Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 04: Pokemon 4Ever – Celebi Voice of the Forest (Dub) Review

Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: A boy named Sam (who is totally not Professor Oak) is transported 40 years to the future (Ash and the gang’s present) by the legendary Celebi after outrunning a Pokemon hunter. While trying to find a way back to his time, Sam, Ash and the others have to deal with a new threat who wants to use Celebi for malicious means.

Breakdown: Okay, I’m going to address something that might be confusing to some people reading this—why I don’t bother talking about the American posters for the Pokemon movies. I’ve been making it a habit to analyze the Japanese ones simply because they, for some reason, tend to be bad with the first being downright deplorable. However, the American ones have always been fantastic, in my opinion. The first was simple, yet effective with Mew and Mewtwo facing off and the, at the time, entire roster of Pokemon behind them.

In movie 02, they actually made what is my favorite Pokemon poster with the Pokeball like a planet, Ash’s (? Is that even Ash? He actually looks more like Red…) silhouette with his Pokeball to the sky and surrounded by tons of Pokemon under the legends. That was just fantastic.

The third movie’s was somewhat ripping off the Japanese poster with Entei’s picture, but it was changed up plenty to actually mirror one of the best scenes from the movie.

All of the American posters have gotten rid of the clipart clutter and the pointless additions and have made great posters that I never felt the need to bring up….

Until now.

What is this? Celebi’s fine. The ripple effect is fine. The lake shot is fine. What is Ash standing on? He’s floating in mid-air or he’s simultaneously standing on an also-floating Suicune and Celebi.

Why is he making that pose? With his hat backwards, that means that’s his capture pose.

Why is IMM almost microscopic, and why is he standing on his spider robot like that?

Why are they showing the God-awful grass monster thing?

Let’s address that title, eh? Pokemon 4Ever? Gee, 4Kids, you must think you’re clever as all hell for not only replacing a part of a word with a number, but also recycling the same for=4 joke thing from your own goddamn name. Ending any title with ‘Forever’ just seems lame anyway.

Though I did praise the poster designers for getting rid of clutter, there’s one character who kinda needed to be in this poster…..Ya know, Sam. The guy who’s supposed to be the other main character? I mean, his spot on the Japanese poster is depressingly small, but at least he was there. He gets nada in America.

Here’s where we kinda start falling off of the nostalgia wagon a bit. I never watched Pokemon movie 04 in theaters simply because it never showed in any theaters close enough to me. And, according to Bulbagarden, that’s not surprising.

Miramax released the movie theatrically in an extremely limited manner, and those theaters that did have the movie never kept it for more than a couple weeks, if that. In addition, this was hindered even further by the fact that they did no advertising for it. In fact, the first time I even found out there was a fourth movie was because I saw a commercial for the DVD release.

Also, while looking at the wiki I found that this movie was a box office bomb (though I knew that much from Dogasu who justified it because of the extremely poor marketing and theatrical release strategy.) but was also critically hated and panned by fans as well. Ouch.

I soon went out and bought the DVD and I never got much into the movie. I like Celebi and Suicune and everything, but after loving movie 03 so much, it just seemed to be not very impressive. Especially with the blech-y CGI. Apparently, this is Dogasu’s favorite of the movies thusfar alongside movie 05 so maybe I’ll see it in a better light once I’m done rewatching it for this review.

By the way, am I the only one kinda pissed at how Raikou was sufficiently snubbed in these movies? Entei gets a whole movie to himself, Suicune gets a significant part here and what does Raikou get? A special three-part episode in Pokemon Chronicles – that series people watched just to see the usually forgotten side characters left behind (IE the BetterThanAsh squad) actually do stuff on their own without Ash. The main characters of the arc he was in, The Legend of Thunder, didn’t even include any known characters – it was three completely new characters made up for those specific episodes. Poor Raikou.

There’s a very significant change between the two versions that I was debating on bringing up here or in the sub review. I would usually bring it up in the sub review, but let’s just address this incredible moment of utmost stupidity that shows that 4Kids thinks so little of their audience that they are actually willing to lose their precious money, quite a lot of it in fact, to shove a plot point into the faces of the audience. But more on that later.

For more information sub dub comparison wise, see the link to Dogasu’s comparison here. http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/movies/mov04.html

And now let’s get on with the show!

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We start with narration from Brock for some reason (Brock killed the other narrator! CALL THE POLICE!) giving us the regular ‘World of Pokemon’ schtick as we see a bunch of Pokemon. I recall this part of the movie specifically because it is one of the extremely rare times you ever see Porygon. Yes, the Pokemon so banned that even its evo stages are sufficiently banned from being shown in the series. They might appear for a second or two, like Porygon does here, but they will never be given spotlight in the show ever again………Even though the whole episode 38 incident was Pikachu’s fault and thus HE should be banned. Ya know, I joke about Messiahchu because he’s so glorified, but if anything Porygon and its evos sacrificed itself for the sake of the show’s mascot. Everyone salute!

The Wiki makes a weird note about this shot – Porygon’s the only Pokemon to be shown behind a chain link fence. What’s that note supposed to imply? That they purposely put Porygon behind the fence to make a statement about the character? “Oh yeah, we let Porygon in this shot, but it’s behind a fence, guys! Don’t worry! You can’t get seizures through a fence! DON’T SUE US!”

After going through the motions of the World of Pokemon opener, we get Ash’s backstory…..Why? I’m all for sprucing up the old footage, but if you’re watching the fourth Pokemon movie, chances are you know Ash’s backstory by heart.

And let me get my nitpicky gloves on. Ahem, Ash wasn’t wearing his regular attire when he got Pikachu. He was wearing his pajamas because he woke up late. In fact, that’s actually somewhat important because he only got Pikachu instead of the Squirtle he wanted because he slept late and was only able to get a leftover Pokemon instead of the three main starters. Yet they actually remember that Pikachu’s Pokeball has a little lightning bolt on it.

I love how they completely omit the fact that Pikachu was a little turdmuffin when he first met Ash. Can’t tarnish Messiahchu’s rep.

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Our actual start is in the (Obviously CGI) forest (Because trees need to be CGI) with Celebi being chased by a Houndoom 40 years in the past. Celebi is then pursued by a Scyther and actually gets hit.

We cut to a boy traveling through the forest as he comes across a mysterious tunnel in the path. He is halted by a woman with green hair who tells him the story of the voice of the forest – a spirit who travels through time. She says that the time travel of the voice of the forest is noted by a peculiar sound and if you hear the sound you should stop in your tracks because if it sees you it could whisk you away through time. The boy, Sam, thanks her for her advice and says he’ll be careful. They part ways but not before she gives him a loaf of berry bread as a snack.

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Mmm, bread covered in gravel on top of leaves. Just like grandma used to make.

Cut back to Celebi’s chase scene where it’s being overpowered by the Houndoom and Scyther who are under the control of a Pokemon hunter. Celebi escapes once more and cries out loudly.

Back with Sam, who has stopped to sketch some things, he hears Celebi’s cries and sees the Pokemon of the forest running away in fright. The pursuit rushes in front of him. He runs towards the three just in time to see Scyther and Houndoom pinning Celebi down. He tries to yell at the Pokemon to leave Celebi alone, but Houndoom shoots a Flamethrower at him to make him leave. Angered by this, Celebi wraps the two up in vines and weakly floats to Sam’s arms.

The Pokemon hunter shows up and demands that he hand Celebi over explaining in unneeded detail what he is and what a Pokemon hunter does. Because of course he’d hand over Celebi after learning he basically enslaves Pokemon and auctions them off to the highest bidder. Sam runs off, but suddenly stumbles. Celebi activates its time travel abilities and whisks them away to the future!

We zoom out of the scene and it turns into a framed picture of the forest. We’re introduced to an older version of the Pokemon Hunter being harassed by some guy in a helmet who is actually the villain of our story…..the *sigh* Iron-Masked Marauder. I don’t really have that many qualms against this guy – he’s more memorable, interesting and threatening than Lawrence ever was, but why, 4Kids? Why the Iron-Masked Marauder? Were you going for a ‘pro-wrestler’ vibe? Because that’s what I’m getting.

He’s trying to get information on Celebi from the Pokemon hunter, but he won’t give it up. Hulk Hogan decides to persuade him by releasing one of the Pokemon the hunter captured, a Tyranitar, from its cage and using a dark ball on him.

A dark ball is a creation of Macho Man Randy Savage where not only does it automatically put any Pokemon you catch under your control (and maybe have a catching ability rivaling that of Master balls – also maybe ignoring that a Pokemon is already captured by someone else) but it also increases their strength to max level. Wow, that’s really OP. Glad they’re never seen or mentioned outside of this movie.

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He works for Team Rocket, and they have something like this? Why have they not utilized and mass produced them? They would take over the world in a fortnight. Oh right, Team Rocket actually do something in the anime. Hah.

The now evil Tyranitar is commanded to Hyper Beam the place to ruins, even possibly killing the other captive Pokemon, and in the midst of the destruction the hunter gives up the location of where he found Celebi 40 years ago. Boy, I sure do hope Celebi didn’t travel to this exact time because that would be a heap of trouble.

We get our title screen and I gotta say this is probably 4Kids weakest title screen attempt so far. The animations on the vines look cheap, like something you’d see on an e-card, and the actual title itself is presented like a title of a TV show episode not a movie. Also the 4EVER crap looks twice as dumb in huge bold 3D lettering.…

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Hey, Subtitle! Get out of Lugia’s turf!

Wait, title screen!? That means! YAY DUMBASH AND FRIENDS!

This time, Brock and Misty are separated from Ash as they wait at a ferry that will be taking them to their next destination; Don’ttellthemwherethey’regoingbecausethatwouldestablishwhenthismovietakesplace town.

The ferry is about to leave and Ash is going to miss it, so Brock sends out his Crobat to find him. Cut over to Ash who is about to have a Pokemon battle with an Australian trainer….named Dundee. Really bringing your A game in the name department today, huh 4Kids? His Wiki page seems to justify this because he has a Croconaw but no, screw that. Drastically changing a character for no reason on the flimsy basis that he has a crocodile Pokemon? Ya know what? Ash has a mouse Pokemon. Better name him Walt Disney!

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I really hate when they set up scenes that very obviously show them in battle stances yet their first dialogue is like they’re meeting that very second, never introduced themselves and didn’t even realize they were going to have a battle.

