In 2001, 4Kids was still riding pretty high on their Pokemon wave. They had two full seasons of the anime dubbed, and they were in the middle of dubbing their third season, named The Johto Journeys. This was an especially exciting period because this was the first time an entirely new generation of Pokemon was being released both in the games, which had just released Gold and Silver for the Game Boy Color in North America in late 2000 with Crystal coming up in the summer of 2001, and in the anime, which had Ash, Misty and a finally returning Brock exploring the region of Johto. In addition, 4Kids made another commitment with Pokemon by purchasing a 3% stake in The Pokemon Company to better profit from the franchise as a whole by also gaining money from their original Japanese market and overall Asian returns.
With another new year, new anime season and new Gen of games came, of course, another Pokemon movie. Pocket Monsters the Movie: Lord of the Unknown Tower, Entei, which would later be titled, Pokemon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown: Entei and what I would later title What the Hell? The Movie – Can’t Anyone Come Up With Anime Movie Titles of a Reasonable Length?: Entei, was released in Japan on July 8, 2000 and would be released by Warner Bros. and 4Kids in North America on April 6, 2001.
Like the previous two installments, 4Kids and Nintendo maintained the same basic advertising structure, although, notably, they did not push nearly as much as they did with Movies 01 or 02. They didn’t release as many toys nor did they get a comic or novel adaptation. This was also the first Pokemon movie release to not get a Burger King deal, meaning no new collectible toys.
They did, however, keep the aspect of a Wizards Black Star promotional trading card. With the purchase of a ticket, moviegoers were given a reverse holographic Entei card, and included in the DVD and VHS releases was a special Unown card – and it was always J, which is kinda random. The Entei card was particularly coveted in America, because it was the first ever reverse holographic Pokemon card released outside of Japan.
Sadly, the downward trend of Pokemon movie releases in North America was continuing. While the third installment did better with critics again, it still wasn’t viewed all that favorably, even if fans regarded it quite highly. It only managed to reach the fourth spot in the box office on its opening day, and it now sat $2mil behind the release of Pokemon the First Movie by only collecting $8,240,752 upon release. Even worse, it hadn’t even made half as much as Pokemon the Movie 2000 after its closing, making only $17,052,128 domestically. Despite this clear decline in returns over the years, the movie was largely a financial success.
To make matters a little better, it seems 4Kids learned a few lessons over the years and made a significant effort in the dub of this movie. It still had a couple rewrites, some questionable dialogue choices, scene shifts, and a completely replaced soundtrack, but overall it was kept much more loyal to the original than the previous two movies were. They didn’t even stab the ending credits repeatedly with an overabundance of unrelated pop songs like the previous two movies……They just loaded up the official soundtrack with an abundance of songs that had already been released in North America and Australia on the Totally Pokemon CD three months prior. So, you’d basically be getting scammed in either territory if you bought the soundtrack and already had the Totally Pokemon CD as only three songs, ‘Pokemon Johto (Movie Version),’ ‘To Know the Unknown’ and the medley from ‘Spell of the Unown’ were new to the set. This was done for the sake of attracting European audiences to buy the soundtrack without them needing to record any new music.
Additionally, it’s clear that, at this point, 4Kids probably knew their music was marketable enough to not spend a lot of money bringing in big pop stars to sing songs for them.
For a complete breakdown on what they did change, see Dogasu’s comparison here.
As was tradition by this point, Pokemon 3 was accompanied by a short called Pikachu and Pichu, and, surprisingly enough, 4Kids left this short almost entirely alone, barring clipping the credits, cutting the opening and making their own, altering the logos a little and, of course, including a Pokemon misidentification – this time incorrectly having a Voltorb say “Electrode.” Even the soundtrack was left intact.
After this point, Warner Bros. would no longer be handling the distribution of the Pokemon films. The reins would be handed to Miramax, which is arguably one of the worst things that could have happened to the movies for international release. But let’s save that for later.
Speaking of Pokemon, 4Kids had another Pokemon ‘movie’ or special to release, but this one was a direct-to-VHS/DVD movie called Pocket Monsters: Mewtwo! I Am Here ‘MEWTWO SAGA’ or as 4Kids dubbed it, Mewtwo Returns.
It chronicled the life of Mewtwo and the other clones immediately following the events of Movie 01. In America, this marked the first time westerners would be able to see the ten minutes that were cut from the beginning of the first movie, marketing that segment as The Uncut Origins of Mewtwo on the DVD. It also holds the coveted title of being the origin to the meme line “Hey I know! I’ll use my trusty frying pan….as a drying pan!” It also contained the incredibly confusing baby Nidoqueen and Rhyhorn, which should have been physically impossible to create considering Nidoqueen can’t breed at all and is a fully evolved Pokemon, meaning its offspring would be a Nidoran not a Nidoqueen.
There’s certainly quite the list of changes between the original and the dubbed version, with a large bulk of them being dialogue changes or additions. There’s really not much else to talk about with this special besides the fact that it hasn’t seen a single re-release and has never been made available on Blu-Ray. The movie/special is also usually broken up into three episodes when listed on streaming sites.
Since it was direct-to-VHS/DVD, there’s no real public information on how much it made, and the very vague title of Mewtwo Returns makes finding relevant information a pain in the butt. However, from its IMDB page, it seems fans view it positively for the most part, though some still criticize the special for being just as preachy as its predecessor.
In non–Pokemon news for 2001, 4Kids picked up their first venture into Korean animation with Cubix: Robots for Everyone. The series was actually co-produced by 4Kids in conjunction with two Korean companies, Daiwon C&A Holdings Co., Ltd and Cinepix, making Cubix a unique property for them. They were both helping produce it, but also dubbing it as the series would be created with a Korean track first. The Wiki page credits the entirety of the series to Cinepix and claims 4Kids just dubbed it, but they are on the production credits, and financial reports show that they were co-producing it. This series was valuable to 4Kids both as a merchandise machine and as a suitable fit for their required half-hour of educational and informative programming credit in 2010 on the Fox Box.
Despite only running for two seasons, Cubix was a fairly decent success. 4Kids played it a lot in reruns between the years 2003-2004, then again in 2010. It spawned three video games and plenty of toys. It even had a toy tie-in with Burger King at one point. However, since the show only had two seasons and it wasn’t a massive hit, it kinda ran out of steam a few years later, which is totally understandable.
