Director: Kunihiko Yuyama
Cast: Sarah Natochenny, Rodger Parsons, Carter Cathcart, Ikue Otani
Runtime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 23 November 2017
Synopsis: In the small town of Masara Town in Kanto Region, a brash 10-year old trainer named Satoshi dreams of becoming a Pokémon Trainer to travel across the world and earn the title "Pokémon Master". But when he accidentally got a Pikachu from the town's local Professor, his life as a Pokémon Trainer begins in a rather fun but bittersweet way as Satoshi must forge his bond with his new friend as well as discovering the secrets of the world they're living in.
Fun fact 1: The pilot episode of the Pokémon anime series first broadcasted in Japan more than 20 years ago.
Fun fact 2: The voice of Ash Ketchum (or Satoshi) in both Japanese and English versions are done by ladies.
Fun fact 3: There are 802 Pokémons to date (with 720 registered on the official Pokedex).
Pokémon the Movie:I Choose You! is the 20th Pokémon movie to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon anime series. The initial proposal for the movie was to promote the new Sun & Moon series, but was later decided that it will be loosely based on the pilot episode of the anime series instead.
The first half an hour of the movie follows quite closely to the pilot episode of the anime series. Compared to 20 years ago, the quality of the animation has improved, but it still retains the flavour and nostalgia of the Indigo League leg in Ash’s journey. There were also subtle details added to give the animation a touch of modernity.
The story follows the journey of Ash and Pikachu’s encounter with Ho-oh, a legendary Pokémon. In his quest to become the best Pokémon trainer, Ash crosses path with other trainers and challenges gym leaders to earn badges. Having gifted the rainbow wing by Ho-oh, it leads him and his comrades to find the legendary Pokémon. Although newer Pokémons were introduced in the movie (like Incineroar and Lycanroc), it pays tribute to the first generation Pokémons as well. Many references and story arcs also referenced to the series 20 years ago, with a slight twist to fit into the movie.
Needless to say, the star of the movie was Pikachu. Its adorableness and cuteness never wears off. Otani Ikue, the voice of Pikachu, once again nails it. The movie was appropriately paced, with humourous scenes to keep all entertained. While avid fans of the series have been vocal about their criticisms of the movie – first, for making Pikachu speak human language and second, for leaving both Misty and Brock out of the main movie – the movie’s narrative is well-built and overall quite enjoyable.
Towards the end of the movie, there was a particular scene which was quite impressionable. Not because it was outstanding or original, but because it bore an uncanny resemblance to Your Name (2016). It was a scene where two parties were separated into parallel worlds and searching for one another. While that felt a little out of place, it did not distract from the main storytelling.
For a series that has been on for 20 years and running, there would be mature audience in the crowd who are bringing their children, or even little nieces or nephews to watch this film. Expect the movie to be one that people who grew up with Pokémon and are beginning to learn about Pokémon would both like! J
P.S.: The movie is available in both English (dubbed) and original Japanese (subbed). FYI, it wasn’t a translation mistake – Pikachu spoke in Japanese too.
P.P.S.: Stay on for the credit roll where you’ll get to catch all of Ash’s friends (including Misty and Brock!).
(A feel-good and nostalgic Pokémon movie for avid and casual fans alike!)
Review by Tho Shu Ling