Dundee chooses his Croconaw and Ash chooses, who else, Pikachu, and we get our altered theme song for the movie, ‘Born to be a Winner’. I always liked Born to be a Winner, and this movie version is pretty good….though I honestly could’ve done without the out of place record scratches.

The battle is rather boring for a movie battle. However, Ash does take this opportunity to prove his dumbness again because, after throwing Croconaw through the air and having him crash into Dundee, leaving both of them on the ground, Ash decides to Thundershock as a final blow. Hitting when the Pokemon is down is low enough, but he actually ends up shocking Dundee too because the two were still getting up from the fall. Nice going, idiot.

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As Ash goes to check on Dundee, Crobat calls him over to catch the ferry. And that’s it for your movie opener battle, hope you enjoyed it. The rest is just Ash running to catch the ferry.

sarcastic yay

As Misty and Brock see Ash running to the ferry, they wave to him and hop on the boat, but Ash is held up by a transport vehicle pulling an insanely long line of trailers with boxes. When it leaves, the ferry has departed and Ash jumps from the second dock to get on the boat. I love this shot because he’s jumping in slow-mo and trying to reach Brock, but as he misses his hand and nearly falls into the water, the song goes ‘Born to be a winner, born to be the very best’. Yes, born to be a winner and the very best that one is.

After the song ends, they speak with the same deckhand who has the voice of Duke Devlin. As he learns that the group is really interested in Pokemon, he tells them that a lot of really unusual ones are near where he lives and he can take them there if they want. They agree and Pikachu spots a Suicune far off in the forest. He alerts Ash and the other to it and they’re able to spot it for a second before it runs off.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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Dreaming of Dreamworks: The Prince of Egypt

Rating: 9/10

Plot: In a telling of the Exodus story, a pharaoh named Seti has ordered the slaughter of many Hebrew babies. However, one baby is saved from the killing when his mother places him in a basket and sends him down the river in hopes of his survival in a better place. In a weird twist of fate, the baby is recovered from the river by the queen and her son, Rameses. He is adopted by the royal family and raised as their son Moses. He remains ignorant of his past until he runs into his blood sister, Miriam and brother, Aaron. As the truth of his past and his adoptive father come to light, Moses leaves the kingdom behind and later finds that he is destined for much greater things.

Breakdown: I am forever saddened that it has taken me this long to watch this movie. Welcome to The Prince of Egypt, Dreamworks second movie and a rare non-CGI movie from them. Well, okay, it’s not non-CGI. There’s plenty of CGI, but for the most part it’s regular cel-shaded animation. What is CGI is really well-done and cleverly integrated with the other animation. I’m almost shocked this came from Dreamworks because they always stay pretty clear behind Pixar in animation and art quality, but they did wonders with this. It is a visual treat to say the least, and this was made in 1998! The character art, animation and backgrounds still stand up extremely well to this day. Another movie I’d gladly rewatch for the art alone.

As stated, the story is the biblical telling of Moses and follows him all the way from him being a baby to his freeing of the Hebrew slaves. And it does not really screw around and make it all kiddie either. This is a pretty heavy movie. Granted, they still do a butt joke or two, but most of the goofy scenes are gone by the end of the first act.

You can sympathize with all of the characters, even Rameses, and you feel the emotional struggle between the two of them to go from brothers to basically mortal enemies in only the course of a couple of years. In a way, neither of them can sympathize very much with each other. Moses was not the blood son of Seti nor was he the eldest son, so he never had a lot of weight on his shoulders like Rameses did, and Rameses was never a slave nor did he wish to see the slaves as people who were worth anything. Doing so, in his eyes, would tarnish the ancient traditions which he was born to uphold.

The time skip is a little jarring but mostly just because Seti, the Queen (I think she’s the queen anyway. Moses is raised as Seti’s son so….*shrug*) and Moses’ mother, Jochebed, all seemingly die in that time when it seems like only a few years or so went by between Moses leaving and him getting the message from God. It’s understandable that Seti died because he was so old, but I have no clue what claimed the lives of the Queen and Moses’ mother. We also learn nothing of Rameses’ son.

The movie obviously takes some liberties with the story both with its religious historical roots and its Egyptian historical roots. To its credit, the movie admits that straight out of the gate. But it doesn’t stray too far from the path and is a pretty loyal adaptation of the story. I should also mention that the movie doesn’t cover the entire book of Exodus, just up to leading the Hebrews out of Egypt and a short glimpse of the Ten Commandments.

The music is phenomenal. It’s commonly set up much like a Broadway musical…I assume anyway, I’ve never seen one. But the music is epic. I’d say the only weak-ish link in the music section is “You’re Playing with the Big Boys Now” which just seems out of place considering how epic and serious the other songs are.

The point of that song is to show Moses that, despite the fact that he has the Hebrew God on his side, they have the various gods of Egypt on theirs, and if he wants a fight, he’ll get one. However, the chorus of ‘You’re playing with the big boys now’ just makes me feel like it’s a cheesy bully line.

Bottomline: Whether you’re religious or not, this is still a fantastic movie with amazing visuals, fantastic music, memorable characters, an exciting story and more. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you check it out. I wish Dreamworks did more stuff like this. Instead we got a billion Shrek movies…Also, Rotten Tomatoes gave Antz a 95 but this a 79? *huff*

Recommended Audience: No sex or nudity, but there is a scene where a woman is being given as a gift to Rameses. Mentions of baby slaughter, to alligators no less. No visuals, really, but there is a mural of the scene. Various deaths, but nothing terribly graphic. Heavy overtones that might put off the youngins…..10+?

Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 03 (Sub) Entei: Lord of the Unknown (Crystal) Tower

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A Pokemon researcher named Shurri has been looking for the elusive Pokemon Uknown for years. When he finally finds clues to their existence, he is suddenly taken by the Unown and trapped in another dimension. He leaves behind his beloved daughter Mii, who also summons the Unown through tiles that her father found during his research. In her grief of losing her father and her mother not being around for reasons never made clear, the Uknown decide to make her wishes a reality, giving her essentially her own reality to do whatever she pleases. It’s up to Satoshi 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, but I don’t mind. I do kinda mind Chikorita being that big on the poster when Fushigidane’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. However, for completion’s sake, let’s see my take on how different the subbed version is.

Beginning to Title Screen

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The original makes no tiny implication that the Unknown/Unown took Mii/Molly’s mother and that’s why he’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 Snowden, didn’t need to be changed. Though I do admit it sounds like Shurri. They can technically be interchangable but eh.) Along with his assistant, John, being 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….wow.

Title screen to Halfway Mark

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More name change notes in Lisa actually being 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 go to. 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? I mean, 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.

Rin’s a lot less abrasive than Lisa.

Oh…Takeshi kinda hits on Mii too. How nice.

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.

Halfway Mark to End

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So Kasumi introduces herself as ‘the prettiest girl in the world’, which is pretty damn 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 or even just unrealistically strong either way, that’s nothing really 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 it makes more sense to praise her for that instead of the power of her fake Pokemon.

Okido 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, well, Entei 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.

End Credits

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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 have to say….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.

And 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 major bitchwaffle.

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.

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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…..

……..Like……urgh…..th–…..the….

………..

………………….

………………………

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.

Next up is movie 04, Pokemon 4Ever (oy) and its accompanying short, Pikachu’s Peekaboo. And I think this will be a fairly long one….

Recommended Audience: Same as the dub.

Rango Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A pet lizard finds himself lost in the desert after his tank flies off of the back of his owner’s car. He arrives at a town called Dirt where water is scarce to say the least. He plays himself up as a hero of the west to the local townsfolk, and after (accidentally) saving them from a hawk. Because of his feats, he’s given the title of Sheriff by the mayor. Taking the name of Rango, he enjoys his newfound respect and admiration but when the situation gets dire in Dirt, he’ll have to pay up or shut up.

Breakdown: I was never a fan of westerns, unless you count space westerns. And despite being interested in this movie when it was first released, mostly because Nickelodeon promoted it quite a bit (They produced it, but it’s hard as hell to find their name on it) I never got around to watching it until now. Too bad too because this is a pretty damn good movie.

Admittedly, the story is completely overdone. Some guy pretends to be something he’s not only to eventually get ousted and then gather up the courage to return and set things right. Been there done that. And yes, the awkwardness of the continuous lying does irk me quite a bit.

However, I really love the writing of the dialogue, the timing of the jokes, the characters and the style. I can’t really compare this to any other animated movie that I can think of. It’s pretty unique in its own right, at least barring the story.

One of the ways this movie stands out is its art and animation. Rango was produced by ILM (Lucasfilms) and it is absolutely gorgeous…..I think I drooled a little.

Excuse me, I really should say it’s butt ugly, but it’s meant to be gritty and kinda ugly. It’s a western with a bunch of desert animals like rats and lizards. Even the love interest, Beans, that’s her actual name, is pretty blech-looking. But my god, the details. They are fantastic. From the littlest drops of water and the hairs and scales on the animals to the town of Dirt and the vast desert. It is all just deliciously…..Ugligorgeous. What’s even more incredible is how they integrated the human world into their own world. The cars and lights look fantastic, we’ve got a huge cityscape, and even stuff like the items in Rango’s tank are beautifully detailed.

Then we see one human character briefly, The Man With No Name; IE A Clint Eastwood ‘Spirit of the West’ character who guides Rango back on his path. And not only is he also incredibly well-detailed, but his part is probably the least cliched because he doesn’t do that lame ‘just believe in yourself blah blah’ speech. He gives a realistic speech that a Clint Eastwood character would probably give. Sadly, however, they did not get Clint Eastwood to play this part, but he was well-performed by Timothy Olyphant.

They also didn’t dumb down most of the scenes for the sake of the children. Characters get shot, they die, they swear (to a degree), they describe several gory situations and the dialogue is perfectly suited for older audiences as well as young ones. Which is weird because somehow this movie managed to grab a PG rating.

In regards to characters, they’re all kinda stereotypes, but they’re done in a fairly unique and memorable manner. Johnny Depp (hey, you broke away from Disney and Tim Burton for five seconds! Congrats!) plays our titular character, Rango. Interestingly, his real name, the one he would’ve been given by his owner, is never mentioned, which kinda makes him a legit ‘man with no name’. He named himself through the traditional means of reading it off of something he saw.

