because she’s yelling? Or did Max find her to be the problem at the moment and Jirachi was only obeying him? I dunno. Also, how does putting her mere feet away into the candy pile ‘solve the problem’?

Jirachi, exhausted from ‘granting wishes’ goes to sleep, but Butler assures Max that he won’t return to hibernation until the comet leaves at the end of the week. Meanwhile, the kids are doomed to bringing back the candy themselves.

The next morning, Max and Jirachi go off to play while Ash and the others prepare for the show. Apparently, Ash and Brock are clowns now while May’s a stagehand.

Jirachi starts causing trouble as it steals Max’s glasses and coaxes him to chase him while Max tries to help May stop a big lighting tower from falling over. The tower falls on May, causing a mess and she blames Jirachi, even if that was equal parts Jirachi and Max’s fault. Max could’ve stayed and still helped. He doesn’t need his glasses to push a tower up.

Max gets his glasses back and, surprisingly, isn’t mad at Jirachi for nearly causing severe harm to his sister. The Absol from earlier appears and starts attacking Max. Butler notes that Absol only appears in front of humans when a great tragedy is about to occur.

May tries to stave off Absol with Torchic, but has no effect. Ash tries Pikachu and does a little more, but still doesn’t faze Absol much. Jirachi says Absol is there for him and he uses his teleportation powers to teleport Pikachu and Torchic to the roof of the tent.

Absol suddenly directs his attention to Ash and the others and charges toward them. However, Butler triggers a trap door in the stage that sends Absol to a cage and puts him to sleep using Kirlia’s Hypnosis.

Jirachi then falls asleep again for some reason. He sleeps for 1000 years at a time. Does he really need to nod off after doing the littlest thing?

The second night is over, we can hear Jirachi snoring in his sleep through telepathy somehow, and May heads out to use her wishing star again. When she’s done, she spots Butler walking away from the bus where the kids are sleeping. He’s kidnapped Jirachi and put him in a weird device he has in his stage. Diane tells Butler that Absol is trying to bring Jirachi back to Forina, the land in which he originated, and that they should let him go back to where he belongs, but Butler ignores her.

He activates the machine, which causes Jirachi pain, and claims that when Jirachi sees the comet with his ‘true eye’ his ultimate wish will come true.

He holds up a glass container with a fossil inside of it and we get a flashback. Butler used to work for Team Magma as a scientist. He was presenting the council of Team Magma with the fossil, which was from a Groudon, claiming that he would create an actual Groudon from the fossil before their eyes.

He fails, claiming he needs a better power source, and is fired from Team Magma as a result. He reclaimed his fossil and vowed that he would make a real Groudon no matter what. Not sure the organization who is obsessed with Groudon would just let him take a Groudon fossil, but okay.

The flashback ends and Butler prepares the machine. He forces Jirachi into opening his true eye with Dusclops’ Psychic, and a beam of light bursts from the eye towards the comet only to return and crash into the stage.

Max and the others arrive and try to protect the wounded Jirachi. Diane pleads with Butler to stop, but he claims he’s doing it for her. She says she doesn’t want this, and Butler shoves Diane out of the way to get Jirachi before Max escapes with him.

The gang escapes. Before Butler can pursue them, Absol escapes from his cage, attacks them and runs off.

They continue to escape in Butler’s bus, and Mightyena somehow catches up and places a tracker on it.

Diane explains Butler’s backstory again and we actually hear Butler’s legit evil laugh which itself is laughable.

May: “Groudon?”

Brock: “Isn’t that the legendary Pokemon rumored to incredible powers?”

No no, it’s the one legendary Pokemon on planet earth that does not have incredible powers. Oh wait, no, that’s Jirachi!

The only thing we really get from this that we may not have already known is that it’s not Jirachi’s power that Butler is using. Jirachi’s merely used as a channel to take power from the comet and use its energy instead. So yeah, Jirachi’s one major talent is to take things that don’t belong to him…..Team Rocket should steal this legendary.

So far we’ve had;

Mewtwo, who could do a gigantic list of things with his psychic powers from building a laboratory from scratch, perfecting the cloning process or making an apocalyptic storm.

Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos who basically control the entire ecosystem of the world – plus Lugia who keeps them in line.

Unown who create their own legit realities from scratch.

Celebi who can heal wounds/bring the dead back to life and travel through time as well as psychically make gigantic grass monsters.

Latias and Latios who have sight sharing abilities and the ability to transform or become invisible.

Then we have Jirachi….the thief. He’s supposed to be a wish-granting Pokemon – that’s not outside of the realm of belief for this show. Why is he so seemingly blasé compared to the other legends?

The group decides to head to Forina to bring Jirachi back home…..which is…understandable, but a dumb plan. Even if Butler didn’t put the tracker on them, do they really think Forina is the place to go? That’s where Butler found him, Absol’s been trying to bring him back there and Diane suggested that they should bring him back earlier. Do they really think he’s pounding his head going ‘where could they possibly have gone!?’

It’s night three, May makes her wish, Jirachi telepathically snores and May and Diane have a chit-chat. She explains that she’s known Butler since they were kids, and she always knew they’d be together. We get a pretty nicely done flashback with everything in warm colors and the kid versions of Diane and Butler in silhouette, which I find to be pretty cool. Butler’s practicing magic on her, and, after calling him great, he dons the name ‘The Great Butler,’ which is good for his magician career and if he ever decides to become a butler.

The flashback ends, and Diane laments how much Butler has changed since the good ol’ days. She can only hope that he’ll return to normal once the comet leaves.

