Have you ever wondered how well the original Pokémon movies are holding up, but don’t want to rummage around your loft for the VHS you bought back in 2001? Well, thanks to some licencing changes, Manga UK have secured the distribution rights to the first 3 films and have released them in a charming Blu-Ray set known as Pokémon Movie Collection. Let’s relive some of the most traumatic experiences in Pokémon history together. I’m not crying, your crying!
The set is split into three discs, one for each film. While they have been out on VHS and DVD for a while, this is the first time we are seeing the first three Pokémon movies in high definition. There are slight changes due to the higher quality but it does stop short of a full remaster. If you’ve not seen these films before, let’s have a quick run through of each movie contained in the Pokémon Movie Collection.
Pokémon The First Movie
The first Pocket Monster movie was released a time where the series was relatively young and care free. Parents was expecting to take their eager children to see a cute film about a boy, his friends and a yellow rat have fun. When the curtains raised at local Cineplex’s around the world was an onslaught of brutality, mortality & destruction.
Pokémon The First Movie tells the story of how Mewtwo – the most powerful Pokémon (at the time) came to be. He’s story is one of sadness and death which the film constantly reminds you of. Within the first 5 minutes, there is already a body count. Couple this with themes of technology vs nature as well as man vs beast it is one heavy 75 minutes.
The chances are if you saw this film as a child, you will probably remember the upsetting scenes. However, when you look back there are flickers of the TV series. Brock is as sleazy as ever, Pikachu is ever present and Team Rocket finally recognise the formula of each episode. It’s a good reminder of where Pokémon came from and worth the price of the boxset alone.
Pokémon 2000: The Movie
How do you follow up one of the biggest animated films? Well you do another one in the space of 12 months of course! Pokémon 2000: The Movie is the first to show off the newest generation of pocket monsters. Much like The First Movie, the focus is on Legendary Pokémon, this time in the shape of Lugia (voiced by Lawrence Fishbourne no less).
Lugia is a monster that is only supposed to show up when the world gets out of whack and is threatening to be destroyed. Funnily enough as the film begins, this is what happens. The 3 legendary birds; Articuno, Moltres and Zapdos are being captured by someone who isn’t Team Rocket and it’s up to Ash, Misty and Tracey to save the day. I know you’re thinking, “Where’s Brock?” For the sake of argument, let’s just say there is a woman involved.
Let’s not forget these are children’s films so the story is as predictable as they come. However, after the tear-fest that is Pokémon The First Movie, the sequel relies more on a lighter tone. While it is funnier, the lighter approach doesn’t seem to work as well as it could. The film we are left with is OK, with a slice of humour.
Pokémon 3: The Movie
By the third movie, it seems everyone knew the wheels of the Pokémon fad was starting to slow. As such we’re presented a movie that’s simply not very good. The story tells of a small girl who becomes obsessed with the mythical Pokémon Entei. Unbeknownst to her, the mysterious Unown have tapped into her mind and created this reality. It’s up to Ash and the gang (with Brock) to bring the child back to reality.
The movie ticks along nicely, but even at 58 minutes it seems too long. The story doesn’t really hold its own, especially when compared to the first two movies. This gets to such a point that Team Rocket’s James delivers the line, “Do you think we’ll have a bigger role in the next movie.” It should be a funny moment, but just sums up the burnout the creative team must be having to produce 3 features in 3 years as well as a series.
Pokémon Movie Collection Conclusion
Regardless of having the Third movie, this Pokémon trilogy is a good edition to any fans collection. Unfortunately, the short films shown before the main events are missing and the special features are light on the ground. The picture quality has had a slight retouch for the Blu-Ray discs but you are mainly buying this for the stories.
For children, the Pokémon Movie Collection is a great accompaniment to a series that is still going strong. Parents can teach their kids about the origins of Pokémon from a time where only 151 creatures inhabited the world. For adult fans, it’s a chance to relive the nostalgia when it was OK that Brock was a bit of a pest. The Pokémon trilogy isn’t the best way to showcase a 20-year-old series. If you’ve never seen a Pokémon episode or played a game, then I wouldn’t suggest starting here.
- It's Pokémon
- The First Movie
- Team Rocket
- The third Movie
- Lack of features
- Only English dubs