The show never got a full VHS or DVD release in America. Only the first three episodes were released on DVD in the US, and they were marketed as a movie titled The Search for Solex. There was also a European and/or Australian release for at least most of the episodes. I say “most” because I can only find proof that up to volume five even exists. I found an eBay listing for volume five, and it seems legit. Considering that volume five covers up to episode 20, and there are only six episodes left after that, I assume that a volume six would have been the last one, but I can’t even find a picture of that volume, should it exist.
Cubix still has a bit of a following from what I see, and despite not leaving a huge impact on pop culture throughout the years or anything, is still remembered fondly by numerous people. My experience with the show is that I definitely remember it being promoted a lot on Kids WB, and I remember the Burger King promo, but I don’t remember actually watching it. I would think it would have been advertised so much that I at least watched some in passing, but I can’t remember anything about it besides the fact that it was promoted a lot.
Sadly, 4Kids would experience a bit of a drop off financially in 2001. Their net revenues were down 53% earning $41,538,000 in 2001 from $87,997,000 in 2000. This was attributed to the popularity of Pokemon going down at the time since it was no longer hot and new. Sales of the trading cards, for some reason, were noted as suffering the worst declines, but Pokemon still remained the number one children’s show on domestic broadcast television. Most of their income streams were down barring their media sales and television syndication services, which were up 10%. As noted in the report, Al Kahn took a significant bonus cut to help keep expenses down. He graciously only accepted $370,000 as a bonus cutting off $1,809,000 from what he was originally intended to have. I think we can all agree that he should have been given sainthood for this act.
Don’t you worry your pretty heads about 4Kids quite yet, though. We’re still talking about 2001. In September of that same year, they would be premiering their second most massive franchise that would once again grant them incredible success.
Plot: A Pokemon researcher named Shurri/Spencer has been looking for the elusive Pokemon Unknown/Unown for years. When he finally finds clues to their existence, he is suddenly taken by the Unknown and trapped in another dimension.
He leaves behind his beloved daughter Mii/Molly, who also summons the Unknown through tiles that her father found during his research. In her grief over losing her father, and her mother not being around for reasons never made clear, the Unknown decide to grant her wishes, giving her her own reality to do whatever she pleases.
It’s up to Satoshi/Ash and the others to free her from this false reality and stop the Unknown from causing more trouble.
Breakdown: See, that’s a much better movie poster. Entei looks bitchin’, Mii’s set in an awesome shot (doesn’t happen in the movie, but still looks good), Satoshi is admittedly placed awkwardly again, but nothing major, and the only character I don’t find a lot of point in having on the poster is Rin/Lisa, but I don’t mind. I do kinda mind Chikorita being that big on the poster when Fushigidane’s/Bulbasaur’s so small, seeing as how they both had equal screen time I believe, but again, nothing major.
I don’t expect to be writing too much for this alternative review given that Movie 03 seems to be 4Kids’ best dubbing effort to date. The Bulbagarden comparison really doesn’t note much in terms of changes, barring some scene shifts that actually make sense, and some of 4Kids’ lame dialogue insertions and changes. But let’s see how it fares anyway. Because the changes are so minor, I’ll be reviewing the original version in quarters.
Beginning to Title Screen
The original makes no tiny implication that the Unknown took Mii’s mother and that’s why Shurri’s so intent on finding them. He just says he’s been looking for them for a long time.
Name changes of Mii to Molly and Sully Snowden (or Shurri Snowdon. I don’t really know. Every Wiki I find lists it as the first one, but it’s conflicting with other sources) to Spencer Hale (which, if his name really is Sully Snowdon, didn’t need to be changed.)
His assistant, John, was also changed to Schuyler…..Yes…his original name was John. One of the English-est English names ever to English in England, yet 4Kids still decided to replace that with Schuyler.
Title screen to Halfway Mark
More name change notes: Lisa was original Rin.
The theme from the original is pretty good. Definitely gets you amped up for action.
Misty said that Greenfield was a place that she always wanted to go to when she was a little kid. Apparently, in the original, Kasumi says that it was voted as being the number one place that girls want to visit. Silly boys and their lack of appreciating landscapes.
Because of this, Takeshi says there must be tons of beautiful girls there to see the sites. Brock does say the same thing in the dub, but the only reason he assumes that there are beautiful girls there is because Lisa said everything’s beautiful in Greenfield, thus the girls must be too.
Am I the only one who thinks the crystal looks kinda pretty? The mentions of it being ugly aren’t in the original, but I think it’s kinda pretty, especially with the giant flower-like structure at the bottom.
There’s no mention of Mii’s mom in the news cast, so I have no clue where the original mentions any indication of her mom leaving.
Hanako sounds way happier to see Satoshi at first than Delia did.
We get a little more backstory on Hanako and Shurri as Satoshi actually recalls that he supposedly helped Hanako a lot with her homework and that he visited quite frequently after he moved away. If anything, this just makes their situation even more confusing because, again, these characters are never seen nor spoken of after this movie.
Also, her homework? She went to school? Satoshi went to school? What!?
Rin’s a lot less abrasive than Lisa.
Oh…Takeshi kinda hits on Mii too. Eugh.
Also, I guess I should note that Takeshi only says that Mii’s dream Pokemon are stronger than he thought. Not that they’re stronger than real ones, even though they clearly are.
Halfway Mark to End
Kasumi introduces herself as ‘the prettiest girl in the world,’ which is pretty egotistical if you ask me.
And no, you still don’t get to see the continuation of Kasumi and Mii’s battle. Maybe it was too much to animate under water.
Satoshi says while he and Lizardon are fighting Entei that if things keep going this way, Mii will be alone forever. Ash only repeated that they have to get Molly out of there. The original actually makes the fact that Mii gasped in surprise and then was hugged by Hanako make more sense. While it can make sense in the dub, perhaps being surprised at how much these strangers care for her, it makes more sense in the original. I know this kinda seems like I’m reaching for things to note, but it does hold weight.
Likewise, Takeshi only points out that Mii’s a great Trainer because Gomazou/Phanpy’s Rollout was great…..Then again, if her dream Pokemon really are stronger than the originals by default or even just unrealistically strong either way, that’s nothing to compliment her on. If anything, the fight between Mokoko/Flaaffy and Zubat was more impressive strategically.