The next day, their journey continues. I want to point out that there’s a shot during the ‘next day’ montage where they get stuck in the mud and even Jirachi is helping push the bus out but Pikachu’s just chillin’ behind them. Messiahchu is above this menial labor!

Night four and day five go by with May and Max seeming increasingly worried and sad.

As we reach night five, May makes her wish and points out that there’s only two more nights left, which upsets Max and makes him run off.

Ash joins him and explains that, while Jirachi may go away, they’ll be friends forever, because true friendship lasts no matter if you see them or not. He gives an example by saying he had to say goodbye to a friend and he misses her everyday. He makes some strained facial expressions as he speaks, but he says they remain friends and will always be such. Ladies and gentlemen, the last known AAML poke. I believe anyway.

Too bad this is a dub-exclusive line. Funny how, even after she’s gone, 4Kids still wants to keep the spirit alive. I miss her too, man. I miss her too.

Does anyone else really wish we got more of ‘older brother’ Ash?

Day six and the gang arrive at Forina. Ah, it’s beautiful. The landscape is crisp. The Altaria are singing. The Tropius are eating the slightly better modeled CGI fruit from the slightly better animated CGI branches. Truly a paradise.

Night six, May makes her wish, Max goes to bed and May hums her lullaby again.

Day seven – judgment day—Er I mean, the last day with Jirachi. The gang is lead by Absol into the cave where Jirachi usually sleeps. Once night falls, he is beckoned towards the comet, but Max pleads for him to grant his wish of staying by his side. However, Jirachi can’t escape the comet’s call and floats up to open his true eye in preparation for the absorption of the comet’s energy and his 1000 year hibernation.

Diane explains that Jirachi collects this energy not only for itself but also for the sake of the land around it. While he sleeps, the land of Forina feeds off the energy to grow and thrive.

As Jirachi is about to collect the energy, mechanisms appear from the cave walls and trap Jirachi in a ball of light. It’s Butler, if that wasn’t obvious, and after one of the most overused jokes in villain history and trapping the gang in a purple lightning cage, he starts his preparations to gather the energy himself.

The process starts, and Pikachu tries to break through the cage to no avail. Hey Ash, aren’t you gonna run into it head first, thinking you’re the Hulk or something?

*doesn’t*

….Wha….eh….Why are you being smart and mature in this movie!? I demand you cease this nonsense at once and go fling yourself towards danger!

Absol and a Flygon from Forina come to destroy the mechanisms creating the cage. Flygon gives Ash and Max a ride to Butler’s giant platform thinger.

Butler’s revival of Groudon is going smoothly, but Ash and Max arrive to save the day. Butler reveals that he has a friggin’ Salamence and commences aerial battle with them……Awesome! I haven’t seen an aerial battle since Movie 03.

Ash sends Max and Pikachu off to stop the machine and save Jirachi while he distracts Butler in the air. Now you’re being logical? Who are you!?

They do so, the process stops and the gang manages to escape Butler’s evil clutches and Jirachi’s perfectly fine now. May and Max even have a little moment. Awww.

Despite the process being interrupted, a Groudon is emerging from where the energy was being displaced. And it looks AMAZING.

I love Groudon’s design anyway, but this ‘shadow’ Groudon or ‘clone’ Groudon looks fantastic. It looks like it’s actually made of lava with green (and later blue) neon shining through it. It’s especially great right before it’s fully formed. I kinda wish they have kept it more black to be honest, but this is great too.

Butler’s initially ecstatic for the creation of the Groudon, but when he realizes that he used his crest of courage for selfish means and caused a dark digivolution of him, he is shocked and appalled.

They realize that, in a polar opposite manner of Jirachi who feeds the land with energy from the comet, the clone Groudon is actually sucking up energy from the land, causing the plants to die.

Absol tries to attack the Groudon in vain, Groudon fires back, and holy crap it looks even better when it’s attacking! I love this thing!

Groudon’s not only attacking Absol, he’s absorbing him into his body. The spikes on his back start to grow and change into cool little blue gooey tendrils to absorb all the other Pokemon of Forina.

Butler lands near the group and Diane asks if there’s anything he can do to stop Groudon, but he is without ideas.

Team Rocket gets absorbed next…Oh yeah, Team Rocket. I forgot to mention them. Yeah, they’ve been popping up now and then for the past half hour to just make a quick comment and then go away. Gotta remember that they exist.

Butler stares in horror at his creation and is about to be absorbed when Diane jumps in to save him and gets absorbed instead.

Is there such a thing as an emotion budget? Because he just used up a lot of it.

May and Brock get absorbed next, and just as Max and Ash are about to get absorbed, Jirachi teleports them away.

Butler, changed in his ways in the wake of Groudon’s destruction, helps out the boys and warns them that the Groudon is after Jirachi’s energy. Butler and his Salamence do everything in their power to keep the tendrils away from the boys, but one gets through the defenses and tries to grab the boys only to be stopped by Flygon.

They hop on Flygon and try to get away underground, but the tendrils continue to follow. As they inch closer and closer, Jirachi teleports them yet again. They meet back up with Butler in the air and he develops a plan. They can drain the energy from Groudon if they can get Jirachi back on his machine and reverse the polarity. Ah yet another problem solved by reversing the polarity. Job well done, science!

Ash initially doesn’t trust Butler, but after seeing his grief at losing Diane, he starts changing his tune. Butler’s Salamence is grabbed by Groudon and Butler falls, but is saved by Jirachi by teleporting Salamence below him.

That just leads to me question….Jirachi’s one major power is teleporting anything he wants right? Then why doesn’t he teleport everyone who is inside Groudon back to where they belong?