He’s a bit of a delusional chameleon who longs to be a big popular hero, but he’s lived all of his life in a tank with no one to interact with except a wind-up goldfish and a barbie doll torso. It’s actually a little sad to think that his owner might be devastated over losing his pet, but Rango never mentions it or seems to care.

Rango’s one of the most uncomfortable characters to watch because he’s lying through most of the movie, and he plays up his lies as much as possible in order to fully create a heroic sheriff persona, but he really is a good guy who wants to help the people of Dirt.

Beans isn’t all that interesting. She’s a typical ‘no non-sense’ female lead whose only schtick is her defense mechanism. Beans is a desert iguana and she has a defense mechanism that essentially causes her to freeze up and be completely unaware of her surroundings. Problem is, this ability sometimes springs up without warning or trigger. She’ll just be talking and then boom. Then she just transforms into a doting girlfriend at the end, and it’s actually a little annoying.

Priscilla, the cactus mouse, steals several scenes with her odd habit of being incredibly and painfully blunt about situations and going on small tangents about frightening or gory situations.

Then there’s the mayor who is about as transparent as humanly possible. It’s obvious that he’s behind the water shortage in the town yet it takes Rango to finally figure it out and call him out on it. He’s not much of a villain, but there is someone who actually earns the villain title; Rattlesnake Jake.

As you can guess, Rattlesnake Jake is a rattlesnake. A huge rattlesnake….with piercing almost glowing orange, yellow and red eyes, huge fangs…..and that’s about it…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh there is his KICK-ASS MACHINE GUN TAIL. Oh my god, I never knew I needed a movie with a rattlesnake with a machine gun for a tail in my life, but that part of me has been fulfilled now. He is a big, badass, looming bastard of a snake. Though the reason I really like him isn’t just how badass he is, it’s that he actually has some sense of honor. By the end, he’s basically an anti-hero.

The fact that everything looks more or less real along with stuff like guns and animal threats such as hawks really makes the movie much more intense.

And might I commend the movie for having the best end credits sequence I’ve seen in ages? The art, the direction, the style, the music; they were all awesome for that segment.

Bottomline: Even if you don’t like westerns, I’d say definitely give this movie a shot. It’s cleverly written, has a great realistic feel to it, is gorgeously detailed, has some fantastic music, intense action sequences and while it’s not the most unique story in the world, you never once feel bored while watching it. I had a lot of fun with this movie, and I’d gladly watch it several more times.

Recommended Audience: Mild swearing (hell, damn, maybe an ‘ass’ I can’t remember), guns, smoking, some people get shot but I don’t think anyone dies from a gunshot wound, a bird dies from being crushed, an armadillo ‘dies’ from being run over by a car (and ew they closeup on his squished body, even though, oddly, there’s no guts or gore, it’s like someone flatted a balloon filled with flour) ‘scary situations’ maybe. 10+

Pokemon Extravaganza – Movie 03 (Dub): The Spell of the Unown

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A little girl named Molly has mysteriously lost both of her parents. In her grief, she starts writing their names together with tiles that her father collected that 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 (Because tears are magic, haven’t you learned anything from these movies?!) 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 and 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, 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: Pokemon movie 03; my favorite Pokemon movie ever.

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, great 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. Well, let’s get started so I can eventually have nothing really to look forward to in terms of the Pokemon movies….except maybe Heroes and possibly the Lucario movie but meh.

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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.

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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. Look, I hate to be an ass, but naming your kid Skylar is already pretentious enough without spelling it like that.

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.

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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 and 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 is pretty damn nice looking, 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….

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“Come play Pokemon Colosseum with us, Molly.”

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.

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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 he 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. Here’s the deal. 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.

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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 and 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 Blandy 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. Did she want to be a researcher?

Also, we get this screenshot littered with Engrish which I’m not sure I can blame 4Kids for.

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…Dammit, I have to peak at the subbed 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.

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“I do not have a son named Ash…Huh, suddenly I feel like all my dreams have come true.”

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.

Explnation: 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 and 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 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. I have to say 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.

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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 also 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 guess 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.

And 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?

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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 decides to pretend that everything’s alright.

Ash and the others make their way through the mansion when Oak calls on the Pokegear. He’s upset that he 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 apparently 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 it just closes up instantly. One of them, surprisingly, decides to be smart and 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 just 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.

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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 says that maybe she’s 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 decides to accept 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 battle field 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!

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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 the next 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 battle field. 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.

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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 still is 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.

Anyway, 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.

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“You can’t possibly be my mother’s child. You don’t have random lightning bolt shaped lines on your face.”

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. I mean, 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 seen 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.

Except.

Could it be?!

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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.

Except.

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 schtick 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!

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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 then 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 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. Multiple choice time!

Does he:

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

or

D) Charge headfirst into the cluster of Unown like a braindead antelope.

If you answered D, you obviously know our little Dumbash very well.

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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 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.

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The secret’s in the flavor crystals.

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 basically 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.

And 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.

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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.

Bottomline: 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, the CGI is actually really great barring the Unown, the cinematography and battle choreography was great, the backgrounds are lovely and 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 actually 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. Hell, 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 CotD’s.

Entei is one of my favorite legendaries and Dan Green just did a fantastic job voicing him. The relationship between Entei and Molly is also 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, 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.

Pixar’s Lamp: Toy Story

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Rating: 9.5/10

Plot: In a world where toys are alive, yet pretend to be inanimate around humans, a boy named Andy’s favorite toy, a cowboy named Woody, feels threatened by the presence of a new toy, a space ranger toy called Buzz Lightyear. Andy slowly starts playing with Buzz more than Woody, and in his jealousy Woody accidentally causes Buzz to fall out the window. When Woody ends up getting lost as well, he and Buzz have to work together to make it back home and back to Andy.

Breakdown: It’s Pixar’s turn with their first baby; Toy Story and I LOVE TOY STORYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!

*cough* Sorry.

It’s one of my favorite movies ever. I’ve become fairly good at removing my nostalgia goggles when it comes to things that I used to love when I was a kid, but Toy Story holds up extremely well as still being entertaining, fun, funny, heartwarming and exciting. Best of all, it’s a movie that parents and kids can enjoy together; not a movie that you turn on just to humor your kids.

The characters are all unique and lovable. They all implement various parts of their designs into their own specific brands of humor. Even the minor toys get their own little times to shine and be memorable. Woody and Buzz in particular have great chemistry both as enemies and friends. They bounce off of each other with plenty of entertaining banter and they are really a joy to watch.

The story is fairly unique and never becomes boring or cliché (Also I never knew Joss Whedon worked on this.) Jealousy’s not really a new thing, but they implement it in a way that doesn’t come off as tired.

Love or hate Randy Newman, I love his songs here. He was perfect to do the music for this movie.

Art and animation wise, the designs are unique and memorable. The animation is believable and really brings the toys to life in more ways than one. I will say that the animation, usually involving the human characters and Scud (whose eyes are just weird), is sometimes not quite as polished as what we’ve come to enjoy from Pixar movies today, but this is hardly noticeable and nothing major. Besides, they were just starting out here anyway.

……Oh wait, no. I can never forgive the nightmare fuel that is Molly. *shudder*

It even does product placement right. It puts a bunch of existing toy brands with allusions to real brands with toys made specifically for the movie and manages to market all of them. I still, to this day, wish I had gotten that creepy baby doll robot spider from Sid’s room. That kid may have been a serial killer in the making, but that toy was cool. (Seriously, his parents just let him buy rockets, play with matches, blow up his toys and get an ‘I ❤ explosives’ bumper sticker on the wall and don’t suspect a thing?) I did have a big Buzz Lightyear toy that I actually still have in my closet somewhere with his rocket (non-cardboard version).

This movie stands up really well and never ceases to be entertaining and heartwarming to me. It is a very fitting opening to Pixar’s prestigious career.

Recommended Audience: There’s toy violence when it comes to Sid as he really likes torturing and blowing up his toys through various means. The final scene with Sid would also be insanely frightening if shown without context in any other movie. But eh, come on. 5+

Pokemon Extravaganza! Pokemon Movie 02 – Revelation Lugia (Sub) Review

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Rating: 5/10

Plot: Satoshi and the others are heading to their next Orange Island destination when a sudden storm beaches them on a nearby island called Earthia Island. The villagers are holding a legend festival and Satoshi is chosen to be the ‘great controller’ from the legend. He’s tasked with retrieving three spheres from three neighboring islands and returning them to Earthia to stop the destruction of the world through an imbalance in nature. However, he soon discovers that the legend is coming true.

Breakdown: Okay, the good news is that they seem to have gotten better at making movie posters. The bad news is, it’s still a pretty bad poster. I mean, Lugia looks fantastic, which is the main thing, the three legendary birds don’t look too small, but Satoshi is oddly placed. I find it weird that he’s even making that pose. It just seems like everyone’s picture is clipart that they pasted onto the cool Lugia and legendary birds poster. What is Okido even doing there?

Just to solidify something without a doubt, I want you all to take notice of something. Who is oddly missing from this poster?…..That’s right, Kenji/Tracey. Proving just how useless he is in the movie and the series as a whole. Less than Okido, less than Slowking. That is just sad.

Now, since this movie doesn’t appear to be anywhere as drastically changed as movie 01, I won’t bother doing a complete run though of the entire movie. Instead, like I have done in the past with other review projects, I will break this movie up into chunks (of ten minute segments) and give my notes of each segment of the movie. Let’s begin!

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Ten Minute Mark

As expected, Fire, Freezer and Lightning (Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos respectively) are called the gods of fire, ice and lightning as opposed to titans. Lugia is also called the ocean god.

Shamuti Island is actually called Earthia, and it wasn’t until they said this that I noticed his computer labels the island in green. Then it hit me. Earthia corresponds with Flame, Ice and Lightning as representing life and the balance of nature; earth as a whole. That also explains why the light at the end of the movie is green…I know 4Kids changes the names of practically everything, but Earthia actually seems to have a clear point in its name, so that’s disappointing. Plus, like the comparison says, it seems odd that 4Kids would purposely change its original name to something more foreign-sounding.

The title is, of course, different, but something I found odd is that the Japanese version only uses fire effects during its title whereas the dub utilizes fire, ice and lightning to represent the birds. Gotta give 4Kids props for actually being more thorough. I do miss the awesome electric guitar.