I mention this because, in the dub, this is where 4Kids shoehorns in the whole ‘A big part of battling is knowing when to stop.’ line……And I have to note that the dub, while being cheesy and a frightening feeling of deja vu to the first movie, at least makes more sense on praising her for that instead of the power of her dream Pokemon.
Okido/Oak actually tells Satoshi to go after the Unknown and stop them, not to run out of the mansion to avoid being trapped there forever. While the dub, again, is understandable, the original makes more sense because, if they don’t stop the Unknown, who knows how much land they’ll encase in crystal.
Mii never once calls Entei by his name when she’s cheering him on….And dammit, yes, the dub actually may make more sense again.
Molly calling Entei by his Pokemon name indicates that she finally realized that this was indeed simply a world of illusion and Entei wasn’t really her father despite the fact that she still deeply cared for him. Then again, her still viewing Entei as a mirror of her father and continuing to call him ‘papa’ despite knowing the truth can also be a big moment too. Hm.
As expected, neither version explains what the hell the Unknown are about, why they were doing all of this etc. meaning this movie shares the same issue as the dub.
It’s funny how many movies take place at night and have the very ending take place in the morning.
The comparison stated that the scene switch, notably changing Shurri’s reappearance to directly after the Unknown disappear instead of at the beginning of the ending credits, was made to ensure audiences that Molly didn’t end up alone in the end if they didn’t bother to watch the end credits. And….I like 4Kids’ placement better.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with showing him coming back in the end credits, it’s perfectly fine, but it does make more sense in a way to have him show up as the final part of the montage where all of the illusions go away.
Oh and yes, we made it from start to finish without any mention as to where the hell Mii’s mom was. Not a damn one. She just pops up in the end credits. Okay, that’s not entirely true. When Shurri disappears, they say that Mii is all alone now, indicating that her mother must’ve left for good or disappeared too, but there’s nothing beyond that.
Give 4Kids credit, at least they gave slight hints for a reasoning behind her absence. This version gives us zilch. A Wiki page I found said only that she ‘left,’ whatever that really means and where they got that information is beyond me. I assume it meant that Shurri was so obsessed with finding the Unknown for some reason that she left out of frustration, but there’s no indication that he’s obsessed at all, just that Unknown is the Pokemon he’s been researching for a while.
If she did leave because of that, 1) Why not take Mii with her or at least visit her frequently? 2) That’s a pretty bitch move. 3) Why would she just happily come back in the end like nothing happened? 4) Why wouldn’t she come back for her once Shurri was gone? 5) Why did her butler and John act as if she was an orphan now?
If she like left on a trip or something, I guess that’s plausible, but then why would Mii be confused as to what her real mom looks like? Why would she be alone on many occasions? Seriously, if she were on a trip or something or even divorced from Shurri, she’d still likely takeover custody of Mii or immediately come back for her in the event that something happened to Shurri unless she’s just a horrible person.
I’ll just go ahead and say my take on it is either to flesh out the theory about her disappearing because of the Unknown (Also, I love how the English version of Unknown is just a misspelled version.) or they should’ve killed her off.
I get it, they wanted Mii to have a really happy ending to her story, but it just seems so forced to throw her mother in there with no indication as to where she’s been this whole time. Even though the dub does subtly hint as to her story, it even seems forced there.
The point is, while I’m happy that they’re all together again, it just raises an untold amount of questions that will never be answered and seems pointless other than to give Mii two parents to make her as happy as possible, which, considering that Kasumi seems to have no parents, Takeshi basically lived without either parent and had to stand in as a dad for his family until both spontaneously came back, and Satoshi may as well have a single mom, seems a bit insulting to those without both parents.
As for the ending song, ‘The Day a Rainbow was Born’ by Kumiko Mori, it’s very nice and beautifully sung.
Now for my final verdict. As much as I like to dance the night away on 4Kids’ grave, I have to be fair and mature. I need to suck up my pride and say what needs to be said.
…..Yes, the 4Kids dub was probably as close to perfection as they’ve ever gotten in dubbing anything, at least until this point. Barring the average 4Kids-isms like being too obvious with certain bits of dialogue, changing basically all of Team Rocket’s dialogue and changing the music, they did a great job on the dubbed version. Only a line or two was lame, the music was fantastic and many of the changes had actual reasons behind them that were either understandable or actually beneficial.
In fact…..Oh God, this is gonna hurt……
I LIKED THE 4KIDS VERSION BETTER!!
Okay, it’s not a huge revelation considering how much I gushed about it and given how I actually praise 4Kids several times in this review, but god I just feel so dirty saying positive things about 4Kids’ productions.
I feel like, maybe, 4Kids isn’t entirely responsible for the quality of the movies, though. It just seems like sometimes they’re pressured into not being assmuffins by either Warner Bros., Miramax or some other third party. Even if that’s true, it just shows that 4Kids CAN do dubs perfectly fine, they just choose not to because screw you.
The original still has better voices and better acting of course, but I fell in love with the dub a long time ago and I can’t deny that it just does some things better. This doesn’t make it a better version. If anything, I think it’s pretty evenly balanced between the two. I just prefer the dub better.
You happy, 4Kids? Enjoy your moment of victory for there will be seldom if any other occasions for such a thing.
I feel like I need a bath now.
Recommended Audience: Same as the dub.
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Plot: A little girl named Molly has mysteriously lost both of her parents. In her grief, she starts writing their names together with letter tiles that her father collected. They are somehow connected to the mysterious Pokemon, Unown.
As her tears fall on the tiles, they magically summon a group of Unown into her house and grant her any wish that she desires.
Her first wish? To have her father back.
An Entei appears as a creation of the Unown since Molly and her father previously joked about him being like Entei. He tasks himself with doing everything in his power to make her happy, including kidnapping Ash’s mom to complete their family. As Ash and the others go to save his mom, but Molly becomes more comfortable with her newfound abilities and gives them a run for their money. Can anything truly beat the power of the Unown?
Breakdown: Ah, my favorite Pokemon movie.