Also, why isn’t Jirachi getting exhausted? A couple days ago he was going comatose from teleporting one or two things. It’s been teleporting things all over the place tonight and he still seems fine, even in spite of being drained by Butler’s machine.

Jirachi believes that Butler can’t be all bad because he loves Diane, and that further encourages Ash and Max to go through with the plan. I feel like this past page has been kinda redundant.

Butler tells the boys to distract Groudon since he’s intent on catching Jirachi. Meanwhile, he’ll try to get the machine running.

The plan commences, but Butler accidentally drops the Groudon fossil from the platform only to be caught in a pretty cool shot by Ash as they fly by on Flygon.

Apparently, flipping the fossil’s container around reverses the polarity…Uh…kay, and they place Jirachi back on the machine. The only thing left to do is to flip the final switch, but as Butler’s about to do so, the platform starts to fall some more, causing him to slip off.

As Butler hangs on by a thread and Flygon and Salamence are absorbed, Ash channels his inner movie protagonist and pulls the switch. Jirachi starts draining the power from Groudon and putting it back into the land, but Groudon attempts to thwart his efforts by trying to absorb Jirachi with his tendrils. Butler stands in his way and gets absorbed.

Jirachi’s efforts are successful and we get another really cool shot of Jirachi making another pseudo-comet, the light explodes in midair and creates a star shower as the Pokemon and everyone else reappear safe and sound.

Jirachi floats back down to Max’s arms and thanks Max for making his wish come true – giving him a friend. Awwwwwwwwwwww.

Jirachi asks for one more wish to be granted by Max – he wants Max to sing him the lullaby before he goes off to sleep once more.

Max and everyone else agrees to grant Jirachi his wish. They start sing—Hahahahahaha….ahahaha….hahahahaha….oooohhh….Oh Brock my boy….Please stop. You’re killin’ me. Oh God.

Brock sounds awful when he’s doing this song. He sounds unbelievably bored, like he just got done filing his taxes.

I know for a fact that Eric Stuart can sing. He’s got a couple of songs on 4Kids’ soundtracks that are actually good….and he’s the lead singer of his own band! Maybe slow soft songs just aren’t his thing.

For the record, Veronica Taylor is doing the ‘singing’ voice of Ash. I guess her voice isn’t good enough to sing as a girl but okay to sing as a guy.

I know this scene is supposed to be really sad and sweet, and, for the most part, it is, but the fact that this song is literally just ‘Dododooododododdodoooododdodooo’ makes it seem a little bit on the silly side. Was it really too difficult to give this song lyrics?

Jirachi thanks them all and goes back into hibernation. He reverts to his crystal form and merges back into the earth, causing it to glow.

Max bids farewell to Jirachi and says he’ll always be in his heart.

After a weird scene with Team Rocket, we cut to the next day where we learn that Butler and Diane are going to stay in Forina because as long as they’re together nothing else matters. Uh, you guys don’t want to be magicians anymore? That thing you’ve been your whole lives? What do you intend on doing in Forina?

May congratulates Diane in getting her wish and then freaks out because she forgot to make her final wish on her wishing star. She says it doesn’t matter because everyone has to make their own dreams come true (Shh, don’t tell Disney.) They’re about to get a ride back to town with Butler and Diane when Max hears Jirachi’s voice yet again telling him they’ll be friends forever.

Jirachi! It is way past your bedtime, mister! You go to sleep right now or I won’t make you pancakes for breakfast in 3015!

Max smiles and returns to the bus as our movie ends.

The end credits start and the song is pretty nice…..hey….wait, this sounds familiar….Do…dodoooodododo—It’s the lullaby! It has lyrics!? Then why not sing the song in the movie!? Aw, forget it.

Now….I’m unsure about posting this since it might just be my copy, but since I distinctly remember this also happening when I watched it on TV, I’m going to say I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

During the end credits, May gets hungry, collapses to the ground and complains. A truck drives up and as we see the surprised faces of the group, the shot jars REALLY drastically to the left after about one or two frames. The exact same thing happens in the next shot of the truck driving down the road. The shots are perfectly fine in the original version.

First frame (Group shot):

Rest of Shot (Group shot):

First frame (Truck shot):

Rest of shot (Truck Shot):

I have only one theory as to why this might be. There’s one thing that Dogasu commonly brings up in the movie comparisons – the fact that all of the movies never get widescreen releases despite the source being released in widescreen.

This has caused several issues across the movies, most notably in Movie 01 and 02 where people would be cropped out of shots or shots would jarringly shift to get another character who starts talking into frame.

This is the shot in the original Japanese version:

See how everyone’s in the shot and how, at best, only May, Max and Ash make it fully into the shot in the dub? I think this was an insanely sloppy effort to get everyone’s reactions into frame. When the shot returns to the truck, the focus must’ve still been kept to the left for a frame or two and then they corrected it to be centered, making it jar there.

I don’t really get why this needed to be attempted anyway. So Brock’s not in the shot. Who cares? I’d rather have Brock cropped out of a completely pointless end credits scene than have the footage jar all over the place like it was edited by Edward Scissorhands on crystal meth.

This isn’t like in the first movie where they basically had to move the shot suddenly to get Brock into frame because he had a line and needed to be on-screen after someone on the other side of the screen said their line. There is no point here.

Now that I think about it, the earlier cut that jarred the screen also fixed the positioning, so I’m guessing the standard format cut off parts of the poster (IE, the ‘G’ I mentioned), forcing them to move the shot when it got to the close up. It likely wasn’t because of particularly sloppy editing due to painting off the Japanese text and moreso really sloppy editing due to cropping that occurred between versions.

