Pokemon I Choose You

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    Pokemon I Choose You

    Post by Airyll on Tue 05 Dec 2017, 7:20 pm

    Before we get into this, I want to make two things abundantly clear:

    1. THERE'S GONNA BE SPOILERS, CAP'N. We can't really talk about our opinions about the movie without additionally acknowledging the fact there's gonna be spoilers.


    2. I've actually only seen half the movie or so. I found a copy of it on YouTube that played at normal speed, but a small screen, with slightly higher pitched audio (but not enough to be disgustingly hamster-voice.) I'll actually do a full review on it once I can see it in a proper format and sit down to watch the whole thing but, until then, I still have opinions. You might also think those opinions are wrong or have different ones. That's cool.

    With that out of the way, I just want to have a general discussion about how... actually kind of good that movie is? I had two phases when it came to the I Choose You movie: the first phase when we first heard about it was pure, unbridled excitement. Holy shit, they're re-doing the very first adventures of Ash and elaborating on the fact he saw Ho-Oh in the very first episode of the anime?! I was ready to pay so much money to go see that movie multiple times.

    Then I heard about how it... wasn't really a re-make into movie form, but more of a reboot. How we had Pokemon from every generation making appearances in some form or another - mostly Kanto, naturally a few Johto, very few Hoenn, and a sprinkle and dash of Sinnoh and Alola. We get cameo appearances from some Kalos Pokemon, but unless they appear in the first half of the movie that's probably the region least-represented. Either way, all these Pokemon from all these regions really does destroy the movie's credibility as a remake, so it was clearly a reboot at this point. Added to the fact that Misty and Brock just flat out aren't around, Cross replaces the infamous Gary (for better or for worse depending on how much you enjoyed Gary) and it becomes even more obvious that this isn't really canon.

    It's actually more like one of the most elaborate fanfictions that was liked enough to be produced into a feature film. And I... didn't like that idea.

    Actually it's rather funny - I'm always doubting new Pokemon material and always wind up staring through my Nostalgia Glasses - and then I always wind up really liking the new material anyway. While Silver will always be my favourite game, the latest generation of Pokemon has undoubtedly been one of my favourites and I still, at a ripe age of twenty-five and a half years, squeal like a tiny child when I get a good Pokemon I love that I can then raise to be a monstrosity in the arena.

    My goals might have changed from "Catch them all and always have Lugia in my team because I love Lugia" to "I want Pokemon with a semi-decent nature and a beneficial ability while covering all my type bases as best as possible" but I'm still basically a huge child who loves Pokemon and even though I try and get bitter and "get of off of my fucking lawn" with this franchise, I fail to keep up the facade when I actually look at the new media.

    So, with that said... what do I think of this movie?

    Well. Well...

    I kinda like it to be honest.

    Okay, okay, I know, Pikachu talks and it's fucking weird to hear that, but we all basically already knew that Pikachu might as well talk because he's having conversations with Ash all the goddamn time since the beginning of time. I don't really think that it was necessary, because I believe in show-don't-tell (and Pokemon The First Movie did this very well with Pikachu without needing him to ever speak) but that doesn't actually mean the moment itself was bad.

    Also, as soon as Pikachu is done talking, they basically kill Ash so hard his fucking body evaporates and we get an almost comical "hat of recently deceased floats down onto ground" moment that borderline had me in tears for the wrong reasons. Seeing ten year old Ash blown up that hard has satisfied a vindictive part of me I didn't even know existed and, for this, I'm a little thankful.

    Speaking of Ash actually... this might be my favourite version of him. Now that sounds very strange, because I was never really an Ash fan as such but I did enjoy the anime a lot and it had some very memorable moments. So to say that this, this one singular movie that I've only watched half of, is actually my favourite incarnation of Ash feels strange even to me. But it's true! I... really love this version of Ash. This version of Ash actually feels like he's around ten years old. And he actually feels like a real character, too.

    See, Ash for me always had this problem. He was never a noble hero because he was always too childish to be noble, but he was also never childish either. Not properly childish. He had childish moments but never actually reacted to things like a child would - he bickered with Gary but he pretty much always took his losses kind of well. He never actually put Pikachu into his pokeball even when it was very clear that the best course of action for his stupid yellow mouse was to put him into his pokeball so that he didn't die. Ash never even really had memorable moments of self-doubt but nor did he have moments of over-inflated ego. For all of Ash's moments of being one or the other, they were so brief that he never actually just... was.

    Ash was always middle-ground blank-as-white-paper. He never developed one way or the other, he only had tiny moments throughout a series before he went back to just being himself.

