It’s a funny feeling to see your childhood memories re-enacted on the silver screen.
The world of Pokemon has sprung back to life on the big screen with the latest film in the franchise, Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!
The film transported its viewers back to the late 1990s, as 10-year-old Ash Ketchum began his journey into the world of Pokemon to become the ultimate Pokemon master. After being the last Pokemon Trainer to reach Pokemon researcher Professor Oak’s lab, Ash is introduced to Pikachu, an electric Pokemon who refuses to return to its Poke Ball. As they set out on their quest, the two are soon attacked by a group of angry Spearow. Pikachu begins to trust Ash after witnessing his determination to protect his Pokemon friend under the pelting rain and attacks from the group of Spearow and lets out an electric attack that clears the sky from rain.
This is the point when the movie diverts from the anime series’ timeline as the legendary Pokemon Ho-Oh flies past Ash and Pikachu and drops one of its rainbow feathers as a gift to Ash. Ash and Pikachu make a promise to each other to one day meet Ho-Oh again and continue their journey, during which they meet other Pokemon Trainers, Verity and Sorrel, along the way.
The movie also included several Pokemon from the seventh generation, such as Lycanroc and Incineroar, which was a nice surprise for fans of the Pokemon Sun and Moon games or anime series.
The film relies heavily on nostalgia. It reminds fans who grew up watching the anime series and its movies about when they used to battle each other in an alleyway after school, or when they stayed up all night with a Game Boy to level up a Pokemon before going back to fight a gym leader.
Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! is definitely not perfect by any means. The pacing of the storyline feels rushed, especially with some Pokemon reaching their final evolutions by the third or fourth battle. Also, it was strange when the antagonist suddenly became one of the good guys. Not to mention there's a very interesting scene between Ash and Pikachu that will make members of the audience either tear up, glance awkwardly at each other or straight up start laughing.
There was also a lack of character development for both Verity and Sorrel, whose tragic backstories seemed to only be given 10 minutes of screen time each.
However, after 20 years, the franchise continues to have a huge influence on its followers. The movie is the franchise’s 20th silver screen release and, with the anime series planning to air its 1,000th episode soon, it’s pretty clear that Pokemon is here to stay.
Despite all its flaws, Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! is a movie fans won't regret choosing to watch. Seeing Ash and Pikachu on their journey will remind fans of a much simpler time when all they wanted was to watch the two “become the very best, like no one ever was.”