Film Review: Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

Title: Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

Genre: Animated Adventure

Directed by: Kunihiko Yuyama (Pokemon: The First Movie, Pokemon: The Movie 2000)

Age Rating: PG (Parental Guidance)

Run Time: 112 mins (1hr 52mins)

Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You!

Hello everybody, this is my review of the 2017 movie, Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! This movie is the 20th movie in the Pokemon film series and was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama whose work mostly involves Pokemon, even directing the first Pokemon movie in 1998. The story takes us right back to when Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town first meets the electric mouse Pokemon, Pikachu.

I CHOOSE YOU TO REALISE THAT THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU WANT TO BE A TRUE POKEMON MASTER, DO NOT CONTINUE…unless you want spoilers.

The plot at the start of the film is basically the exact same as how Ash obtained Pikachu. He woke up late on the his tenth birthday to choose his very first Pokemon from Professor Oak. Because Ash got there late, he only had one choice left and that was Pikachu. Pikachu was very disobedient and he had no time for Ash. Ash found a Pidgey and was trying to catch it, but Pikachu would not help him. So Ash threw a rock and missed Pidgey but hit another Pokemon, Spearow. A flock of Spearow arrived and started to attack Ash and Pikachu and left Pikachu quite injured. After falling, Ash told Pikachu not to worry that he would protect Pikachu. Pikachu watched as Ash challenged the Spearow and told them to leave Pikachu alone and attack him instead. Pikachu built up enough strength to leap into the air and use a tremendous thunderbolt to drive all the Spearow away. As the sky clears, a legendary Pokemon named Ho-oh flies past and a feather drops down to Ash.

We later see Ash on his Pokemon adventure, challenging people to Pokemon battles and winning. He overhears that there is a legendary Pokemon called Entei in the area, along with all the other trainers. The trainers go and find Entei in the forest but they all lose trying to catch it. Ash meets a trainer called Verity and they don’t get on at all. Ash also meets another trainer called Sorrel. As it starts to rain they go to find shelter but on the way they run into a Charmander, a fire Pokemon with a flame on its tail, if the flame goes out, Charmander dies. Charmander was abandoned in the wilderness by his trainer, Cross because Cross thinks that Charmander is too weak. Ash nurses Charmander back to health while Sorrel tells Ash about the legend of the rainbow hero and that Ho-oh drops a feather to a person that it thinks will be the rainbow hero who is destined to fight the Ho-oh.

Cross returns to fight Ash and his newly evolved Charmeleon, but Cross makes quick work of them both. Ash distraught goes into a forest alone and another Pokemon named Misdreavous puts Ash asleep and gives him a nightmare where there are no Pokemon. The rainbow feather loses all colour, but in the dream Ash realises this is all wrong and wakes up to see that the feather has regained it’s colour. The team continue on their journey up Mt. Tensei to battle the Ho-oh. As they are about to make it to their destination, Cross returns and challenges Ash to another Pokemon battle, which Ash accepts. Charmeleon evolves into Charizard and beats Cross’s Pokemon. Cross in his annoyance steals the rainbow feather and puts it into a beam of light, meant to summon Ho-oh. When Cross places the feather, the beam turns dark and all the Pokemon in the area turn bad and attack the group. Ash managed to save Pikachu by getting him into a Pokeball but Ash starts to disappear. Pikachu brings himself out of the Pokeball to see Ash start to fade away and in his sadness lets out a mighty thunderbolt which stops all the Pokemon from fighting.

Ash wakes up to see that all the colour is drained and he is left in a grey world. But Ash doesn’t give up and as he starts to walk towards Pikachu he is transported to different areas of nature and colour. Ash starts to run through these areas which creates a sort of portal in front of Pikachu, until Pikachu realises that it’s Ash and they hug each other and Ash turns to colour again…If you’re confused, I don’t blame you, but it happens. Ash takes the rainbow feather and places it on the beam, calling Ho-oh down to fight, which they do, but you don’t get to see. Cross realises his mistakes and makes up with Ash and everyone goes on their own journey and separate. That is the end.