If this cropping is, for some reason, absolutely necessary, why not just make it so the shot moves slowly from one side to the other? A pan shot is miles above a sudden jump cut to the same scene.

The rest of the scenes are the group stargazing and pointing out Pokemon-based constellations and yup, the rest of this song is indeed in Japanese. I have to say, Bra-freakin-vo on whoever chose the woman to sing the English version of the ending song because she sounds almost exactly like the original singer.

We also get some shots of the group walking, a nice cameo by a good chunk of the group’s Pokemon at the beach, them enjoying some of the same fireworks from earlier (the exact same ones) and finally them staring off into the sunset at the movie ends.

————————————

You probably already got this, but….I kinda loved this movie. Surprisingly, to be honest, because I just didn’t remember giving this movie much credit back when I first watched it, but now that I’ve sat down and watched it again, this is probably the second best Pokemon movie so far.

Practically everything about it works very well. The relationship between Max and Jirachi is genuine, and their departure was saddening and well-handled. The May and Max moments were pretty heartwarming. Max wasn’t that annoying here. He was actually pretty sweet most of the time. He has his moments of annoyance here and there, but they can be overlooked.

Ash was actually pretty cool to watch for a change. Butler was a legit villain with a backstory, a non-stupid, but admittedly cliché, motivation and something to humanize him. Granted, his voice does not work, but what can you do?

Team Rocket’s part was basically pointless from start to finish, but since they didn’t affect anything and barely had any screentime I can’t complain too much. Speaking of which, outside of hitting on girls, Brock was also totally non-existent here again.

The clone Groudon was AWESOME……But he is one of the bigger problems in the movie mostly because they never explain in the least how this thing was made. Why was the cloning process corrupted into making this shadow Groudon? Was it just because not enough energy was fed into it or are we really going with my dark digivolution theory of using power for selfish means creates evil?

I may rag on Jirachi being a pretty lame legendary (mostly because practically every Psychic type can teleport things, and him being a non-wish-granting wish-granting Pokemon is just really disappointing. The fact that he can channel energy from the Millennium Comet is really the only thing he has going for him.) but I will admit, he can be pretty damn cool when the situation calls for it. That finale was simply fantastic.

Story-wise, you can easily compare this with Movie 04. That movie tried to combine action with soft and genuine moments of friendship, growth and reflection, but it pretty much failed. The conflict with Sam being ‘stuck’ in the present was a non-plot point as Celebi could’ve sent him back whenever he wanted. The conflict of Jirachi’s impending 1000 year hibernation was very real and completely unavoidable.

The Sam and Ash friendship was pretty nice and genuine in Movie 04, but it was a bit too hammy. I think they overplayed the connection between the two. They got way too close too fast all because they wanted to make the ‘Ooh it’s Oak’ connection. In terms of him crying over Sam leaving as well as everyone else doing so was also over the top for someone who A) Isn’t dying and B) could easily be seen again in their time if they thought to research who he was in the present.

The connection between Sam and Celebi is okay, but they didn’t focus on it enough. Like I said, it felt like Ash kept taking the spotlight away from what seemed to be their story. Slowly, it started to be more like Ash was meant to have the connection with Celebi and not Sam.

The relationship between Max and Jirachi is a bit forced at first, downright weird when Jirachi is a rock, but the way I see it is that Max views Jirachi as kinda his first Pokemon. As a non-Trainer, but an aspiring one, he has no Pokemon of his own to care for, yet he really loves Pokemon. So it’s not that far out there that he’d be really excited to have Jirachi choose him as his friend.

Additionally, the small bits with May and Max were well done as they have a very realistic relationship here. They fight, they make pokes at each other, but in the end they still love each other and aren’t afraid to show it when the situation calls for it.

I didn’t quite understand why May kept getting so angry with Jirachi, though.

Ash’s role in this movie was near perfect. He was the smartest and most mature I’ve ever seen him, even better than Movie 03, and he never seemed to take the spotlight away from Max and Jirachi’s story. He obviously got focus, and, in the end, had his little hero moment, but they had just the right amount of focus on him and Pikachu.

Ash’s role in Movie 04 overstepped his bounds. There were so many times where I felt Ash was stepping on Sam and Celebi’s toes and taking the story from them. Plus, he was pretty annoying and dumb in that movie.

Butler is the first villain that I would actually say is good outside of Mewtwo. He’s fleshed out, has a story, a human connection and a believable reason for turning to the side of good at the end. He wants Jirachi for a legit reason, he wants to create Groudon for a legit reason, and everything he does has a purpose. He was a scientist bent on revenge who created a monster in place of his dream. He realized his mistake, he paid for it, and he helped fix it. Even Diane was well-used as a character, though she’s a bit too passive for my tastes.

The Iron Masked Marauder may have been the first villain in these movies who was a legit villain, again outside of Mewtwo, but he was really cliché. He had no backstory, he wasn’t fleshed out outside of ‘he works for Team Rocket and wants Celebi’s powers to take over Team Rocket and rule the world.’ We never learn why he’s specifically targeting Celebi nor why he’s destroying the forest. He never changes, he never grows and even the reveal of who/what was behind the mask was lame because it was nothing.

Lawrence the Third was complete nothing outside of a collector, and Annie and Oakley were just thieves who, like IMM, wanted Latios and Latias merely for power and to take over the world. Their growth and change was really just giving up on resisting their punishment in the end.

Movie 04’s seemingly pointless and cliché, sometimes cheesy and laughably animated, action gets in the way of what could be a heartwarming story of a boy (Seriously) trapped in another time. That’s a pretty interesting story. You could also greatly build on his connection with Celebi through a lot of quiet and soft moments, but those were too few and far between amongst the insanity.