The original’s theme song is also still pretty good, being another rendition of Mezaze Pokemon Master. I don’t know why it still has a Charizard/Lizardon’s roar and Pikachu sounds on it though. Without visuals to match that, it just seems random.

I’m just now realizing how much I miss Scyther/Strike. It was the only one of Tracey’s/Kenji’s Pokemon that got both a backstory and a personality; and it was pretty interesting too. It was just the shot where it’s trying to protect Venonat/Kongpang for a minute, but that did spring to mind.

Twenty Minute Mark

Ohhh THAT’S why they specifically needed a Pokemon trainer. The original’s legend states that a ‘great controller’ will calm the anger of the gods. They’re equating a trainer to a controller to fit the legend. Also, that is what equates to ‘the chosen one’ in the original. In my opinion, it sounds better and doesn’t insinuate that Ash was destined at birth to do this. One could say that since the dub legend says the chosen one will ‘tame the beast of the sea’ that that may also be poking at that, but I think that’s more of a stretch.

The song is obviously different, but it’s surprisingly not all that different to my ears, really. The original one has higher pitches and some different tones, but it seems to follow roughly the same melody.

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Again, applause with no moving hands. What the hell?

Furura (Melody) doesn’t seem to be quite as upfront with her flirting as the dub would insinuate.

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Thirty Minute Mark

MistyxTracey fans may be sad to note that the one hint of that pairing (Tracey wondering if the girls are talking about him when they discuss Misty liking Ash) is not present in the original. He just says ‘I’m going too!’ If it makes you guys feel any better, the original line makes the scene much funnier.

Musashi actually asks why they’re bothering talking about Kasumi and Satoshi’s love-hate relationship since they’re ten years too young to be caught up in that stuff. Kojirou chimes in and says even they don’t talk about it much. Nyarth’s line is kept the same. I know I keep delving into sub dub comparison stuff, but the Bulbagarden comparison doesn’t cover much of what I’m talking about, probably because it’s not really important, but still noteworthy to me.

Forty Minute Mark

I love how Kasumi’s line to Jirarudan (Lawrence; who, by the way, hasn’t been named yet (if ever) in the original either.) makes it seem even worse. She yells at him to put the legendary birds in monster balls because trapping them this way is a waste. Yes, it’s awful that he’s forcing Pokemon into small technologically advanced cages to look at them when he could be forcing Pokemon into much smaller technologically advanced cages and making them fight. Shame!

I just realized, when we cut to the water Pokemon traveling by sea to get to Earthia Island, we see Arbo/Ekans in the water traveling this way too….I know some snakes can swim and some even slither on top of water, but I never knew they traveled by water too. Kinda makes you think maybe Team Rocket could’ve used Arbok in movie 01.

Hanako (Delia) actually solidifies that she has no clue where Satoshi is; just that he’s somewhere in the Orange Islands. Considering how vast and wide the Orange Islands seem to extend, that is an incredibly flimsy reason to be out there. Hey, I can fix this in one sentence. Watch. Ahem…. ”Satoshi/Ash just contacted me from Earthia/Shamuti Island earlier!” …..Boom! Was that so hard? You can send me money now, writers. I have a Paypal.

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Fifty Minute Mark

We’re at that cut scene with Kenji talking about the explosion made to free Fire. He’s saying how the electricity affects the water separating the H2 and O. That coupled with flamethrower equals boom. I think it’s going a bit far to say that’s instructions for essentially making a bomb – it’s moreso just explaining the chemical reaction going on and the explosion that proceeds it, but I guess 4Kids has removed scenes for lesser reasons. They honestly just could’ve said “Water…plus electricity…and fire….?!” And really, that’s the only thing Kenji’s noted as doing in this movie? He truly is a boring worthless character.

Also, I guess Fushigidane really didn’t have any role in that. He was just there whippin’ away.

Hour Mark

Nothing to note here, to be honest. However, the reason he’s stuck with being the one who has to do this is really that he was chosen by the villagers, started collecting the spheres and has to finish it, not that he’s destined to anyway.

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Hour and Ten Minute Mark

Despite also making a pun or two (“Pikachu, we’re gonna get ‘chu.”?) Team Rocket has a funny line when they let go of Lugia.

Team Rocket – “You’re the main character!” See, that’s how you break the fourth wall, 4Kids.

Also;

Satoshi: “Amazing! Are those really Pokemon?”

Lugia: “Yes, every Pokemon living on the planet.”…….Yeah you won’t come to eat those words in another year or so.

You know, if anything, the original movie has the opposite message from the dub. It seems like the original has more of a message of ‘it’s not what one person does, it’s everyone doing their part towards a specific goal that is powerful.’ whereas the dub is very clearly ‘the power of one.’ Lugia cements this further by saying everyone’s doing their part to try to help; the Pokemon, Lugia and Satoshi.

While he doesn’t mention it, even Team Rocket and Furura have been helping along the way. In the dub, Lugia outright says that the one with the power to actually make a difference is just Ash. I’m not saying the dub’s message is a particularly bad one. Many people succumb to the belief that just one person alone can’t do anything to make significant change, but it’s worth mentioning.

Finale

While I still really like the original song…I dunno, the dubbed version of the final legend song seems more impacting and epic to me.

Hanako actually says she saw Satoshi do…something dangerous. I’m assuming she saw him riding Lugia or something. She also doesn’t say anything about her constantly missing him; just that if he were to die, she’d lose her whole world. Her final words are also asking Satoshi what he really wants in life. Satoshi says he wants to be a Pokemon Master. Hanako replies if that’s really his dream then he can’t overdo it. I like the original version better. It explains a little why she was so angry and it doesn’t give us the slightly cheesy stuff about him always being her hero.

Surprisingly we don’t get ANY extra bits from Jirarudan stating what he plans to do now. He just picks up his ancient Mew card and smiles. According to his Wiki page, it’s supposed to imply that he intends to restart his collection but in a much more modest way. Whatever that means, I don’t know.

Team Rocket and Yadoking/Slowking don’t break the fourth wall at the end. They also rarely bring up the stuff about them being temporary good guys.

The song for the credits in the original is okay, but the song starts out with really irritating sing-talking. It also gets a bit repetitive. But at least it doesn’t bludgeon you with a sudden polka.

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And that was Pokemon movie 02 subbed….I see no real reason to rate it that much higher than the dub. While I prefer it to the original mostly because I like the original score, voices and dialogue better, 4Kids didn’t change all that much. It’s odd, while 4Kids seemed to get better and better at dubbing the movies (I find movie 03 to be their best work ever, though I’ve only gotten to movie 06 as of this writing) they got progressively worse, in my opinion, with the series. Not saying everything was perfect after this movie-wise (there are definitely some stinkers and major issues) but they seemed to make more of an effort in the movies. Maybe they never wanted to suffer another backlash from fans and critics as they did after movie 01.

Anyway, if anything, maybe a .5 point for not being all ‘chosen one’ crap, but even that is still hinted at. Better than shoving it in your face, but still. Plus I do like the dub’s legend song just a tiny bit more.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone….Unless your kid is smart enough to build a bomb by learning a bit of simple chemistry and has intentions of doing so once he/she acquires the knowledge, in which case SV for Super Villain.

Dissecting the Disquels: Kronk’s New Groove (The Emperor’s New Groove 2)

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Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: Kronk has been living a happy life in the village since the end of the last movie. He has a good job as a cook, he’s the leader of a Squirrel Scout troupe and everyone around town loves him. However, he’s shaken when his father, Papi, announces that he’s coming for a visit. Kronk has always yearned for his father’s approval, but has never been able to get any recognition since his father finds everything he enjoys to be silly, and believes a successful life can never be achieved without a house on a hill, a wife and kids. Kronk explains to his boss that he had most of that stuff once, but lost it all. When he’s done with his stories, Papi arrives, and Kronk has to convince Chicha, Pacha’s wife, and their kids to pretend to be his wife and kids for one last chance at a thumbs up from Papi.

Breakdown: Some of you have been following Dissecting the Disquels since the start, and we’re nearing the end of the road (about four left after this, give or take). By now, you’ve probably caught on to the familiar formulas Disney tends to use when it comes to Disquels.

Almost all Disney sequels follow one of these structures.

1 – The child of the main character from the first movie having their own adventure, which is the first movie either redone or in reverse.

2 – A prequel or midquel no one asked for and answers questions no one had.

3 – Three stories stitched together, pretending to be a full movie when, in reality, it’s actually a pilot to a failed or aired TV series.

You should be able to tell by the plot synopsis which route this movie takes.

So take a stab at an answer. Which do you think it is?

If you answered 3, you’re right! Though, don’t feel bad if you answered 1 or 2 because even those are partially right.

While Kronk isn’t Kuzco’s kid, they do make off like this is a replica of the first movie in numerous ways. I’ll get more into details later, but the very start of the movie has Kronk in a bad situation narrating how his life was awesome and asks how he got in this situation, like Kuzco does in the start of the first movie. The first song of the movie is a choir/soul song singing Kronk’s praises like the first movie did with Kuzco (except it’s totally different because whereas Kuzco had a man singer, Kronk has a woman singer.) and the finale answers where the first scene came from and so on.

This is a sequel, not a midquel or prequel, but it does delve into Kronk’s backstory (gotta love the recurring trope of compelling backstory=daddy issues) and answers questions no one had like ‘What happened to Kronk after the first movie?’ ‘Did Yzma ever turn back into a human?’ ‘What happened to that restaurant Kuzco and Pacha stopped at during the last movie?’

As for the stuff about being a first movie replicant….

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You know how many Disquels seem like they’re pretending to be the first movie or have the wrapper of the first movie and bank on that being enough to hook in viewers? Those movies never seem like they care to try to be like the first movie and do the bare minimum to remind viewers that it is indeed still a movie in the franchise. This movie, however, is doing its damnedest to try to be the first movie in every way short of just taking a DVD of the first movie and printing the poster art for this movie on the front.

The weird thing is, the story isn’t very much reminiscent of the first movie. Kronk’s not really getting his groove back. He never lost it. He never gets turned into a llama or any other animal or anything. Plus, the fact that this movie is technically three stories in one means the focal goal really can’t be anything like that.

What I mean by this movie being a replicant is, holy hell, they love to throw every single joke they ever made from the first movie at your face. Outside of some jokes exclusive to Kuzco, and I’ll get to his role soon enough, they take every notable joke and scene from the first movie and recreate it.

