Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! is an animated film directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, and it is the twentieth Pokemon movie in the franchise. This animated film was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise, and is a remix/retelling of the original Pokemon anime that follows the series main protagonist, Ash. I recently saw it in theatres, so here’s my review of Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!.
Warning: this review contains spoilers!
Let’s start with what this movie does right. For instance, the animation is great, the way they mixed 3D and digital animation was simply amazing. It’s colourful and smooth, especially in the Pokemon battles. A scene that really stuck out to me wasn’t actually a Pokemon battle, but the retelling of the legendary beast’s origins. It was done beautifully in this type of brush stroke style, that type of experimentation is rare to see in a Pokemon movie.
Another thing Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! does right is the story and the adventure. The story is simple basically Ash gets a Rainbow Wing from the legendary Pokémon Ho-oh and it sends him on a journey to Mount Tensai so he can battle Ho-oh. Simple story but the adventure throughout the film makes it a heartfelt journey that’ll have you rooting for Ash and Pikachu hoping they complete their journey.
The remix/retelling of the Ash and Charmander storyline was great and personally, I thought it was better than the original telling. In the original Pokemon anime once Charmander evolves into Charizard it doesn’t respect Ash anymore until a few seasons later. That never made sense to me because Ash saved Charizard from dying when it was a Charmander you think Charizard would have a great respect for Ash but it doesn’t. In Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! once Charmander evolves into Charizard it has a respect for Ash and listens to him which I feel makes way more sense and feels more natural.
Now let’s get to where Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! ‘drops the ball’. First off, Ash’s companions Sorrel and Verity receive very little development we get tidbits of information on them but it’s never expanded on. Sorrel and Verity characters aren’t bad characters they have enjoyable personalities, they’re just not developed as characters. For the people saying “this wouldn’t have happened if they went with Brock and Misty instead of Sorrel and Verity “. Since Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! is a remix/retelling of Ash’s beginnings and the movie is only an hour and thirty minutes Brock and Misty would’ve received the same amount of development as Sorrel and Verity. The only way Brock and Misty would’ve seemed more developed would be because you watched the original Pokemon anime.
Another problem I had with the movie concerning characters, was with the character Cross. On one hand, I like the fact that Ash had a rival again that didn’t like him, something we haven’t seen since the Black and White anime. On the other hand, I just didn’t like his character (that could be the point) I felt he suffered too much from some generic rival tropes. They do try to flesh him out near the end of the film just enough to justify why he is like he is. So overall I’m mixed on the character Cross.
A moment I think hindered the pacing in Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! was the recreation of the ‘bye, bye Butterfree’ moment. The ‘Bye, bye Butterfree’ moment is when Ash releases his Butterfree so it can go with this pink Butterfree. They recreate this moment in the movie but it feels so crammed in that it felt awkward and had no impact.
The final issue I had with Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! is the third act of the film. The third act feels really rushed, and so much stuff happens in it. It’s sometimes hard to follow what’s going on with how fast things happened. It’s a moment that I won’t spoil but I will say a certain character speaks in the film speaks and it is very jarring.
Overall, I have to say Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! was a great adventure film. Yeah, I had issues with the film like I said in this review yet I can say none of it ruined the movie for me. It has become one of my top five Pokemon films, if I were to say one more criticism about the film it could’ve been 30-45 minutes longer to flesh out some things. I give Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! an enthusiastic 8.5/10 the animation and the story were really well done.