Art: The art, animation and CGI are the best I’ve seen them. The CGI is actually the best of the movies so far, I believe edging out Movie 03 merely because of the icky Unown. The CGI here does have its spots of poor quality, but they’re quick and not very noticeable. I think a lot of this is helped by the fact that much of the CGI is done at night, masking more imperfections.

Shame on the editors for this movie though. One screen-jarring edit is bad enough, but three?

And yes, I also don’t understand why the hell they went through so many years of releasing the movies in standard format instead of widescreen when the source is widescreen. All it does is make more problems for them.

That in itself dropped this movie down a couple of decimal points for me. It was probably fixed in future releases, if there were future releases, but the fact that this was greenlit for release on VHS and/or DVD and TV release once upon a time with these issues intact is enraging to me. Pure laziness.

Music: The music was great, though I do miss the OP. The lack of music at numerous moments was also a welcome change of pace. The ED is really nice, though the in-movie version will never sound not-silly to me. When May does it alone, it’s not too bad, but when they all did it it was hard to keep focus on the sad Jirachi departure because ech.

Bottomline: All in all, a pretty great movie. Not perfect, but definitely the most I’ve enjoyed a Pokemon movie since 03, and that’s really saying something.

This movie had what I think is a pretty nice balance of quiet, genuine moments and action. Plus, the action had a point, didn’t seem to be in the way and was completely awesome from start to finish.

This movie is everything 04 could’ve been but wasn’t.

Recommended Audience: Nothing that I remember. E for everyone!

AVAHS – Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas

Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: A sequel to Once Upon a Christmas, this is basically the same premise just with different shorts and super duper early 2000s CGI.

Breakdown: Before we go any further, I want to address something that will bug the crap out of me if I don’t say anything. When I was looking for poster art to use on Once Upon a Christmas, I saw posters for Twice and the thumbnails constantly confused me because they all looked like they said ‘Twice a Christmas’ I thought maybe I was finding a screwed up poster or something, but then I watched the opening of the movie and saw this.

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For some stupid reason, they decided to make the word ‘upon’ really tiny and shove it in the line above everything else like it’s superscript. It’s like they had the template for the title card then realized the font wasn’t fitting in properly so they resized the words and forced it to fit.

Our first short is Belles on Ice, a Minnie and Daisy cartoon. You would never guess this is a Christmas short until the very end where they write ‘Peace on Earth’ in ribbon and wish each other a merry Christmas.

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Daisy and Minnie are in a figure skating competition, separately, and Daisy accidentally skates out when the announcer starts playing up the next competitor, which turns out to be Minnie. When everyone starts loving Minnie’s performance, Daisy gets very angry and decides to literally steal the show by skating out and being a showboat.

Understandably, Minnie starts to up her game even more to skew focus back on her. They keep going back and forth with this until Minnie suddenly wipes out. Daisy, seeing her friend fall, apologizes. Minnie apologizes too, even though she shouldn’t have to, and the two make a grand finale together.

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Realistically, there’s a bunch of issues with this short. First and foremost, it’s not Christmas-y. Like I already mentioned, outside of shoving two Christmas lines at the end, you’d never know this was a Christmas special.

Second, Minnie’s also made out to be in the wrong when she was just defending herself and trying to rightfully take back her performance.

Third, Daisy is incredibly petty and jealous here. She’s so intimidated by Minnie’s performance that she can’t even let her finish a full minute of it before she jumps out onto the ice and tries to steal her thunder.

If Daisy’s such an amazing skater to steal the show from Minnie, why didn’t she just wait until it was her own damn turn? The only reason I can think of is that she was pissed about being embarrassed for going out on the ice early, but Minnie didn’t do that – she was just assuming it was her turn based on how the announcer was building up the next performer. Surely they gave them a program that shows the order of participants so stuff like that doesn’t happen.

I didn’t like this segment very much. I liked the reactions of Donald and Mickey a bit and for some reason I was very entertained at the thought of Minnie’s background ice skaters being alligators, but Daisy’s being a bitch, we have two girls who are supposed to be friends being the petty vindictive stereotype that plagues so many girl friend characters and it has an ending that is unrealistic.

Daisy would be disqualified the instant she went out on the ice either for sabotage or trying to do her performance when it was someone else’s turn.

And I think they might both be disqualified at the end for having a duo performance when they didn’t enter as such.

The next short is a Huey, Dewey and Louie short called Christmas Impossible.

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The boys, Donald and Daisy are spending the holiday at Scrooge’s mansion. The boys have learned jack from last year’s Christmas because they’re back to being rude selfish brats. Scrooge tells the boys that he’s been selfish his whole life and never got on Santa’s nice list. The boys ask why that even matters since being selfish made him rich, but he says that being rich never got him what he really wanted. He tells the boys to not follow his example and to clean up their acts to make it on Santa’s nice list. However, it’s so close to Christmas that the boys conclude there’s no way for them to make up for all the crap they’ve done over the past year to be considered nice before Santa heads out to make his deliveries.

They decide to mail themselves to the north pole and write their names on Santa’s list themselves. By the way, Max, you could’ve saved yourself a lot of trouble with your Santa faith in the last movie if you just mailed yourself to the north pole. Apparently, they live in a world where you can mail yourself to the north pole and back within the time frame of a night on Christmas eve.

They’re still jackasses while traversing the workshop. They’re trying to get the key to Santa’s office so they can put their names on the list, but they end up destroying all of the wrapping on the gifts in order to find it. They don’t seem to care until they realize that their actions are going to ruin Christmas for everyone. They decide to fix their mistake and help the elves get everything back to normal, including a very distracting fast-motion scene that is ridiculous in CGI.