So onto the movie and what I thought of it.

Story wise I thought it was interesting that they went back to when Ash first got Pikachu. I felt that it was a retelling for people who might not have been old enough to experience that when the Pokemon TV show first aired and I thought it was a nice throwback. My personal issue is that, I was around when the TV show first aired, so the first third of the film is absolutely wasted on me because they done nothing new or different with it, it was almost the exact same. They could have just shown the first episode of Pokemon for the first half an hour and it would have had the same effect. That said, it does explain why Ash sees the mythical bird from the TV show and explains why Ho-oh appears to Ash all those years ago. There are also many storylines that again are not only taken from the first season of the show, but play out almost exactly as they happen in the show. Ash finding Charmander and Cross leaving him? In the show that was a character called Damien that left Charmander and for the same reason. Butterfree leaving Ash to go mate with another pink Butterfree, yep.

They do go into some Pokemon and explain how their origins, such as Entei. I thought his story was cool but sad. Apparently a building with Pokemon in it burned down and killed the Pokemon, but Ho-oh took pity on them and brought them back to life as three legendary Pokemon, Entei, Raikou and Suicune. I enjoyed learning their lore as I am a lore freak! Another sad story was about Sorrel and the reason he kept away from Pokemon. As a child he got lost from his home and his family Pokemon, Luxray stayed with him. A blizzard occurred and Luxray covered Sorrel to keep him warm. Sorrel was found but Luxray froze to death. It was a sad story and not one you encounter much in the world of Pokemon, death.

A big problem I have with the story are Team Rocket. If anyone knows their Pokemon they know exactly who the dastardly trio are, but to anyone new, Team Rocket are members of an evil organisation trying to take over the world using Pokemon. In the show they always come up with shenanigans to help accomplish their schemes but they get defeated in the end and usually get blasted into the air with their classic catchphrase “Team Rocket are blasting off again!”. In this movie they show up about three or four times and don’t actually do anything and just keep blasting off into the air repeating the catchphrase. They are utterly pointless in this movie and should not have been added.

Lastly, on the story, my biggest problem: Why the hell did they skip over the fight between Ho-oh and Pikachu, you know THE WHOLE POINT OF THE MOVIE! I sat through an almost two hour movie, much of which I have seen before years ago and the big build up, the penultimate moment, the payoff…is nothing. No epic Pokemon battle between Pikachu and a legendary Pokemon, nothing. Even worse, it’s not even mentioned, we don’t know if Ash lost or if he caught Ho-oh or won and let it go, nothing. I felt like it was a complete waste of time in some ways. Why build up this epic rainbow hero story, the destined Pokemon trainer to fight Ho-oh and then not only not show it, but don’t even mention it again.

The artwork of the movie was beautiful and some of the scenes, especially when Pikachu let off the tremendous thunderbolts were absolutely astounding. The movie uses a mix of 2-D and 3-D graphics throughout and the transition between both is seamless. The Pokemon battles were brought to life, especially the battles between Incineroar vs. Charmeleon and Incineroar vs. Charizard. If you are anyway into Pokemon you will love those battles. The soundtrack was very good and enjoyable and worked with the movie.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, but boy did it have it’s flaws. The story was the biggest problem with it as the Pokemon battles, artwork, graphics, soundtrack and voice acting were all pretty good. The biggest question for me would be would I watch this again and I think the answer is a big no. If I wanted to watch Ash’s and Pikachu’s story I would just watch the show again, but it does explain a bit more. It’s an okay movie, enjoyable enough and I’m glad I watched it, but I won’t watch it again.

The Doomslayer rating system:

10 – Masterpiece

9 – Close to Perfection

8 – Excellent

7 – Very Good

6 – Good, worth a watch! – Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

5 – Okay, but I’m glad it’s over!

4 – Bearable

3 – Baaaaaaad!

2 – Who spent time making this?

1 – Travesty, they should never go near a film set again!

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

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