I love this movie. Not just as a Pokemon movie, but just as a movie period. It has a touching story, a great Legendary, exciting moments, awesome music, Charizard returns to be a badass, and practically everything has a point!
Also, the fate of the world isn’t on the line for a change. Not to say it’s perfect – it’s not obviously – but I still believe it’s the best out of all of the Pokemon movies I’ve ever seen by far.
Our movie starts out overlooking a mansion where a little girl named Molly Hale is being read to by her father Spencer Hale. Her father as well as Entei are voiced by Dan Green. Mandatory cheering session everyone!
And damn I want that Ponyta rocking horse. I don’t care if I’d look like an idiot riding it, I want that.
He’s explaining Legendary Pokemon through a book filled with pictures of said Pokemon. They talk about Unown, and it’s gently hinted at that Molly’s mom was taken by the Unown. According to sources online, that is the canon explanation in the dub.
However, they don’t really explain what happened to her mother very well in the dub. In fact, they don’t explain at all, making the whole situation confusing.
They eventually start talking about Entei, one of the Legendary Beasts. Molly really likes Entei and believes her father is like him because he’s big and strong while also being really nice. They play make-believe Entei for a bit and have a bunch of fun even riding the Ponyta rocking horse. Lucky bastards.
However, their fun is interrupted by a video call by Spencer’s associate, Schuyler.
He says they’ve found a temple with signs of Unown in it and he should come to the site right away. Spencer agrees, tucks Molly into bed and bids her goodbye while telling her that he loves her and to keep him close in her dreams.
Well, he’s a goner.
Seriously, even if I hadn’t seen the movie before, a picture-perfect scene of family togetherness like that can only result in his instant disappearance or death. It’s just a given.
As the scene pans out, we see a picture of Spencer and Molly with Delia and a younger Ash implying that they are pretty good friends with the two….I have no clue why this picture is in Molly’s room. Keeping that picture on her desk next to a picture of her family must mean that it means a lot to her, but she doesn’t recognize Ash or Delia at all later. Spencer was pretty good friends with Delia, but I doubt Ash and Molly were good enough friends to do that.
Also, there’s only a two year gap between Molly and Ash according to the Wiki. Must be quite the growth spurt between 8 and 10 in the Pokemon world because I assumed she was like 6. In addition, if they’re so close why do we never see these characters again ever? Alright, I’m just confusing myself. Let’s move on.
Spencer arrives at the dig site, and it is indeed a pristine Unown temple. Spencer finds some tiles with Unown markings on them, which triggers the presence of the Unown who promptly kidnap him.
This is another thing that bothers me. In the dub, the explanation for Molly’s mom’s disappearance and supposedly Spencer’s fixation on the Unown is that she went missing while investigating the Unown too (Again, this is based on outside sources and largely assumptions as the movie doesn’t explain practically anything of her mother). Why do the Unown keep taking people? And if they do just randomly take people who touch their tiles, why did Molly get fairy godmother treatment instead? Sure, they were basically holding her in their dream world, but she wished to be there.
Schuyler and their butler or whoever that is tell Molly the bad news. Molly actually tries to investigate what happened to her dad by looking through his laptop….Shouldn’t the police have that? Oh right, cops in the Pokemon world. They’re sure helpful. They’re probably collaborating with the Gotham Police department on the case of how to continue to get other people to do their jobs for them. How long has it been since he disappeared? Because it seems like they just up and stopped looking for him the night after it happened.
She spots pictures of the Unown on his computer and drops the priceless ancient artifact on the floor to play blocks with the also priceless Unown tiles. She spells out ‘Papa’ ‘Mama’ and ‘Me’ with the tiles in Scrabble fashion and this prompts the floating Alphabits to appear.
It’s at this point where I really feel compelled to mention that the CGI for the Unown is just blech. Every other instance of CGI looks quite nice, but it’s like they didn’t put as much effort into the Unown. They look like Gamecube graphics….which might make sense considering when this was made and what company owns the system….
They start turning everything to crystal because…I really don’t understand what the Unown do at all. I guess they’re allowed to be confusing because that’s their namesake and whatnot, but if there’s one general problem about this whole movie it’s that the Unown don’t make much sense in what they’re doing or why.
Remembering her father’s words on the Legendary Pokemon and looking at the picture book on the page with Entei, she strongly wishes that her father would return. A dream Entei appears to grant her wish. I really love Entei. It’s one of my favorite Legendaries. Just seems like a really cool and majestic lion.
The entire mansion is soon covered in crystal and we get our title screen. It’s really nicely done, but I should note something. 4Kids decided to add a little plate at the bottom of Spell of the Unown that says ‘Entei’ in Unown letters. That’s fine and dandy, and it is kinda neat that they spelled it in Unown letters, but…I guess…Why? I know I said Entei seems like the more prominent Legendary (Unown aren’t even Legendary, technically) in the movie, but he’s still not part of the given English title.
Hey, including the short, it’s been nearly a half hour. Isn’t it about time we got Dumbash and friends? Yes! We see Ash, Misty and Brock continuing on to Theyreallyneverspecifiywherethey’regoinginanyofthemoviesland.
Narrator: “As they travel into unknown territory.” HAHA! I get it! Unknown and Unown! It’s funny!
Ash and the others run into another Trainer, Lisa voiced by Lisa Ortiz. I’m actually more bothered by the fact that they specifically named this chick Lisa when she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz than I am by the fact that she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz.
I do like her hat, though.
She challenges Ash to a battle, he accepts, and we get our movie theme song version of ‘Pokemon Johto.’ I really like this theme and the battle is set very well to the music.
Ash calls out Totodile while Lisa calls out a Granbull, but Granbull gets beaten by one Water Gun. Also, Ash and Totodile do an almost cheesy high-five in sunlight shot.
Next up, Ash calls on, *sigh*, Chikorita, who obviously snuggles Ash before battling while Lisa calls out a Girafarig. After a bit of battling, Girafarig defeats it with a Psybeam.
Ash calls out his Noctowl while Lisa uses her own little partner Pokemon, Aipom, but it seems like Aipom doesn’t have those almighty partner Pokemon deus ex machina powers like Pikachu because it gets beaten with one Tackle.
Lisa calls out Butterfree while Ash calls out Bulbasaur and he easily gets beaten with a Sleep Powder and Gust combo. Wow, it’s not a good day to be a Grass type apparently.