They finally get into Santa’s office and are about to write their names on the list when they decide to write Scrooge’s name instead. Why they didn’t write their names too, I don’t know. They never came to the realization that they didn’t deserve to be on the nice list, and there was plenty of room on that paper.

The next morning, they see Scrooge’s gift and it’s bagpipes…..I get that the message is that Scrooge wanted to be on the nice list and you can’t buy your way onto it, but the way it’s written, it was like he asked for something that money couldn’t buy and he never got it because he was never good enough to be on the nice list. Pretty sure you can buy bagpipes pretty easily.

Huey, Dewey and Louie are surprised to find that they also have a bunch of gifts from Santa, meaning they got on the nice list. A note from Santa states that there’s always room on the nice list for kids who put others before themselves and thanks them for helping out at the workshop.

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*sigh* First, the only reason they were even at the workshop to begin with was because they were putting themselves first. They wanted to fraudulently put themselves on a list they didn’t deserve to be on just to get toys.

Yes, they put Scrooge’s name on the list instead of their own, but that’s something else to ponder. If they had to write Scrooge’s name on the list, doesn’t that mean he didn’t deserve to be on the list either? Their hearts were in the right place when they did that, but they still technically tried to manipulate Santa for the sake of getting a naughty person a gift.

Second, they only helped clean up the mess they caused. It’s a good thing that they realized they should fix their mistake and help save Christmas, but they’re the reason it was ever in danger. It’s not like it was an accident either – they were purposely destroying everything to find the key to Santa’s office. It’s like thanking an arsonist for putting out their fire. And even after they did that, they were still planning on putting themselves on Santa’s list.

This short had its somewhat funny moments, but it’s a tad predictable and I can’t say I’m really understanding the full message here.

The next segment is a Goofy and Max short called Christmas Maximus, and I need a minute to understand the logistics of this one.

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I assumed that this movie was taking place only a year or two after the first one yet Huey, Dewey and Louie are still basically the same age, but Max is now in college. You can’t apply the excuse of the movies being shorts and not existing in the same timeline because the first movie ended with all of the characters meeting up to sing Christmas carols. The only logic I can apply to this is that dogs and ducks age differently? But if we’re taking that excuse, why isn’t Goofy in the least bit older looking?

Anyhoo, Max is coming home for Christmas with his girlfriend, Mona. He asks Goofy to be cool so he won’t embarrass him around his girl, but Goofy, being Goofy, can’t stop himself. Mona finds most of his shenanigans to be charming, but Max keeps getting irritated.

We suddenly get an original song break. The song is called ‘Make Me Look Good’ and it’s told by Max’s perspective. It’s basically what you’d think it is from the title. Max worrying internally about Goofy embarrassing him and telling him to make him look good. It’s not a musical number sung by Max – it’s just a background song that we’re meant to believe is being sung by someone who kinda sounds like Max.

I don’t get why this short and this situation is where we get a song break, which, by the way, is the only original lyrical song break of the movie. It’s not a Christmas-y song, and it’s hardly a song that works out of context. The song’s not even all that good. I suppose it’s catchy, but it’s a bit cluttered.

What’s even worse about this song break is that it’s the only thing moving the plot forward. It’s like this short is the song with the only dialogue being an intro to it, a minor interlude and a short finale. That’s the main reason it’s so cluttered. It’s trying to jam everything that would be in the short as regular scenes into short verses in a song.

Goofy does embarrassing things a few times, it’s obvious Mona’s charmed by it, but Max still gets pissed. He has the tiniest of blowups at Goofy, walks away about ten feet before realizing he’s been an ass and that Mona’s having a great time, then he returns and has a nice holiday with his dad and Mona. The clincher of her being ‘the one’ revealing that Mona has the same two lone teeth that the Goof’s have. Okay.

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I really think this short would’ve been a million times better if the song wasn’t there and they took the time to just run the segment like normal. It’s so rushed and awkward as a song. It’s a damn shame that this is so messy, because the Goofy short in the last movie was my favorite.

The next short is called Donald’s Gift.

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Donald wants nothing more than to go home and enjoy a nice mug of hot cocoa by the fire after a long day of shopping and people annoying him with Christmas stuff. Daisy, Huey, Dewey and Louie arrive, inviting Donald out to go to the mall. He says he doesn’t want to, but Daisy forces him to go. The boys want to see some spectacular display at Mousy’s, and while they’re waiting, Donald decides to get a hot cocoa. He’s bombarded with everything suddenly turning into sounds that play ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’, which leads him to accidentally destroying the Mousy display.

The boys and Daisy think he did it on purpose for some reason and leave him behind at the mall. Donald sulks around town for a while until he finds a bunch of carolers arguing over singing ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ Donald, having learned the song inside and out by now, conducts for them. Their singing gathers a crowd, including Daisy and the boys who instantly forgive him and they all sing the finale of the song.

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This short was….confusing and hard to sympathize with. I didn’t dislike it, but I believe I would’ve liked it more if Donald actually deserved any of this crap. Was he a little bitchy about going to the mall? Sure. But what we saw of his day included a charity Santa literally grabbing him and holding him, singing ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ until he donated some money, a barbershop quartet, singing the same song, cutting his hair into a powdered wig design for some reason as he ran by, and nearly getting run over by a bus which promptly burned his groceries to cinders. I don’t know if I’m just old, but I am very understanding of Donald’s desire to want to avoid Christmas stuff for a while and just sit home and relax if all that stuff happened to me, and I’m a Christmas junkie.