For many of them, they recreate them and then run them into the ground. For example, Kronk’s shoulder devil and angel appear way too many times (they even give Tipo, Pacha’s son, his own pair so they can milk the living hell out of it), they repeat the animated ‘plan’ quickly narrated by the planner schtick a couple of times, they let the uncomfortable Yzma seeming like she’s sexually alluring someone go on for nearly an entire scene etc.

Most of the other references are just one-offs, but the insane repetition of jokes doesn’t end there. When they have an original joke, they also like to run that into the ground, even if the joke isn’t funny. For instance, during the second segment, they have Kronk mark his box of eggs with ‘Kronk’s eggs. Property of Kronk. Do not touch except for Kronk.’ then his love interest, Ms. Birdwell, has a box of raisins which have ‘Birdwell’s raisins. Property of Birdwell. Do not touch except for Birdwell.’ written on them. Then ‘Tipo’s itching powder. Property of Tipo. Do not touch except for Tipo.’

That wasn’t a funny joke the first time, yet they deemed it funny enough to repeat three times. They not only have it in writing, either. They need to have someone read each item out loud, subsequently wasting five seconds of your life on purpose each time.

That’s not to say everything in the comedy department’s a failure. I will admit, a couple jokes actually warranted a chuckle out of me, which is more than I can say for nearly any other Disquel. That was when they were actually making jokes that kept the spirit of the original movie’s comedy instead of just referencing it or directly ripping off its jokes.

They start getting a steady rhythm or ‘groove’, if you will, and then they screw it up by repeating a joke, making a first movie reference or repeating a first movie reference. Maybe this movie is more accurately titled than I thought, because I wanted Kronk’s New Groove to get its groove back quite often.

In a story perspective, we can break up the film fairly easily. We start with Kronk flailing around in a bunch of cheese as he narrates to us about how he got into that situation. We flashback to earlier that day and get the Kronk praise song I mentioned. Kronk has made a good life for himself as a cook at the restaurant Kuzco and Pacha visited in the first movie, and everyone loves him. However, he gets a llama-gram (which is not delivered by a llama so I guess this is just another first movie reference) that says his father, Papi, will be coming for a visit soon.

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Papi is under the belief that Kronk has a successful life as a businessman with a house on a hill, a nice wife and several kids – the requirements to be successful per Papi’s guidelines. Papi never approved of the way Kronk acted, such as speaking to squirrels and cooking. He basically forced Kronk to give those things up, telling him he’d never be successful unless he got serious.

Kronk explains to his boss that he once did have the house and family, but was unable to keep any of it.

This leads us to the story of the house. But first, an interlude by Kuzco. Since fans of the first movie are probably wondering when Kuzco will make an appearance at this point in the movie, they give Kuzco the responsibility of popping up once in a while as an interlude either before a segment or in the middle of it. They’re all not funny, none of them have a point and they only serve the purpose of giving David Spade a paycheck.

He shows up before the first segment, in the middle of the first segment, in the middle of the second segment and then finally shows up in the actual movie for a few minutes at the very end.

This first segment interlude has Kuzco merely telling us, over and over and over and over, because repetition is this movie’s bread and butter, that this is Kronk’s movie – not his. Because we’d never get that from the fact that this movie’s called KRONK’S New Groove. Most of the time, they even omit the ‘The Emperor’s New Groove 2’ part of the title. It’s officially just Kronk’s New Groove.

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I don’t know where they got that DVD art. I’ve never seen it outside of the movie.

And that’s all he does. Fun fun. Why is he one of the most prominent characters on the DVD covers and promotional art, again?

The actual first segment is about Kronk running into Yzma yet again. She’s returned to a human state, but maintains a cat tail. After an incredibly long scene of Yzma flirting with Kronk to seduce him into her plan (including, yes, the reference to her raising her dress and showing leg, which is actually nonsensical here because she’s trying to show him something she’s stepping on and her dress isn’t long enough to warrant needing to do that for that task.) we’re made privy to her scheme.

Yzma has a plan to sell a youth potion to the elderly people Kronk has befriended. She needs Kronk to sell it because he’s built a good rapport with them so it will be easy for them to trust his pitch. He reluctantly agrees because he needs the money to build a house on a hill to impress Papi.

We get a song break that….I’m not sure I like…..I like Eartha Kitt a lot. I loved her in Batman, I love her as a singer and as a person, and I hated it when she died. This is also her second to last film role before her death. However….she sounds really….odd here. For some reason, she sounds like she has a Russian accent half the time and her singing ability is just off-base. I’m not sure if she was sick and that was affecting her ability to talk or sing properly, but she just sounds weird in this movie.

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Long story short, the people nab up the youth potion and eventually become addicted to it, Kronk becomes rich and buys the senior center from the desperate-for-money old folks, which he destroys for the sake of building his house, and Yzma reveals that she’s just putting sewer sludge into a bottle and selling it.

Kuzco interrupts again just to tell the audience that Yzma’s a snake oil salesman and this whole thing’s a scam for some greater scheme…..Thanks Kuzco. I’m sure you educated the butternut squash that didn’t deduce that at this point.

Kronk sees that Rudy, the old man who threw off Kuzco’s groove in the first movie, is naked and begging for money to buy youth potion. He and his friends sold everything they had, including their clothes, in order to get more youth potion. Kronk spots him a bottle and he starts acting like Gollum from Lord of the Rings….Literally. That’s the reference they’re making. Kronk, with the help of his shoulder angel, realizes that Rudy doesn’t look any different, so the potion must be a sham.

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This is just stupid. Rudy needs to actually realize that he doesn’t look any different before he realizes that the potion’s a placebo. Tricking yourself into believing it’s making you feel better because you trust Kronk is one thing. Ignoring that the outside does not match the inside…..especially when naked……is another.

Yzma’s real scam was to get all of the elderly people on her side so she could win an election for emperor. They brought up that it’s odd that it’s suddenly an electoral position, but they don’t explain why Kuzco doesn’t seem to be running a campaign if it is (Kuzco voluntarily giving up an opportunity to partake in an activity that is literally nothing but speaking highly of him? Yeah, not happening) nor do they explain why the elderly vote is so vital to her campaign. Only elderly people are buying and using this potion – I can’t imagine elderly people were such a huge majority of the population back in Incan times.

Yzma get ousted as a fraud, the old people chase her through the city and they do that bit from the first movie where they pan out far away to see her on top of a huge overhang. They very nearly redo the ‘I win’ joke from the first movie, but Yzma again turns into a tiny cute animal, this time on purpose so they won’t attempt to hurt her. Little bunny Yzma rejoices in victory, but is carried away by a hawk and we’re left to assume she got ripped apart and eaten.

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The lesson of this segment, by the way, is that you’re only as old as you feel….which 1) is useless to the demographic this movie is aimed towards 2) doesn’t make a lot of sense anyway because a lot of these guys felt old to start with. They didn’t want to improve their looks so much as how they felt.

In order to make up for what he did, Kronk gives his super cool new house to the seniors and that’s how Kronk lost his house.

Next up, the story of how Kronk had and lost the love of his life. Kronk goes to a competition for Squirrel Scouts when he meets a woman named Ms. Birdwell. He falls in love according to schedule a la Disney Princess, but the romance is ended before it even starts when Kronk’s fun loving scouts cannon-ball the more refined campers of Birdwell’s troupe, getting them wet….yeah. That’s the huge conflict. The swimming children….got wet…so Birdwell’s furious. Oh and one of the girls got her dolly wet, so that makes her super furious. Must suck to live in a world where shit doesn’t dry.

Because of this, Kronk and Birdwell become incredibly determined to beat each other in the competition and run their kids ragged in training. They realize what idiots they’re being so they decide to make it up to their campers by making raisin bread. Which leads us to the ‘property of….’ yadda yadda ‘joke’.

Birdwell and Kronk fight some more, but when things get out of hand, they feel guilty and start making bread together, which leads to our second song…..a disco song, which is fine….but….uh….the background animation is just Kronk and Birdwell being luvey duvey with each other and uh….some of the animation is…..*cough* I might just be reading too much into some of it, but you can’t tell me there’s not something off about her saying ‘get out your oven mitts, because it’s about to get hot’ followed by this…

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and especially this KNGGIF2FIXEDThere is no way I’m reading too much into that. Their movements, their position, the camera angle, Kronk’s facial expression. I was surprised that shot even got by the censors.

In addition to the Aladdin 3 effect of making a bunch of Disney movie references during this montage (Lady and the Tramp, Tarzan) third-party movie references (Titanic) and for some reason a Michael Jackson reference (hot on the heels of his second child molestation allegation. Smart, Disney) it also seems like this whole montage is one big reference because this is the second time I’ve seen a main character in an animated Disney sequel fall in love through a disco dance montage – The first being A Very Goofy Movie (should that be considered a Disquel? Hm.)

While I can dance along to the song just fine (and no one shall ever see me dance) I have to say, this montage goes on for too long. They just make various references, dance and gaze creepily into each other’s eyes.

Montage over, Kronk and Birdwell are ungodly luvey duvey now (as in, I was gagging at how luvey duvey they make these two in the proceeding scenes) and Kuzco butts in again. What does he have to say now?

Nothing. He cries because it’s so romantic then tells the audience to excuse him because he needs a moment.

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That’s it.

That’s all.

Kuzco has less to do in this movie than Slowking did in Pokemon the Movie 2000.

They make up with the campers and go on with their friendly competition. They end up tied in wins with the tiebreaker being the cheer off. However, there’s a snag.

Kronk told everyone to do whatever it takes to win the previous day, so Tipo decides to put itching powder in the grip chalk before the other team does their routine. He tells Kronk right as their routine starts and the team falls, with Birdwell falling into the mud. She finds Tipo’s itching powder bag, and Kronk takes the heat for it, since he feels guilty for putting Tipo in that situation.

Despite this being a clear misunderstanding (it’s not like he told Tipo to cheat, and I can bet she also said something similar to ‘do whatever it takes to win’ to her campers) Kronk doesn’t even really try to patch things up and Birdwell leaves in a fury.

And that’s how Kronk lost his woman.

The final story takes place in the present, though still flashbacked slightly, and Papi arrives. This segment is by far the worst and the most annoying to sit through.