Cyndaquil’s up next, and he’s up against a Mankey. Hehe, hey Mankey, steal Ash’s hat!
The match goes to Cyndaquil with a shot of Flamethrower.
If there’s one thing that kinda bothers me about these theme song battles it’s that, because they have to fit in the time frame of 2-3 minutes, all of the matches are incredibly short and almost unrealistically won. Doesn’t help that they’re commonly 6v6 battles either.
Uh oh. It’s a tie. I wonder if Messiahchu can win! Messiahchu is matched up fairly badly as Lisa’s final Pokemon is the doofy Quagsire. Pfft. Considering Pikachu’s beaten Onix, Golem, Rhydon, Nosepass and all sorts of other Ground types with irritatingly little issue, I can’t see this–
*one failed Thundershock later*
Alright, I’m confused on so many levels.
Pikachu tries to physically battle instead, to no real avail, until it launches itself off of a nearby swingset and headbutts Quagsire in really funny shot.
The Wiki says this match ended in a draw (which, if that’s true, is a rarity) but this last shot is set up like Pikachu won because it stood standing, albeit wobbly, longer than Quagsire did. Ash is cheering in the end, so it just seems like they’re implying that he won.
They have lunch together, and Misty states that their match was the fifth battle Ash has had this week. Wow, five battles in a week!? That’s almost like training and work!
Misty asks where the nearest Pokemon Center is, and Lisa replies that there’s one in a nearby town called Greenfield. Misty’s super excited to go to Greenfield since it’s supposed to be incredibly beautiful, but when they arrive they find that the entire town is covered in the Unown’s crystal. Also, there’s a sloppy zoom-in during this scene…and Team Rocket’s here.
Cut to a news crew who is talking about the phenomenon, and they also mention that Spencer’s wife did indeed disappear, but we move away from the TV before we can hear how or where. It was supposedly two years ago, though.
We see Delia watching the news. When she hears that Spencer’s house is in the midst of it, she rushes to the fridge and peels off a bunch of papers to reveal the same picture that Molly has in her room.
Hm. Molly keeps that picture framed in her room on her desk, Delia keeps the picture pinned on the fridge under Chinese restaurant menus, grocery lists and likely a big sign that says ‘REMIND ASH TO WEAR CLEAN UNDERWEAR EVERYDAY.’ That’s a contrast right there.
We cut to Professor Oak, who is also watching the news with Not-Brock, and he talks about how Spencer was his best student. Supposedly Delia was also his student according to some online sources, which is how Spencer and Delia were friends, but seeing as how her knowledge on the Pokemon world is extremely limited and she seems like an airhead, I can’t imagine she was a good student. I don’t know what she was studying for, either. Did she want to be a Researcher?
Also, we get this screenshot littered with broken English, which I’m not sure I can blame 4Kids for.
…Dammit, I have to peak at the Japanese version.
Nope it’s the original’s fault. You win this round, 4Kids. But, trust me, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to mock you in the future. Still, what happened there, TPC? There’s really no reason to put that text into English. I know they’re wary of using Japanese at this point and people can’t read Poke-ese, but if you felt the need to make that snippet English, at least pay for a proofreader.
Delia arrives and asks Oak if he’s seen the news. He says yes and that he’s planning to go to the scene to investigate. Delia says she’s going too because she’s worried about Molly. Here’s hoping Oak actually does investigate some stuff and be useful instead of just spouting science babble that makes no impact to the plot.
They arrive at the scene and meet up with Ash and the others. I love how blasé Delia is about first seeing Ash. I think the ten-year-old kid that you only see like once or twice a year warrants more than an ‘Oh hi honey’ when you randomly bump into him.
Molly sees Ash and Delia hugging on the news because that’s really vital to put on the air right? Town turning to crystal? Bo-ring. Turn the camera to the people who have nothing to do with this occurrence hugging! The ratings will go through the roof!
Molly looks at her pictures and tells Entei that she wants a Mama too. Entei says he’ll grant her wish, and we cut back to Ash and the others who are…eating lunch? How many lunches do you people need?
Delia and Ash talk about how Spencer used to live in Pallet Town before he went off to be a Pokemon Researcher and moved to Greenfield. They visited once two years ago which is where the picture of them came from. I find it hilarious that Oak taught Spencer yet he lives in a small research facility in Pallet Town and Spencer goes off to live in a huge mansion in the most beautiful town in Johto shortly after he becomes a Researcher.
Ash says he somewhat remembers them, which I actually think contradicts a later line where he tells Molly that they used to play together all the time when they were little. That’s also in contradiction to saying they only visited once.
Entei comes down from the mansion and hypnotizes Delia into being Molly’s Mama.
He kidnaps her and Pikachu tries to stop him, but to no avail. Wow, Pikachu’s sucking today.
Ash also tries to pursue Entei, but Brock stops him because he thinks it’s too dangerous.
I’m a little confused again. The Unown had no trouble making Molly an Entei Papa, why did he need to kidnap Delia to make her a mother? All she asked for was a mother – and in both of the pictures her real mother is there, so why not make a fake version of her real mother…In Pokemon form, I guess? He also could’ve made a fake Delia.
Explanation: Unown – we don’t need a reason to do stuff.
I’m also a little confused as to Molly’s delusions. It’s somewhat understandable that she believes that her dad came back to her in the form of an Entei, but she believes her mom is Delia? Is this part of the Unown’s powers or is she just going
A hypnotized Delia has accepted Molly as her child and now they’re all a big happy family. After a quick scene explaining things we already know back at the lab, we cut to the Charicific Valley where we see Liza watching the news report of Delia’s abduction with Charla (Huh, I’m just now realizing that’s another character voiced by Lisa Ortiz that has basically the exact same name.) Outside the window, Ash’s Charizard watches the report and looks up into the sky.
Cut back to Greenfield where it’s now nighttime, and someone with a bulldozer is trying to plow through the crystal fields. However, Molly won’t stand for that and demands that they leave them alone. Her declaration causes the Unown to become more powerful. They knock the bulldozer away and cover it with even stronger crystals.
Back at the lab, we get more stuff we already know until Oak gets an email from Molly which contains a video file of her warning them to stay away from the mansion and leave them alone.