Daisy and the boys pestering him was also a bit hypocritical. Daisy’s telling him not to be selfish, but isn’t it selfish to force someone to do something they don’t want to do just because YOU want them to do it?

Donald wasn’t even ruining their outing at all. He went…to get….a drink. Something he could easily carry around with him while they did their mall stuff. Somehow, that means he’s being a selfish ass or something and deserves to have a ‘The Raven’ style torture of the aforementioned song haunting him until he accidentally causes the display to break because there was a ‘speed everything up to a point where everything spins out of control and breaks’ button right in plain sight.

And, again, for some reason, Daisy and the boys believe he’s that much of a vindictive ass that he would do that on purpose.

The final and longest short of the movie is Mickey’s Dog-gone Christmas – A Pluto short! HOORAY! I’m also happy to report this is the best short of either movie.

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Pluto is helping Mickey decorate for a big Christmas party he’s having, but Pluto accidentally breaks everything while trying to put up the star. Mickey yells at him for misbehaving, tells him he ruined Christmas and sends him out to his dog house while he goes out and buys more decorations.

Pluto is very guilty and depressed over what he did, and decides to ditch his collar and run away. He somehow ends up on a train to the north pole where he’s adopted by Donner, who is a much bigger sweetie than he is in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer….but also a lot stupider. He’s made a pseudo part of the reindeer team lead by Blitzen.

Pluto enjoys his time with the reindeer while Mickey fixes up the house. Once he’s gotten everything back to normal, he tries to make amends with Pluto and offers for him to put the star on top of the tree. He quickly realizes Pluto’s missing and drops everything to search all over town for him. He even goes to the mall Santa to wish for Pluto back.

Back at the north pole, Pluto is missing Mickey more and more, and it turns out that the mall Santa was the real Santa. He offers to take Pluto back home, and he happily agrees. He bids a fond farewell to Blitzen and Donner and reunites with Mickey, who proudly puts his collar back on and allows him to put the star on the tree.

The house is nearly demolished by a plow truck who has seemed to have it out for Mickey the whole short, but it’s revealed that Goofy was the one driving. He, Max, Scrooge, Donald, Daisy, the boys and Minnie have been driving all over town in the plow truck looking for Pluto. They enjoy the Christmas party and play us out with the same Christmas song mashup they had at the end of the first movie.

The end.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this short. It’s almost hard for me to believe it’s a part of the same movie as the others. Each short has a different set of writers, so maybe Colin Goldman and Matthew O’Callaghan just had a bit more Christmas spark than the others….including someone named, not kidding, Carole Holliday. It has some great comedy, nice character interactions with everyone, especially Blitzen and Donner, whom I really wish come back in some way in another Christmas special, and heartwarming moments. Plus, it’s a Pluto short – who can resist that?

It’s also, a bit sadly, relatable. I can’t count how many times I’ve lost my temper because my dogs have ruined something I worked hard for. If my dogs could understand human language, I can bet there’d be at least a couple times they would’ve felt like running away. But no, they have to make you feel like garbage by giving you the sad eyes, cowering over to you and asking for pets. Of course I forgive you, you furry source of utter destruction.

I do have a few questions, though, like why let Goofy drive? And why buy a whole plow truck company just because you need to use one plow truck? Why is Mickey suddenly very comfortable financially again? Also, since everyone’s back together again, it proves that Max grew up by about a decade yet Huey, Dewey and Louie didn’t grow at all.

This is a great short that would be an awesome standalone for Christmas, but the movie as a whole….

Well, I really enjoyed how the bookends are done in a narrated pop-up book style. I thought that was very clever and a great way to retain some of the traditional-style artwork. It was also a better way of bookending each story than the three random presents holding title cards from the first movie. The CGI had its moments of downright terribleness (I’m looking at you fast-forward scene) but it actually stands up very well for a fully CGI movie from 2004.

Most of the shorts are very weak, though the last one is worth the trouble. I didn’t necessarily hate or even seriously dislike any of the segments. It wasn’t a chore to sit through them, but most of them had glaring logic issues or vaguely bad or unclear messages, and they just weren’t very funny or heartwarming most of the time.

I would’ve been content if the whole movie was just the Pluto short, to be honest.

 

AVAHS – Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Our favorite Disney characters celebrate Christmas in three short specials.

Breakdown: Despite the fact that this used to play all the time on Disney Channel, I’ll admit, I never watched it. Why? I have no clue. But who am I to neglect giving it a looksee when it pops up on my watch list?

The first short is a Donald Duck short called Stuck on Christmas.

Huey, Dewey and Louie have a great Christmas, though they seem utterly unappreciative and selfish throughout the whole day. Not enough to ruin Christmas for everyone else, including Daisy, Gertie and Scrooge, but still enough to show that they’re more focused on the presents and food than the true meaning of Christmas.

They wish on a star for Christmas to last every day and lo and behold their wish comes true. Christmas, as in a Groundhog’s Day-esque recreation of that exact Christmas, continues over and over and over. They get their same gifts, they ride their same sleds and eat the same turkey dinner day after day. They enjoy it for a while, but quickly grow miserable of doing the same thing every day. Bored, the boys decide that the next Christmas will be spiced up a bit by abusing the knowledge they have of the exact events that will happen.

They freeze Chip and Dale, ruining their morning fun with their train, purposely knock Donald, who is carrying a tray of breakfast items, down with their gifted toys, protect themselves from Gertie’s kisses with wet suits, replace the Christmas turkey with a live one who runs through the house destroying everything, including the piano, preventing Scrooge from enjoying his Christmas carols, and the tree even falls over on Donald.