I hate stories where the main setup is fueled by lies and deception that the audience is aware of. It makes everything incredibly predictable and awkward. However, they amped up the sitcom awkwardness to levels I never even imagined. Kronk asks Pacha is he can borrow his wife and kids and pretend he owns his house just for however long Papi stays. Before he can solidify agreement, Pacha runs off, thinking he’s got a better idea, and Papi arrives, leaving Chicha with the baton.

He’s short.

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It’s funny because they thought this intimidating guy would be tall, considering how huge Kronk is. Haha.

She agrees to help and everything goes alright for a while until Pacha comes out in drag, claiming he’s Kronk’s wife. Normally this would be the end of the road for the charade, but Kronk says he’s Chicha’s mother. Papi starts hitting on Pacha….Hah…..Wait, where’s Kronk’s mom? Is she dead? You create a backstory no one asked for and then forget a big aspect of it? I’m surprised they didn’t take the obvious joke of her being dead because this is a Disney movie.

Kronk also tries to hide the fact that he’s the cook at the restaurant. Rudy then comes in pretending he’s Kronk’s wife. Then some of Kronk’s Squirrel Scouts get together in a big coat to pretend they’re Kronk’s wife. Some other elderly people arrive in diapers to pretend they’re Kronk’s kids. Kronk’s two old secretaries from the first segment arrive claiming they’re his wives. Finally, Kuzco arrives in drag pretending to be Kronk’s wife. At least he acknowledges that he weaseled himself into the movie. Points off for bragging about it instead of it being a confession, though.

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….Is it weird that I think Kuzco looked better as a llama in drag?

Anyway, Kronk left some cheese in the pressure cooker, the result is what you’d expect, so we’re back to the beginning of the movie. He confesses to his father and then realizes that he is successful because he has a bunch of great friends.

His father’s not so quick to accept that because, by his definition, he still has nothing. His friends, however, reveal that he used to have a big house, but gave it up for his friends and he used to have a girlfriend, but gave her up to protect Tipo. And it’s during the predictable speech and group shot that you realize Kuzco has gone missing again. Do they need to pay David Spade for screentime even if he’s not talking?

They also give us this lovely shot of Chicha.

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Sweetie….you okay?

The expected happens again after the speech as Papi realizes that Kronk’s right and gives him the thumbs up he always yearned for.

Because we need every possible thread tied up neat in a bow, Tipo arrives. He sneaked out earlier after he started feeling guilty about Kronk’s situation since he was responsible for what happened with Birdwell. As a surprise, he brought Birdwell with him. By the way, did Pacha and Chicha get replaced with Didi and Stu Pickles? Tipo’s been gone for about an hour. Pay attention to your children!

They don’t say Tipo explained everything to Birdwell, but she has forgiven Kronk and they reunite. They imply that Papi and Kronk’s boss will get together and then they dance to a reprise of the first song, which, now that I’m hearing it, says ‘be true to your groove’. Which means this movie should moreso be called ‘Kronk’s Old Groove – Now with 50% more parental respect.’

We still have Yzma’s plot thread to take care of, so we see Yzma in a nest when the eggs next to her hatch into cute little birdies, who then turn into crazed monsters and we’re again left to assume she’s ripped apart and eaten. Roll the seven minutes of credits in the hour and 14 minute long movie.

The en….wait.

During the credits, there are a bunch of photos. Through these photos we see Kronk and Birdwell getting married, going on their honeymoon and buying a house on a hill as Papi gives them a thumbs up.

……..So….doesn’t that mean….the whole message of the movie is now moot? Now Kronk has 2/3 of everything Papi required for him to be seen as successful, and he’s probably on his way to getting the third if that bread kneading scene is any indication. I know they wanted to drive home the happy ending, but come on. Don’t unravel your entire plot. We can deduce that they get those things down the line.

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This movie received the predictable terrible to mixed reviews and, even over 10 years after its release, it still holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes…..which is completely unjustified in my opinion.

Anyone who left a rating on RT, go watch the Disquel garbage I’ve watched then go back and write a review. You fuckers gave Hunchback 2 a 30%, Cinderella 2 an 11%, Tarzan 2 a 33%, Tarzan and Jane a 17%, Belle’s Magical World a 17% – one of the few Disquels that actually seems like it’s trying to give a shit and, hell, is just actually trying….a 0%. Jeez, no wonder RT and IMDB seems like two entirely different worlds at times….

I agree with some of the reviewers that Kronk is funny in smaller does and just cannot hold a whole movie on his own. Nor can he probably hold a TV series, which is why this never took off.

However, The Emperor’s New Groove did get a TV series, though it was still based on Kuzco. It was called The Emperor’s New School, and it was about Kuzco needing to graduate school before he can officially take his place as emperor (just go with it). I’ve watched a few episodes of it and it was fine. Kuzco’s left best in smaller doses, too, though, especially when he’s hitting on the TV series love interest of Malina.

Oddly, while Kronk is also in that series, he’s back to being Yzma’s crony and Ms. Birdwell is no where to be found.

This movie was both better and worse than I thought it’d be. Usually the Disquels that employ structure 3 are basically unsalvageable, but this one’s entirely watchable and even a little funny. It’s not great, there are some spots that are actually terrible and the whole structure is a complete mess, but, like I mentioned before, when it gets in its groove, it’s one of the stronger Disquels.

They poke fun at themselves, they poke legitimate fun at Disney itself, and there are some good and funny moments here. It’s just a shame because it could’ve been a lot better. They obviously had a drive to do it, but the stories they ended up using were just either bland or cliché as cliches can possibly go without causing a rift in time and space.

It’s also one of those movies that reeks of production problems. I can’t find anywhere that states such a thing, but it seriously feels like the writers and director wanted one thing, a legit sequel, while the higher ups forced them to make it into a series of episodes for a failed pilot.

I would not be at all surprised given the first movie’s troubled production history, but let’s save that story for another time.

The art and animation is lower quality than the first movie, of course, but it’s on the high end for direct to DVD Disquels. Despite Derp!Chicha, there aren’t that many odd frames and the animation is fluid enough.

The music is also better than Disquels usually give us. I’m not a big fan of the feature presentation version of Feels Like A Million by Eartha Kitt, but the end credits version where it’s less filtered and is half lounge-y sounds much better. Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind and Fire is something I can listen to anytime. Be True to Your Groove by Sandy Barber is eh, and the orchestral music is fitting and nice, especially the very last end credits song. It can get a little too doinky, though.

The voice acting is great, barring Eartha Kitt’s odd voice work here and there. Nearly everyone reprises their roles, including John Goodman, but I almost wish David Spade had just said no to this because his role is entirely pointless from start to finish. I don’t care how much it’s not his story – Rudy, Pacha, Chicha, the kids, even Bucky the Squirrel had 1000x more to do in this movie than Kuzco did. It’s almost like they thought no one would buy it if they didn’t see Kuzco throughout the movie and on the artwork.

Give this movie a shot if you liked the style of the original movie. It really does make an effort at both trying to stay true to the original and being funny on its own, but be prepared for a lot of first movie references, beating the dead horses that are some of the original and referenced jokes and just dealing with the typical blahness that comes with Disquel-itis.

Recommended Audience: Surprisingly, there are several instances of sexual themes, and it can’t all be my dirty mind. Rudy gets naked once, but you obviously can’t actually see anything. Plus, some references no kid would ever get but that doesn’t matter much. 7+

Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 02 (Dub) Pokemon the Movie 2000/The Power of One

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Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Set sometime during the Orange League, Ash and the others are traveling when they get caught up in a storm. The storm lands their boat on a nearby island called Shamuti Island where the locals are holding their annual legend festival. The legend states that the harmony caused by the three legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, will be disturbed and cause all of nature to fall out of whack. Only the chosen one can bring together the three spheres of fire, ice and lightning to restore harmony back to the world with the help of the legendary Lugia.

If you didn’t catch that, don’t worry, you’ll be reminded about it a lot. Ash is selected as the chosen one this year because he’s a Pokemon trainer, but as he’s going off to find the spheres for the sake of the festival, he finds that the legend is actually coming true.

Breakdown: Ah, Pokemon the Movie 2000. Even you couldn’t resist the allure of naming yourself ‘2000’ in the year 2000. One of the most annoying things ever. Luckily, that was doomed to die within a year, so yay.

I don’t have as much nostalgic love for this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I do hold nostalgia for it. I saw it in theaters with my friends when it first came out, I got excited for the release and I enjoyed the movie fine.

My problem with this movie is that it is just so damn cliché. Ash being ‘the chosen one’ is one of the most cliché plot threads ever. The whole aspect of collecting element themed jewels might as well have ‘property of Final Fantasy and a crapton of other video games’ labeled on it. Tampering with the gentle balance of nature by the will of an eeeevil human is also not very original (someone call Captain Planet). The legendary Pokemon here don’t really do much besides Lugia and even it’s kinda moot. I do love Lugia and the legendary birds. Articuno is my favorite followed by Moltres then Zapdos. I just wish they had done more in the movie.

Our main baddie is also completely forgettable in my opinion. Hell, I don’t even remember his name, which, for the record is Lawrence III. To be fair, though, I don’t think the dub movie ever gives his name. He suffers the same fate as the three trainers from movie 01. But it’s much more forgivable for them to be nameless. They were forgettable side characters; even though it would’ve been crazy easy to just add in an introduction line for each of them. This is the main villain of the movie.

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I remember he likes collecting legendary things and had an ancient Mew card that he started his collection with (I remember getting one when I saw this movie. Still have it. 🙂 ) other than that, he’s just boring. Notice how I wrote an entire synopsis for this movie without even mentioning this guy once? And you know what? That was in no way intentional. I completely forgot about him until I had already started writing the actual review. I wish I was lying.

On the Japanese release of this movie, the audience members were given a booklet which contained background information on the character…..Which I find a tiny bit dumb. I mean, it’s nice to have your own little booklet of information, but shouldn’t that information be…ya know….in the movie?

The plot is way too obvious giving us really no room for surprises. This is made even worse with the recited legend which literally lays out the entire story nearly beat for beat (and made increasingly worse since the legend is the first thing stated in the movie and is frequently being repeated). Apparently the original doesn’t explain as much, but the dub’s version explains the entire movie. How the hell can you have any tension when the entire movie’s story is laid out on a plate for you right when the movie begins and it’s constantly being relayed to you throughout?

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It’s definitely not all bad, and I can at least be thankful that this movie’s not ungodly preachy like the first movie, but it has its flaws.