    So for all of my concerns with this being a reboot, I actually really like this reboot. I want this Ash to stay. I'm invested to see this Ash progress. Because this Ash is actually a character. This Ash actually has a very clear character arc where he struggles with a huge wave of self-doubt in what he wants to do, what he wants to be, and how he wants to be it. This Ash experiences something that I'm sure we all relate to and have had experiences with - he gets his ass seriously beat at the one thing he wants to be good at... and he becomes bitter about it. He runs through every excuse as to why his ass got beat - his Charmeleon wasn't strong enough but Pikachu would have totally won that fight! Maybe if he'd just picked a different starter Pokemon, he'd be stronger! Ash has a really strong and relatable moment where he's met with what, for him, is an extreme failure, and he struggles to bounce back from it.

    Of course he gets magical bullshit help from a legendary Pokemon to overcome this comparatively short period of self doubt, something no real person can ever have claimed to have happen, but at least this Ash has a character arc that wasn't just relatable, but made sense and felt real. Shit, he even manages to chase Pikachu away with his comment about how he should have picked a different starter, and it's fucking nice to see Pikachu react to that moment too. Pikachu is able to feel more real because Ash feels more real, and it makes the rest of the movie so much better.

    I still have my gripes about Ash being the chosen one, or the mystical "rainbow hero" in this movie's case, and I still wish we could get a series of Pokemon where we had older teenagers or young adults as the main characters instead of good ol' Ash Ketchupsauce, but for making one of the most likeable versions of Ash to date for me, I'm gonna give the movie props.

    I also actually really like Cross, although his hair is fucking stupid and he doesn't really get a character arc as good as Ash. I like the fact that Cross is irredeemable - he battles Ash and kicks his ass, and he follows Ash being bitter and vindictive because he doesn't understand why Ash gets a magic feather duster and he doesn't when he kicked Ash's ass, and this is at least understandable motivation. There's not a stupid, shitty villain in this movie who wants to control the world and capture a Pokemon to do so... there's just a punk-ass kid with stupid hair who seriously doesn't know better and he hasn't learnt better because he's gotten strong Pokemon. Additionally so, I feel like this gives the infamous Charmander-into-Charizard story arc a lot more prudence, too. Instead of being abandoned by Damian and then just never seeing Damian again, Chamander is abandoned by Cross for being weak and actually gets to battle Cross later. Twice. The first time he loses, and the second time is an almost close call until he evolves into Charizard. And you know what? I like this Charizard better too, and that says a lot because I loved original Charizard.

    I loved original Charizard and the fact it refused to obey Ash because it wound up thinking Ash just wasn't a good enough trainer to deserve being listened to, until proved otherwise.

    But I love this Charizard more, because that entire development is given to Cross, Charizard's trainer, instead. It isn't Charizard that outgrows Ash - it's Charizard and Ash that outgrow Cross - and Cross refuses to listen to them steadfastly. In fact, even when Cross is soundly thrashed by his now ex-Pokemon, he just flat out still uses physical strength to steal Ash's magic feather duster to try and summon Ho-Oh. Cross is the one that has to confront and realise his mistakes when he winds up totally stripped of power; Charizard saves him from an attack but is no longer his Pokemon and won't listen to him, and Lycanroc is usurped by Marshadow and made to attack Cross himself.

    Cross can only redeem himself when he makes use of his impressive strength for the benefit of others instead of, purely, himself. Arguably, Cross gets better show-don't-tell character development than Ash does, and it's done extremely well. I liked it, anyway, and I think Cross is one of my favourite would-be-antagonists from the entire movie series. He has no ulterior motive... he's just a dumb fucking stupid-ass kid who wants only the strongest Pokemon and he'll bully everybody else because he can - until he can't. It's good shit.

    The two extra friends we get as Ash's fellow travelling companions are pretty unremarkable (though I won't lie, Luxray's death may or may not have made me teary-eyed and I felt extremely offended that Nintendo are still fucking murdering Pokemon in their movies WE GET IT THEY CAN DIE PLEASE JUST LET THESE GOOD BLESSED POKEMON LIVE, THEY DID NOTHING WRONG) and the music is fairly uninspired. The animation is absolutely amazing, that said, and I would say that it's worth watching this movie purely for the animation if nothing else. There are some obvious bad frames (Charizard's Seismic Toss at the end is a good example of that, there's a really obvious set of like five to ten frames where the angle just isn't good) but overall it all looks fantastic. Charmeleon especially, actually!

    And... that's kind of it.

    I just had to talk about it, because I actually really enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would. It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, I do genuinely wanted to go and see it properly or get it on DVD or Blu-Ray or whatever the hip kids do these days. It was a good movie, I liked it, and I would actually recommend it.

    THERE I SAID IT, I'M BITTER AND OLD AND WEAR NOSTALGIA GOGGLES TOO MUCH



      Current date/time is Sat 20 Jan 2018, 4:32 pm