- Release Date
- July 12, 2019
- OLM, Inc.
- 1 hr. 36 min.
Nostalgia is one of the most powerful things within the human mind, and sometimes anime isn’t neglected from its power. Some series or movies will try to recycle anything and everything out of a fanbase just so they can get every last dollar from their loyal fans. Pokémon, arguably one of the most prominent gateway anime series in America, has created such a large fanbase that it’ll potentially go down as one of the most beloved series of all time. However, nostalgia is negative because time is not always on its side, especially when something is brought back twenty years later. Will it reach the same amount of love and respect as its original? Or will it just be a cash grab that’s not worth anyone’s time?
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Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution is a 2019 Adventure, Fantasy anime film by the beloved OLM, Inc. Though it is the 22nd installment within the Pokemon film series, it’s a CGI remake of the first film. Some may consider the original a classic, especially those who watched the movie when they were children. Others may find this redone version quite impressive given how just because a property looks good in 2D doesn’t mean it’ll look the same in 3D. While many grew up with the original – myself included – reviewing something without biases is always a problem. As such, I’ll take my opinions of the original film out of this review when needed.
Since the film is a remake of the original, the only actual difference is the CGI aspect, which shows that it’s potentially decent at best. When Team Rocket scientists attempted to make the most powerful Pokémon in existence, and they succeeded. A clone made from Mew’s DNA, Mewtwo was enraged at his existence as he’s nothing but a tool for fighting. In his anger, he destroys the Team Rocket base and establishes a base in the middle of the ocean, inviting strong trainers to come and face his army of super clones. When Ash, Misty, and Brock are invited to the island, Mewtwo’s intentions become very clear, and it is up to them, and the other trainers and all the original Pokémon to stop him. The biggest battle of Pokémon now begins!
The story may not be unique, nor is it original within the fantasy genre, but what is interesting about this story is what’s seen inside the film itself. When the viewer watches this film, they’ll potentially be transported back into their younger days of simple storylines while also feeling like the viewer is watching the original series. The series is undoubtedly part of many childhoods within the American audience and presumably throughout the entire world, so having a film that many people watched growing up coming back to them is an enticing event. However, this is neither a positive nor a negative to the movie since it’s a remake instead of an independent film.
Considering that the original film was only seventy-five minutes in length and this version was ninety-seven, one would assume there’s slightly more story. Unfortunately, the viewer will surely be disappointed when they learn this film is almost a shot-for-shot remake and doesn’t add anything new from the original. Unfortunately, in other places, it also omits portions from the original. However, the worst part of the story isn’t the pacing, nor is it an extremely close remake of the original. The most negative aspect of the story is there isn’t any depth within the story itself, which is utterly unfortunate because, with such a massive fan base that continuing to grow, it gives the viewers a confident expectation of what’s going to happen.
While the art style is one of the most beautifully stunning facets of the entire film, at the very least, it will be the reason why people who aren’t a Pokémon fan will want to watch. The beautiful scenery and amazing twenty-first-century technology justly give this anime a new life. The way each Pokémon look and the amount of attention to detail with every single one is remarkable, which is a fantastic feat within any anime alone. While the Pokémon look stunning, so do the characters and surpass a majority of the expectations I had beforehand. Though it is clear that the majority of time and money was spent on the main cast, which isn’t a contrary per se of the film itself though it was moderately apparent after the first viewing.
Although the art style was amazing, the film’s two-handed knockout punch is the production behind the entire movie. The smoothness of the scenery and the way light plays a massive factor within the scenes is a wonderfully pleasing combination with the art style. Having so much attention to detail combined with the multiple textures is an utter blessing within this remake. Though some may not enjoy the newly teched-out version, that’s understandable, albeit nostalgia is a fantastic drug. It is pretty clear that potentially one of the biggest positives of this film will also be one of its biggest downfalls, meaning some may be unhappy with the state of the art technology version versus their childhood memory version.
Hopefully, if one can get past that potential problem, it’ll be smooth, potentially sailing for any viewer. This brings another case of negatives towards this film, which is the lack of emotion. If you’ve seen the original version and are hoping for the same or somewhat close level of emotional impact within this film is a shame and one of the saddest parts of the production. While there is the same fight scene, the most memorable song within the original was taken out, which potentially unraveled the emotional impact. Though the scenes are still touching, they’ll possibly give the spectators an unsatisfied after taste, though still enjoyable.
The human characters within the film aren’t of importance, except Ash Ketchum, of course. We have the original three, which is a pleasing part of the film – though if anyone is hoping for the original voice actors, you’ll be disappointed. Ash, a ten year Pokémon trainer who working his way to be a Pokémon Master. By his side is his closest companion Pikachu. Misty and Brock are very minor characters and, through the majority of the film, not even present, which is unfortunate because it would’ve potentially evened out ash’s saturated presence. Especially since Brock is the girl-crazy levelheaded person within the group, and Misty being the strong – yet caring – independent female of the trio.
Much like any Pokémon film, the real stars of the film are the “new” Pokémon debuting in the movie. The first headliner is Mew, a Psychic-type Mythical Pokémon. Much isn’t known about Mew, but it is believed that it contains the genetic codes of all Pokémon in its DNA. Throughout the movie, Mew is seldomly seen until the climax of the film, but it is minimal even then. Unlike Mew, the real A-list star of this film is the manmade Mewtwo. Mewtwo is an insecure Pokémon, mainly due to not understanding what their place is in this world, which is understandable. While the film doesn’t necessarily have a villain, Mewtwo would classify a couple of notches below even though the movie implied he killed at least a dozen Pokémon trainers. Unlike Mew, Mewtwo can talk by the use of telepathy, and although he is the clone of the former, it appears that nature has made them polar opposites of each other.
No matter how the viewer comes, this film – as a long-time fan or newbie – will potentially change the viewers’ enjoyment. Some may love the twenty-first century revamp while others may prefer the original, and each is to their own. Some may find them removing the song “Brother My Brother” from the movie softens the emotional impact of the film, though others may not care and find the movie incredible regardless of the music – or lack thereof. This film was genuinely enjoyable and surprised me in some areas but also couldn’t overcome its originals humongous shadow.
However, even though the film was enjoyable, I can’t overlook that it’s almost a shot-for-shot remake and couldn’t add anything new within the story. The film could have taken the same approach as it did with the I Choose You movie that came out two years prior. Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution was made purely for long-time anime fans in hopes of gaining new recruits to join the ever-growing Pokémon army. If you’re a fan of the anime series, then this is a decent film at best, though don’t expect to get anything new or anything alike. If you’re a newcomer to the Pokémon franchise, then I could see this film being a good starting point within the series and films, but everything will be made or break with the viewer’s enjoyment with the CGI Animation.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.