For the Bulbagarden comparison of this movie, see here. http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/movies/mov02.html

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Our movie starts out with a shot of the three islands, the islands of Fire, Ice and Lightning, and a sneak peak at Slowking. I’ll get him out of the way right now, I do not understand Slowking. We have two really entertaining Pokemon in Slowpoke and Slowbro then we get….a talking sage-like unfunny Slowking…..for no reason. What does this thing do during the movie besides stand there and tell us things we already know? I have nothing really against the Pokemon, but why does his character exist?

We see Lawrence III in his flying base thing while his computer explains that the three titans of the elements fire, ice and lightning are Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos respectively. His computer then says that the islands containing said Pokemon are on islands adjacent to Shamuti Island and goes to capture them for his collection with Moltres being first on his list.

I would question the mechanics of that entire ship, but this is a world where a small ball can shrink and capture huge monsters.

Wait, was he already at the island? Because it’s like he didn’t travel far at all. If he was, why was that information about the birds even given? Wouldn’t he have known all that before now?

At Fire Island (considering Moltres’ Japanese name is Fire, this island doesn’t seem like such a secret location of Moltres…) Lawrence starts attacking the island with ice bombs, which prompts Moltres to come out. When Moltres emerges, Lawrence uses his super rings of technology to trap Moltres and capture it in his ship…..And that was Moltres ladies and gentlemen! Give it a round of applause!

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He says he’s going to go after Zapdos next, then Articuno and finally draw out Lugia before we get our title card. Man, 4Kids was really feeling the electric guitar in this opening sting. Kudos on matching the drum beats with the lights on the word ‘One’. That reminds me; seeing as how this movie was not in any way advertised as ‘Pokemon: The Power of One’ (at least no where around where I lived, and my VHS copy says “Pokemon the Movie 2000”) I was confused as hell by this title when I first saw it. It doesn’t even say “Pokemon the Movie 2000: The Power of One” it’s just “Pokemon: The Power of One.”

We fade in to Ash, Misty and Not-Brock on a boat heading to their next Orange Island destination that is never given. Not-Brock suggests that they should let their Pokemon out for some fresh air and that prompts our movie theme which is okay. Just seems like a more pop-ish sounding version of the Orange League theme.

Unlike movie 01, 4Kids actually doesn’t give a crap that there’s no background audio from the Pokeballs, Pokemon or humans during the song despite the fact that you can see that the video prompts sound.

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Surprisingly, all of the Pokemon in the current group make an appearance. Charizard isn’t left out because it’s still out of control, I suppose, and Snorlax doesn’t stay out because he’s too heavy for the boat.

We also see that Team Rocket’s following them in their signature Magikarp sub.

Pikachu’s acting oddly like it senses something, but none of the other Pokemon are being disturbed. Is it just because Zapdos is the next target or is Pikachu secretly a Psychic type? Or is this this an hidden power of the almighty Messiahchu?

A storm comes about because I guess the Pokemon movies love storms. We just had one in the short!

The captain, Maron, says they’re at Shamuti Island, which is very far from their intended course. Luckily, she used to live on that island. What a coinkydink.

Team Rocket, in their wake, makes a bunch of puns and crashes into a cliff.

Cut to Pallet Town where we see Delia Ketchum tending to her garden and her Mr. Mime sweeping the grass.…….Why is he sweeping the grass?

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Professor Oak comes up to chat and we get this line:

Professor Oak: “Well this is the time of year when the sun shines every day!”……..What time of year is that? I assume summer, but the sun shines in every season. There are rainy/cloudy days in summer too. Is this an actual saying?

The weather takes its cue and starts to get really crappy. It rains heavily for about five seconds, stops then starts snowing and we see that an aurora has appeared in the sky. All sorts of Pokemon start going nuts alongside the weird weather.

Professor Oak says that since Pokemon, like animals in real life, are more in tune with nature than humans, they can sense when something’s wrong. Since the Pokemon are acting so weird it must mean something’s very wrong. Yeah, this would’ve had more weight if not for the random five second downpour, snow storm and sudden aurora lights that came and went in ten seconds preceding said Pokemon freakouts. Pretty sure we could gauge from that that something was horribly wrong.

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Back on Shamuti Island, Ash and the others have arrived at the shore and are met with natives wearing traditional garb and odd masks. They scare Ash and the others for a bit until they realize that one of the villagers actually knows their boat captain, Maron. The villager woman, named Carol, explains that they’re preparing for their annual legend festival. Carol explains that since she’s too old to be the maiden of the festival her snarky brat of a little sister named Melody will be taking her place.

Maron introduces Ash to the group and explains that he’s a Pokemon trainer. Before she can introduce the others, the villagers go nuts because he’s a Pokemon trainer and apparently that means he’s the chosen one from the legend. Well, wait, Misty’s a Pokemon trainer too. A Gym Leader at that. Why can she not do it? Was it just because Ash was introduced first?

Melody says he’ll do as the chosen one for the festival and gives him a welcome kiss on the cheek, which makes Misty visibly perturbed. This is our first indication that this movie will have a pro-AAML (Ash and Misty Love) slant. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support AAML. My problem with this part of the movie, as with any AAML I see now, is the fact that now I know this pairing will likely never ever happen, especially since the show essentially got rebooted and Misty hardly ever makes appearances anymore. And there’s the frustration that is the weird TraceyxMisty BS they apparently have in later seasons. Made even worse by the fact that I think Tracey’s supposed to be around 15 and Misty’s 10……Now watching AAML just makes me sad.…

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Melody asks if Misty’s his little sister, Misty says no. Then Melody asks if she’s his girlfriend, which she is appalled at and says is gross, but Melody says she doesn’t think so. She invites them to the legend banquet and tells Misty not to get jealous, which just pisses her off even further. You know what’s annoying me? I can’t find Melody’s age anywhere. She looks like she’s at least a couple years older than Ash and Misty, though she may be the same age as Tracey which may or may not make this situation slightly icky.

The festival starts and we cut to the banquet where we hear this…

Maron: “So she said ‘No, but I have Krabbies!’ Ahahahaha!”…..What the hell was the start of that joke?! That seriously sounds like a play on words to implicate someone having crabs. Am I looking too much into this? Because I never noticed that until now.

Misty’s still stewing over Melody’s comment about being Ash’s girlfriend and we see Melody come out in her purty festival garb playing the legendary song, AKA the theme of this movie, on her little seashell ocarina thing.

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Tracey and Ash are enamored by her, but Misty calls her a show off…..well…considering she’s putting on a show….yeah. Also, she’s just dancing a little bit while playing the song, it’s not like she’s got a pyrotechnic display set up.

We hear applause afterward but no one in the audience is visibly clapping so I dunno.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Dragon Ball Movie 2: Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle Review

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Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Goku has arrived on Roshi’s island to train under him, but a boy named Krillin has arrived to request the same thing. Roshi only wants to take on one student, so he offers a race to decide who gets to be his pupil. There’s a legend about a sleeping princess who has been held captive in a castle called The Devil’s Hand under the absurdly fittingly named Lucifer. Whoever saves the princess and brings her back to him wins. But there’s more to this ‘princess’ than you might think.

Breakdown: Returning to Funimation back in its early days. How quaint. This was picked up by Funimation when they were making their trial runs with Dragon Ball, but apparently this movie was a special release completely uncut and unedited, meaning all of the text remains in Japanese, including the credits, at least certain versions, the one that I have included them anyway. This is yet another movie that Harmony Gold also dubbed but damn it all if I can’t find that version. We also have a couple more HG name changes to note, one them being hilarious.

By the way, doesn’t that plot just sound like the most cliché thing ever? A princess is being held hostage by an evil being and it’s up to our valiant heroes to save her? Was that like the first story plot ever made?

Our plot is set up by our narrator saying a sleeping princess is trapped in some castle by a freaky demon thing and actually scares me with the odd and creepy animation they’re using here. I have to say, that was unexpected.

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We get the opening theme which seems to be the original Japanese version. No idea why. Funi already had a dubbed theme made for Dragon Ball and their own title card. To be honest, I prefer Funi’s version over the original. The vocals are fine, but the music is awful. It’s a shame because the Funi version that was finalized for the entirety of the series is one of my favorite themes ever.

Oh well, at least I don’t have to see that lame title card again.

This movie continues on the previous adventures from the last movie, so I guess these movies are in their own little canon. Goku is flying around on his nimbus catching some food as he heads to Master Roshi’s house to ask to be his student. Goku here is voiced by Ceyli Delgadillo as opposed to Saffron Henderson from the previous movie. You may know her as…….No one else. Apparently she voiced young Dende in the older dubs of Dragonball Z as well as the kid that Yusuke saves in the first episode of Yu Yu Hakusho, but her role as Dende was redubbed in the remastered versions of the DBZ series.

She does a pretty good job, and I don’t have any real complaints beyond that same weird feeling of having a different voice actor play a well-known character.

He meets back up with Master Roshi and asks to be his student, but he says he doesn’t take on many students and wonders if Goku has what it takes. Huh? In the last movie he performed the move that took you years to create and master in about two minutes. That doesn’t show you that he has potential?

Goku hears something and they look outside to see a small boat paddling in the distance. It’s everyone’s favorite bald guy, Krillin!

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Krillin here is voiced by Lauren Steele, who was never replaced as his VA barring when he became an adult.

Oh and Krillin’s HG name is the hilarious one I was talking about.

You…you ready?

You sure?

Okay, here it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…..It’s Bongo!

…..BONGO! Funny – he doesn’t look like the guy from The Mosquitoes…..If you get that reference, you earn a hug.

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Krillin makes a grand entrance by jumping from his boat that is still pretty far away from shore, but ends up getting his head stuck in the sand. He asks to be Roshi’s student as well, presenting him with a dirty magazine as a gift.

Roshi only seems to want to take on one student. Krillin presented him with a gift when Goku did not but Goku arrived there first and asked first, so he decides to give them a test to see who should get to be his student.

The test is one of legend that is incredibly dangerous. They have to save the princess from the plot—I mean legend has it that a Count named Lucifer (yes, Lucifer. She’s literally being held hostage by the devil) put a spell over a princess to put her in a constant state of sleep. Hey, you stole Maleficent’s gig! Their task is to go to the castle and save the princess. Whoever does the actual saving gets to be his student.

At the bare bones, this story’s as cliché as humanly possible, but Dragon Ball never makes things that boring.