Cut back to the mansion where we see Molly riding around her room on Entei who actually looks like he’s smiling. This is a really adorable yet also very sad scene. It’s cute because of what they’re doing, but it’s also sad because she’s trying to mirror what she did with her actual father and seeing it from a third-person perspective just showcases the sad state of the delusion she’s in.
Ash is fed up with waiting and decides to run off to the mansion on his own, but Misty and Brock soon follow behind. Lisa stops them to give them her Pokegear so that he can communicate with Professor Oak while he’s there. And now Lisa can leave because she’s served her only functions of battling Ash for the opener and giving him the Pokegear.
Is this our first sighting of Pokegear in the series? Since Ash doesn’t know what it is, I’ll presume it is.
They go through the unaffected stream to get to the mansion….since no one ever thought to do that before now. I have no clue why this crystal stuff doesn’t affect water.
Explanation: Unown – We don’t like water. We’re part cat, I guess.
We cut to Team Rocket following them in their balloon. They believe since Ash and the others are going into the mansion, there must be valuable Pokemon in there….Well, okay. I’m not going to expect Team Rocket to think of anything beyond food, digging holes, building insane contraptions and valuable Pokemon. They also have some fairly humorous banter involving how Meowth hears the word ‘wading’.
Entei spots them and blasts them out of the sky, but they, surprisingly, don’t really blast off, they just sorta fall and crash into the crystal and end up in some weird part of the mansion.
Entei doesn’t notice when people are just walking up the least protected part of the mansion?
Molly and Delia are watching the news as Entei returns, and we see that Ash is using Bulbasaur and Chikorita’s vine whip to climb up the stream into the mansion. Delia watches, but isn’t really reacting since she’s under the Unown’s power, until Ash suddenly slips.
Delia suddenly snaps out of her trace state and freaks out that Ash is doing something so dangerous. Molly asks why she’s upset, but Delia just pretends that everything’s alright.
Ash and the others make their way through the mansion when Oak calls on the Pokegear. He’s upset that they left suddenly and without telling him, but decides to help him find his mother either way.
He relays more information about the Unown and how they can read the thoughts and dreams of people and create their own realities, which they seem to have been doing for Molly…..Still doesn’t explain why they kidnapped Spencer and his wife, but whatever. Maybe they dreamed to be kidnapped.
Ash tries to break through a crystal structure with Cyndaquil’s Flamethrower, but they soon realize that the damage closes up instantly. One of them, surprisingly, decides to be smart. They come up with the plan of using Cyndaquil and Vulpix to burn a big hole in the crystal then using Staryu and Totodile’s Water Gun to keep it open. It works, and they make it through.
That’s another reason I really like this movie. Many of the Pokemon, even ones from Misty and Brock, are actually getting plenty of stuff to do instead of making slight cameos in the opening or just being let out for no reason like in the first movie. And what they’re doing is actually needed and makes sense.
As they make their way upstairs, the Unown change the reality again and make the staircase into a bunch of floating panels that lead into a room that looks like a beautiful meadow.
Cut back to Team Rocket where they discover the room with the Unown but nothing really happens.
James: “I haven’t seen this many strange letters since the last time I placed a personal ad.” Haha! Team Rocket’s actually getting some good lines today.
Molly’s still watching the news (yeah, kid, you have a pet Entei and an entire alternate reality that you have complete control over all to yourself, but watch the news for five hours. That’s much more interesting.) and she believes that Ash and the others are in the mansion. Entei asks if she wants him to send them away, but Molly, knowing that Ash is a Pokemon Trainer, decides that she wants to battle them instead.
She dreams of being a Trainer, and Entei disappears with a fake version-ish-maybe-her-consciousness-I-dunno of Molly who suggests that she might not be not old enough for Pokemon. Entei tells her to believe that she is, and she magically transforms into a teenager. The minimum for being a Pokemon Trainer is supposed to be ten years old, but sure why not?
Teenage Molly confronts Ash and the others for a battle, but Ash just wants to know where his mom is. They realize that the teenager is actually Molly and Ash accepts her challenge, but Brock decides to battle in his place so they can find Ash’s mom while he staves her off.
Molly dreams up a battlefield and they begin their battle. Brock uses Zubat while Molly uses a dream Flaafy. Brock gets the upperhand with Confusion, but Zubat gets felled by a Thundershock.
Next up, Brock uses his Vulpix and Molly calls out a dream Teddiursa.
Brock: “Figures a cute Pokemon Trainer would have a cute Pokemon.” GAH! Brock! She’s still eight years old, you sick bastard!
They’re pretty even for a bit, but Teddiursa wins by I guess a Fury Swipes or Tackle, it’s hard to tell. Technically this match should be over since they’re only dealing in one-on-one matches with no previous Pokemon continuing on into proceeding matches, meaning Brock already lost, but they keep going anyway.
Brock: “Guess if I want any chance at beating you, I better really start to rock and roll. *releases Onix*” Hehehe, get it? Because Onix is made of rocks? Hahaha! LAUGH!
Brock: “And using Onix is just how I like to rock and roll.” YES. We understood your pun. Thank. You. Brock.
Molly calls out her dream Phanpy who Rollouts towards Onix and flings it across the battlefield. I’ll just take these physics books and burn them.
Misty and Ash make it up into Molly’s next reality, a beach covered in red flowers.
Dream Molly appears, indicating that Brock lost. Molly asks which one of them wants to challenge her next, and Misty steps up to the challenge declaring that she used to be the Gym Leader of Cerulean City. Molly then realizes that you don’t have to be an adult to be a Gym Leader so she turns herself into a ten year old for some reason. I guess there really is a growth spurt between eight and ten because now she’s just as tall as Misty, basically.
Misty tells Ash to go on ahead to find his mom. He agrees and runs off while Misty stays to battle. She says she’ll only use Water Pokemon since she’s a Water Pokemon Trainer, and Molly agrees that she’ll do the same.
She then takes the water from the dream ocean and floods the whole floor for the battle, but since it’s a dream world they can breathe and even talk under the water. This is a really cool part of the movie. I’d love to see more themed battle arenas like this outside of Gyms, but this whole ‘breathing underwater’ thing is obviously a one-shot.