As the boys are about to sled off and avoid the rage of Donald, they stop in their tracks when they realize he’s not mad – he’s incredibly sad that their Christmas has been ruined. Donald’s card to them, which they just discard every time they grab their sleds, has been focused on, but not read, throughout each day so far. They finally read it on this Christmas, showing that Donald and Daisy wrote a heartfelt message to them about the true meaning of Christmas not being toys or even decorations, but about caring and touching each other’s hearts. They slink off to bed and promise to make the next Christmas the best one ever.

They stay true to this promise and indeed do everything in their power to make the next Christmas great for everyone. They even chop up their sleds and make it into Donald’s dreamboat/sled. Though this is a bit ruined at the very end when the sled doesn’t hold up on its first run and Donald ends up crashing.

I liked this short, but it’s insanely predictable. Not to mention, I don’t know which came first, but I’ve already seen a Christmas special about wishing for Christmas everyday – and, honestly, I think that special did it better.

It was the Christmas special for Fairly Odd Parents. Timmy wishes for Christmas every day and his fairies, Cosmo and Wanda, have to grant it for him. The difference here is that everyone is cognizant of it being Christmas every day. They all get beyond sick of it, but can’t stop it for some reason. The rest of the plot really can’t be compared because it involves Santa and draining his power – I might give it a real review this month.

The only thing I didn’t really predict was that Huey, Dewey and Louie would actually aim to destroy Christmas for everyone. You could argue that they were just goofing around, but no. Donald makes a nice breakfast for all of them and they purposely knock him over to make him spill it all over himself. They open their gifts early over and over even though they know what they are and know Donald will keep getting mad at them for doing it. They disrespect Gertie with the wet suits, and completely destroy the house by letting a wild turkey loose.

The only thing I can say they didn’t do was knock over the tree. That just kinda fell on its own and they didn’t care. I get that they had to reach a new low to reach the high point, but that segment really just made me think these three are some of the worst brats ever.

All in all, it had its entertaining spots, but it’s predictable and some moments kinda ruin the feel and even make me a little mad.

The second short is A Very Goofy Christmas.

This segment was a little awkward due to so much slapstick (I know that’s Goofy’s forte, but even for him it was forced here) and the awkwardness of seeing someone try desperately to prove that Santa exists when another character is presenting all of the logical evidence that such a thing is impossible. However, the ending more than makes up for it, and the premise is more original than you’d be lead to believe.

Max and Goofy are excited for Santa’s arrival, but Pete, being Pete, has to be an ass and laugh at both Goofy and Max for believing in Santa. He even straight up tells Max to his face that several aspects of him just make no sense. Max has a crisis of holiday faith and gets both depressed and frustrated that Santa doesn’t really exist. Max’s reaction in this situation is extremely realistic. He flip flops a bit between believing and not, and you can really see that he genuinely wants to believe, but everything he’s seeing and hearing is telling him otherwise.

Goofy’s belief in Santa never wavers, and he tries desperately to get Max to keep up the faith. Goofy is being such a sweetheart and wonderful father here. He cooks a huge dinner for his less fortunate neighbors and even dresses up like Santa for their kids. I was a bit unsure about this short until my heart melted when Goofy shoveled the words ‘Don’t forget Max’ in the snow.

The original aspect I was talking about was Goofy’s belief in Santa. Parents trying to keep their kids believing in Santa is nothing new, but the parents legitimately believing in Santa is an oddity. It’s especially impacting when Goofy’s faith finally falters and Max does his best to cheer him up.

Of course, Santa is real and brings Max the snowboard he wanted. When Max asks why Goofy didn’t get anything, he says he asks for the same thing every year and gets it every year – Max’s happiness. And then I got a mop because my heart exploded.

Pete even gets his comeuppance by learning Santa does exist and having Santa take all the snow from Goofy’s yard and plopping it into his (After he snowblowed his snow into their yard earlier). No gift for assholes who ruin Santa for children – and this is coming from someone who never believed in him.

Our final short is Gift of the Magi, a Mickey and Minnie short, and it’s the weakest of the bunch.

It’s insanely predictable from start to finish. They’re focusing on a trope that is so overused, I’ve already watched a Christmas special that parodied this trope for this year’s AVAHS. In Futurama’s Xmas Story, Zoidberg buys a pair of combs for Amy’s hair but she said she sold it to buy combs for Hermes. In turn, Hermes said he sold his hair to buy combs for Zoidberg, who reveals he bought both of their hair and now has a luxurious head of hair to comb.

Mickey has a nice gold harmonica that he loves and Minnie has a nice gold pocket watch that she loves. Minnie obviously intends on buying Mickey a case for his harmonica. Mickey intends on buying Minnie a nice gold chain for her watch. This is established within the first few minutes of the short. Gee. I sure wonder where this is headed.

By the way, am I not up to date on Disney characters or something? When did Mickey and Minnie get so destitute? They live in a crappy house, wear patched up clothes and they keep their money in a sack.

Also, Pete is again hateable by trying to force an expensive ten foot tree on a clearly poor family by making the parents feel like garbage if they don’t. At least he still gets comeuppance.

Mickey’s being a sweetheart, like Goofy. He plays a harmonica concert for a charity toy drive and nearly misses getting to the store before closing because of it.

Though, really, poor guy playing harmonica. Come on, tropes. Chill out.

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As a whole, this movie definitely has its ups and downs, but it’s a nice film to watch around the holidays. The Goofy special is definitely the best with Donald’s short coming in second and Mickey’s in last purely because at least Donald’s short had its funny moments and Goofy had its heartwarming moments.

This movie had a sequel aptly named Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas. I shall get to that before the season’s over.