As the story concludes, we see our first glimpse of Launch unenthusiastic applause

or as she’s known in the HG dub, Marilyn.

Her voice actress(es) isn’t (aren’t) the same here, but they emulate her voices pretty well and I never paid much attention to Launch anyway. During the series she was just kinda there and meant for comedy. I don’t blame you if you didn’t pay attention to her or remembered her either. Akira Toriyama has reportedly straight up admitted that, at a certain point, he completely forgot Launch even existed.

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Roshi forbids Goku from using the nimbus to prevent an unfair advantage against Krillin and merely points them in the supposed direction of the castle.

Krillin trips Goku as they start their race, but not like that matters because it’s Goku.

The race continues and Krillin continues to try all sorts of tricks to make Goku fall behind, even cutting a rope bridge and making Goku fall hundreds of feet into the rocky waters below. Krillin, there’s a difference between little underhanded tricks to win a race and attempted murder.

He also takes a bus and rides a herd of buffalo to get there faster, but Goku catches up on foot.

Meanwhile back on Roshi’s island, Bulma, Yamcha, Oolong and Puar come for a visit. The only significant voice change here is Bulma who is played by Leslie Alexander and, from what I can find this is the only voice acting role she’s ever done. I don’t like her as Bulma because she sounds way too much like a shy 40 year old librarian than the loud screaming teenager I know her as.

Goku and Krillin arrive at the Devil’s Hand while Bulma and the others catch up to them to see them/visit or help them I dunno. However, their plane gets attacked by some monster and they crash land.

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This movie’s villain is weird. He’s named Lucifer but he looks and acts like a vampire and he has an assistant named Igor. You’re meshing so many evil icons together…

Anyway, Bulma wakes up in a beautiful bedroom and Lucifer tries to sweet-talk her, but she demands to see Yamcha and the others.

Krillin and Goku make their way through the castle and see a whole army of monsters charging at them. However, they pretty much ignore them and run over them. One monster stays behind – a typical looking demon thing with….pink horns and a pink ribbon circling its head? And a little pink puffball sidekick?…..Okay.

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The army comes back, but Krillin won’t have any of that and starts kicking some ass while Goku faces off against the whateverthehellthatis who fights with….giant orange lollipops?……Did I eat the wrong brownies a minute ago?

Once the candy man is dispatched, Goku goes to help Krillin with the others and we get a good ol’ fashioned ass kicking montage. It’s here where some of the voice acting gets a little lame, but it’s not too bad.

However, pinky gets back up and starts Master Asia-ing everything. Goku demands that he release the princess, but he tells them that the princess isn’t a girl.

Goku starts to take him on, and Krillin decides that this is his opportunity to split.

Unsurprisingly, the thing with Bulma is a trap and they really want to drain her blood with a needle for a ceremony they’re having.

Krillin gets carried off by a pterodactyl and Goku pursues him. Goku calls his flying nimbus to save Krillin from falling into the mouth of a sea monster. He tries to set Krillin on the nimbus, but since Krillin doesn’t have a ‘pure heart’ he falls right through and Goku has to save him again.

The pink and red monster thing gains the ability to fly by putting two balls of green fire beneath his feet and sends out his army of flying monsters with machine guns to chase after Goku and Krillin on the flying nimbus—You know sometimes I need to take a step back and realize how silly anime is sometimes…Ahhhh.

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They fight for a bit and Goku takes the pink and red monster thing down by leading him into the mouth of the monster that was going to eat Krillin before and he gets eaten. However, they remain pursued by the army of monsters behind him.

Meanwhile, the monster army is taking their sweet time sucking out Bulma’s blood. Oolong, Puar and Yamcha are in disguise in the crowd keeping an eye on her. Just as she’s about to be poked with the needle and just as Yamcha’s about to run to her aid, a giant explosion occurs overhead and Goku and Krillin fall into the Sleeping Princess’s canopy bed where they discover that there is no princess in terms of a girl. It’s actually the name of a giant jewel. Okay, if it’s not an actual princess, why is it being held in a canopy bed? I mean, what’s the point besides to further confuse people?

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Launch comes out of friggin’ nowhere riding a motor unicycle and steals the jewel away. She starts escaping, but Count Lucifer sends his army after her. Since she now has the jewel, Krillin and Goku pursue her not realizing that Bulma and the others are also in trouble. Yamcha and the others make their way to Bulma and are about to rescue her when Oolong and Puar lose their transformations and they all end up getting outed and surrounded by monsters.

As Launch is getting away, stray hairs tickle her nose and make her sneeze, which causes her to transform back into good launch. (If you need a refresher on her character seeing as how they never explain here who she is or what her schtick is, Launch has two personalities; one being a gun-crazy thief and the other being a super sweet ball of sunshine. Besides the obvious manner change, her hair also changes color between blue (good) and blonde (bad) with her eyes also changing color from black (good) to green (bad). She switches between the two against her will when she sneezes and neither personality remembers anything the other has done.)

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Her sudden transformation causes her to crash and lose the jewel to Goku, but Lucifer grabs Krillin and threatens to kill him if Goku doesn’t hand over the jewel. He gives Lucifer the jewel but Lucifer’s army attacks anyway. Goku handles them just fine until that little pink puffball thing from earlier bites his tail, causing him to become faint. The monsters take this opportunity to beat the crap out of Goku while Krillin looks on helplessly. Later, Goku and the others are all trapped in some wall being guarded by the pink puffball.

Lucifer and his cronies begin their ritual which involves aligning the full moon with the skylight of their castle and shining the light onto the gem to ‘activate’ it. Did the writers just take every cliché around and shove them into a Dragon Ball movie?

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If you’re familiar with the series, you know what the full moon entails. Goku turning into a giant uncontrollable ape. Despite the first movie not showcasing the ape, Yamcha seems to know about the transformation and how to stop it. I only mention this because this movie as well as the first one clearly do not follow the show’s canon because several aspects such as Goku’s adventures with Bulma, meeting Yamcha and Puar, meeting Oolong, Master Roshi etc. are all pretty damn different from the occurrences in the show. Even this movie’s initial plot with Krillin is not how it happened.

We also have no idea what Goku and the others were doing between movies but we know they weren’t together the entire time because Goku was off on his own when he went to Roshi’s. If you’re merely following the movie’s canon, you’d be pretty confused as to the workings of a good chunk of this movie such as what Goku is, what happens during a full moon, what Launch’s deal is and more.

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King Kong Reference confirmed

As Goku causes havoc, Yamcha tells Puar to turn into a giant pair of scissors and he cuts off his tail, causing him to transform back.

Once that’s said and done (What was the point of that? I guess it did free them from the wall, but I don’t even know how they got in the wall to begin with.) they go off to rescue Bulma who’s still being held captive by Lucifer.

Lucifer’s big plan is to use a giant friggin’ laser beam to blow up the sun. They never explain why they need Bulma’s blood in the first place. And to make it even more annoying, they never even take any of her blood so I honestly don’t understand why that plot point was needed.

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The blood wasn’t part of the ritual in any way nor was it a part of the master plan. Were they going somewhere with that and just forgot? What would they have done if Bulma and the others never went to the Devil’s Hand? That was a one in a million chance and they needed that blood, supposedly right then and there, for their ceremony. They also never explain what the Sleeping Princess jewel is or where it came from or what it even does really besides I guess make lasers work. RRRGHHHH.

They want to blow up the sun to take over the worldOf course

because they thrive in darkness while humans die without sunlight. They claim the sun is useless to them, but hi science. Do they even realize that moonlight is only possible with sunlight? The moon doesn’t produce its own light – it’s reflecting light from the sun. That’s why the moon frequently has shadows. Seeing as how the moon was critical to this plan and the overall workings of the jewel, they can’t call the sun ‘useless.’

Also, I hope these demons have an extremely strong low temperature tolerance.

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Goku and the others show up and they have short fight with Lucifer’s only attack being a red ball of light replayed with stock footage a couple of times. Right as the laser is being fired, Goku destroys it with a Kamehameha wave, but the blast instead backs up in the laser beam, kills Lucifer and destroys his castle. Oh wait, come on. This was another movie where Goku didn’t technically beat the baddie? Hmph.

They take a picture by the destroyed castle and show it to Master Roshi along with Launch who decided to tag along for some reason. Can she ride the nimbus? At least when she’s good Launch? Also, I love how Launch isn’t even named in this movie. They never mention it once. If you’re going to make your own movie canon, you need to explain stuff like this, movie.

Launch barely even had a purpose in this movie. She showed up, stole the jewel and lost it two minutes after getting it. Her being there had no bearing on the plot whatsoever.

Anyway, Roshi’s so enamored by Launch that he immediately accepts both Krillin and Goku as his pupils and shows Launch around the house. However, she turns back into bad Launch and shoots up the place, even shooting Roshi three times in the head. (He got better)

And the movie ends with Goku, Krillin and Roshi freaked out by Launch.

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Bottomline: I have to say, this movie’s probably one of the weakest movies based on an anime I’ve ever seen. It’s not horrible, it’s just not interesting and there are a ton of issues with the storytelling.

If you’re only following the canon of the movies, this movie would be pretty confusing with Launch (especially considering that, since you never hear or see her name, you’d never even know who she was) and Goku turning into an ape. The story is as cliché as it sounds, the villain is weak as hell, the master plan is cliché as hell and most of it is nonsensical. If this weren’t a Dragon Ball movie and included its humor and characters I would be asleep right now.

That being said, the main/only highlights of the movie were Goku and the others. There are several awesome jokes and I love watching Krillin kick ass even if he ultimately doesn’t get to do much. The only reason this movie gets as many points as it has is merely the lovable qualities of the Dragon Ball universe. If it didn’t have these qualities, it’d be an awful standalone movie.

The voice acting’s pretty good even if Funimation was just starting to take their training wheels off back then.

The music is also standard DB fare, great with it’s own style and flair.

Additional Information and Notes: Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle was directed by Daisuke Nishio, a prominent director in the Dragon Ball series with the entirety of the series, several movies and nearly half of Dragon Ball Z under his belt. It was written by Kenji Torui. The movie was produced by Toei and is currently licensed in the US by Funimation.

Runtime: 45 minutes

Year: 1987

Recommended Audience: Nothing particularly bad. There’s violence and nudity with Goku after he de-transforms. Roshi’s still a perv, but he doesn’t do anything too bad here. 10+