Molly calls out a dream Kingdra while Misty calls out GOLDEEN!? GOLDEEN’S IN A BATTLE! QUICK, SOMEONE TAKE A PICTURE!
Despite its efforts, Goldeen loses from a Headbutt. Because why would anything good happen to Goldeen?
Team Rocket pops up again, breaking the fourth wall by Meowth asking if they’re going to get a bigger part in the next movie. Your part in the last movie was bigger than most of the regular side characters – quit whining.
Misty calls out Staryu while Molly calls out a dream Mantine. It catches Staryu in a Whirlpool, but Misty cancels it out by having Staryu use Rapid Spin. They then have a battle of Take Downs vs. Tackles and we cut back to Ash who finally finds his mom in Molly’s room.
Delia: “I’d like to know where you got such a reckless streak.”
Ash: “Well, I guess I got it from you.”
Considering we have no clue who Ash’s dad is, that probably is the only explanation. Also, considering Delia went off in a helicopter though a natural disaster on the off-chance Ash was in the midst of it all, yeah, that’s probably likely.
Ash gets Delia up to speed on what’s going on and Delia wakes Molly up. She tells her the truth about how she’s not really Molly’s mother and that she’s really Ash’s mother. She’s shocked at this, which is still confusing to me.
Maybe it’s possible that she confused Delia with her real mom since they’re in the pictures together, but that would indicate that she doesn’t remember what her real mom looks like. She’s only been gone for two years, so I’m not sure how plausible that is.
Delia and Ash try to get Molly to leave with them, but Molly doesn’t want to go. She freaks out, which causes the Unown to go crazy as well. They create huge spikes of crystal all around Molly’s room and separate Ash and Delia. Entei returns to see what’s going on, and Molly alerts him to the fact that Ash is taking Delia away.
While trying to get his mom out, another huge spike separates Ash and Delia completely while Entei confronts Ash.
Sooooo….I’m guessing Misty lost? That was all we got for her battle? One and a half matches? We never even saw the outcome of Mantine vs. Staryu. Since Molly’s dream Pokemon are so unreasonably strong, she was probably doomed to lose anyway, but I still would’ve liked to have seen the full battle. Especially when you’re in such a cool battle environment as that. How disappointing. 😦
That actually means that Poliwhirl and Psyduck, Misty’s most-seen Pokemon outside of Togepi, don’t get shown in this movie. Weird.
Ash challenges Entei to a battle and uses Totodile, but it’s quickly defeated by Entei’s weird purple energy ball attack things.
Next up, Ash uses Cyndaquil. Yes, use a base evo Fire starter to beat a Fire Legendary. That won’t fail miserably or anything.
After that fails miserably, Ash makes Molly upset by vehemently stating that Entei is just an illusion. Due to her outburst, the Unown create even more spikes, and Entei charges at Ash. Pikachu tries to fight off Entei, but ultimately doesn’t do more than just just stave off its attacks and run. Entei gets in one good shot and blasts Ash and Pikachu out through the wall, sending them to a fifty story fall.
Well, they’re dead.
Could it be?!
Yes! It’s Charizard to save them in the completely unrealistic and insanely convenient nick of time. Awh but we forgive him mostly because that was awesome and everyone loves Charizard. Plus this means Entei vs. Charizard. Hell yes.
Charizard and Entei fight for a bit and nearly knock Ash out of the gaping hole in the wall again.
Well, he’s dead.
Could it be!?
Yes! It’s Misty, Brock and Team Rocket making a human chain to save the day. Congratulations Team Rocket, that is the only thing you’ve done this entire movie. Seriously, all they’ve done is walk around.
They also mention that the reason that they saved Ash was because if anything ever happened to him they’d be out of show business. While this is yet another instance of breaking the fourth wall, I can’t say they don’t have a point. If the creators of Pokemon ever decided to ditch Ash in lieu of someone else, I can bet you anything Team Rocket wouldn’t be there. Their whole shtick relies on Ash and Pikachu. Unless Ash handed off Pikachu to someone else, they’d be out of a job TV-wise.
Through all the examples of friends and family, Ash tries to convince Molly to come with them, even offering the chance to have real Pokemon. However, Molly still won’t believe them and freaks out again, prompting Entei to go on the offensive.
They have a really awesome battle, probably one of if not the coolest and best choreographed ones I’ve seen in Pokemon to date. That coupled with the really good cinematography makes this look amazing.
Entei eventually knocks Ash and Charizard out of this sky and pins Charizard’s neck with intent to kill him with an energy blast…..Damn. Things just got real….or imaginary. I’m not sure anymore!
Molly steps forward and tells him to stop, which he immediately does. Molly runs up and hugs Entei while pleading for him to stop the fighting. Entei looks gently at Molly and removes his foot from Charizard’s neck.
Brock and the others praise Molly for her wise choice.
Brock: “A big part of battling, is knowing when to stop.” We interrupt this movie for deja vu from the first movie, and kinda from way back in the Boulder Badge episode, really.
And now back to our feature presentation.
Misty tells Molly that she could easily be a Gym Leader in the future if she truly wanted to, and they try to convince her to go with them including one more cheesy line from Brock about friendship being real.
She’s still not sure, but Delia extends her hand to Molly and says that her papa would want her to go with them. Molly slowly walks towards Delia, grabs her hand and quietly wishes for everything to be real once more.
The crystals start to go away in response to Molly’s wish, and Entei starts to walk away as well. Molly asks where he’s going, and Entei responds that he was created to be her father and make her happy in the reality made by the Unown. If she’d rather be in the outside world, he can’t stay with her.
Suddenly, the crystal starts reappearing in droves and surrounds them with spikes. Entei makes them a path to the exit with his energy blasts and the group tries to make their escape.
Back at the Pokemon Center lab thing, Oak tells Ash and the others that the Unown have generated so much psychic energy in granting all of Molly’s wishes that they can no longer control it. If Ash and the others don’t get away from the crystal soon, they’ll be trapped in the Unown’s reality forever.
They continue to escape, but we see that all of Greenfield is being covered in the crystal as well. The only way to stop it is by stopping the Unown.
They find the Unown, and you will never, ever guess what Ash decides to do when he gets there.
A) Develop a sophisticated plan of draining the Unown of their power.
B) Want to have a Pokemon battle with them to see if he can defeat them and stop them from getting out of control.
C) Create a way to contain the Unown’s psychic powers through the use of thoughtful ingenuity
D) Charge headfirst into the cluster of Unown like a braindead antelope.
If you answered D, you obviously know our little Dumbash very well.
I mean, what the hell? Is this becoming a movie staple or something? First, he does this to Mewtwo in the first movie, then he does it to a cage that can restrain a Legendary in the second and now this. Ash, sweetie, you are not a Pokemon. And even if you were, your Tackle attack sucks!
He hits a psychic barrier because he’s a dimwit, and then he calls on Charizard to try to blast through it. He seems to succeed, but ends up getting blown back by the psychic energy.
Pikachu, in an effort to not suck for once in this entire movie, tries to do the same. He also enjoys a degree of success for a bit but gets blown back. What’s wrong with you today, Messiahchu? Did they nerf you in the movie patch? He and Charizard then try to blast the barrier together, but still fail.
Entei returns with a roar (awesome) and starts blasting the crystal away. He jumps down and tells Molly that he was happy to be her father for the time that he was able to be, and the last thing that he can do for her is help her get out of the Unown’s reality. Molly asks how he can do it and Entei responds that he was created from her dreams, and if she believes in him there’s nothing he can’t do.
This may sound corny, and it is, but this is actually a rare occasion where “you just gotta belieeeeevvvveee” actually makes a lot of sense.
Entei’s right. He was created from the Unown’s power to grant Molly wishes. This entire reality was made to sate Molly’s wishes. If Molly believes in Entei, wishes he had the power to beat the Unown, then it’s perfectly logical that the wish would be granted and he’d actually be able to overpower them.
Molly gives Entei some encouragement, acknowledging him as Entei and not as her father. After some struggling, he shoots off a different blue and, might I add, pretty energy blast into the cluster of Unown, stopping them immediately.
Entei bids his farewell to Molly and damn, this movie still tugs at my heartstrings. I’m gonna miss you too, Entei. 😦
As he disappears, so do the Unown and all of the crystal that has covered the mansion and Greenfield. We also see Spencer being returned to the temple. Still don’t know why they took him to begin with. Guess the explanation will always be *sunglasses* Unknown.
The group gazes in awe at the beauty of Greenfield, and Professor Oak and the others arrive to meet them. As they greet each other, Molly sees a cloud in the shape of Entei in the sky and dammit movie, stop it! I’m going to cry!
Our last scene is Team Rocket stating that they’re stuck in the mansion because there’s too many police outside and after some blah blah, they bid everyone goodbye by saying Team Rocket’s fading out again…..Which, they shouldn’t be doing directly out that window because the cops will see them.
We start our credits, but unlike the other movies, the end credits actually continue the story a little bit. We see Molly and her father reuniting at the mansion, Ash and the others bidding goodbye to Charizard (for now anyway) and then the group saying goodbye to Lisa.
We do get our regular miscellaneous shots of fields and the group traveling. We also see Oak and Tracey at the lab, Delia and Mr. Mime at home…Wait, it was more vital to see them saying goodbye to Lisa than his mom? That’s just rude.
We cut back to the mansion where Molly is playing around with a real Teddiursa, that I guess she might own, when Spencer comes out to meet her, and he’s not alone. He brings out Molly’s mother and it stands that this whole mother thing is the most confusing thing about this movie.
I’ve read that the dub explanation, as I stated, was her disappearing from the powers of the Unown since she was also researching them, but they couldn’t have been the same Unown from that temple or else she would’ve been released where Spencer was. Is she emotionally scarred from being in Unown purgatory for over two years?
Keep in mind, I didn’t get any of this from watching the movie even for this review. All they ever stated was her mother went missing and it was extremely slightly hinted upon that Unown may have had something to do with it. If I never looked it up, I never would’ve guessed that was the reason.
In fact, when I first saw this movie, the best I could assume was that her mother was either on a long trip or randomly missing and suddenly found. Her mother could’ve been completely omitted from the movie and I never would’ve cared or questioned it.
In terms of ending themes, this is the first time that we only get one lyrical song for our ending, Innosense’s ‘To Know the Unknown,’ and I really love this song. I have it on my iPod, I sing along to it. It’s really nice. The only other song is gentle piano music that I think is Molly’s theme or something, and that is really nice as well. It’s very calming.
Bottom line: I do have my problems with this movie, but they’re not really important, and I stand by my statement in saying that this is my favorite Pokemon movie ever. It may be one of my favorite movies period.
The art is crisper, the animation is better, while some shots may still be shaky, and the backgrounds are lovely. The CGI is actually really great barring the Unown. The cinematography and battle choreography were fantastic.
Ash is really tolerable in this movie, too. He actually thinks for a change, has good ideas and all he really wants is his mother back. Okay, he’s insanely stupid once, but he’s Ash, he has a stupid quota to fill.
Misty and Brock not only get stuff to do, but they get to friggin’ battle. I think that’s the first time in any movie that they’ve actually battled. Granted, you only saw half of Misty’s cool underwater battle, which is kinda a ripoff, but still. Delia even gets plenty to do, though I do find it weird that we never saw a scene with her and Spencer considering they were supposed to be such good friends.
The only ones who really did nothing this entire movie was Team Rocket. You could bring up that scene with the human chain rescue, but come on, they weren’t all needed to pull Ash back up. He’s a spindly ten year old boy not the Blob. Misty and Brock probably would’ve sufficed on their own.
Molly is also a very likable character. She’s a believable little kid without being whiny or bratty and you really feel bad about her situation even if she’s inadvertently causing chaos. I wish we had gotten to see more of her and Spencer in the series, but I guess they’re doomed to the fate of 99.8% of CotDs.
Entei is one of my favorite Legendaries and Dan Green did a fantastic job voicing him. The relationship between Entei and Molly is very believable, cute and sad at the same time. You can really tell that Entei truly loved Molly and Molly truly loved him even if he wasn’t her real father.
I’ll be a grouch here and doubt that they ever made another movie as good as this one. Granted, I’ve only seen movies 1-7 at this point, but they’d be really hard-pressed to impress me anymore than they did with this movie.
Recommended Audience: It’s Pokemon. It’s 4Kids. It’s not Scarface.
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