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Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!

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Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!
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No one wants to choose this movie.
Genre: Anime
Animated Film
Family Film
Directed By: Kunihiko Yuyama
Written By: Shōji Yonemura
Starring: Sarah Natochenny
Ikue Ōtani
Kate Bristol
Photography: Color
Distributed By: Toho
Release Date: July 15, 2017 (Japan)
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Country: Japan
Prequel: Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel
Sequel: Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us


Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You! is a 2017 animated film by The Pokémon Company. It was released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, as part of the Alternative Timeline run of the Pokémon movies.

Plot

Ash Ketchum, a kid from Pallet Town, embarks on a journey across the Kanto region to become a Pokémon Master, with his partner Pikachu, who at first hated Ash, but the bond of Pikachu and Ash builds as they travel to beat gyms and enter the league of Kanto.

Bad Qualities

  1. The main criticism with the film is that the idea of an alternative continuity version of the first ever Pokémon anime episode feels rather out of place because the main plot feels mostly too different from the original pilot episode of the anime series. Granted, it's a decent concept to make an alternative continuity movie for the Pokémon series (probably on paper), but there wasn't any reason here since the events being retold can be done better if retelling them without making it look too different from the original first episode, let alone throw in some nostalgia pandering.
  2. Some of the voice acting from the other actors in the English version is a little bland (with only a couple exceptions). For example, Sorrel sounds like Lloyd from The Lego Ninjago Movie, a character who sounds like he needs his two front teeth back.
  3. Most of the characters are either completely unlikable (like Sorrel), useless, and/or mean spirited jerks in this movie, and Ash seems to be the worst offender in comparison as he acts out of character the whole movie, a similar problem that Surf's Up 2: WaveMania had with one character. In fact, this alternate universe Ash seems to be more flanderized here than his canon counterpart was in Black & White (Seasons 14-16). For example, when he loses to another trainer, he throws a temper tantrum about it. This was shown before in "Brave the Wave", but imagine how he would throw a tantrum over losing a battle in the first season. He's usually saddened or disappointed when it happens. This actually makes his BW canon counterpart seem more likable in comparison.
  4. Is the only media in all Pokémon anime when Ash DIES.
  5. Sorrel and Verity are completely pointless, are very bland, paper thin, and one dimensional characters, with very little to no other personality traits. The only traits they do have:
    • For Sorrel, he only enjoys reading books and learning about legends and nothing else.
    • Verity in the other hand is really unlikable, she makes fun of Ash for his good natured relationship with his mother, and hates him for no other reason whatsoever until she finally respects him later on in the movie. Heck, they were only here for this movie as we just met them, and pretended Misty and Brock never really existed in the first place.
    • Speaking of the source material, Sorrel, and Verity, the fact that the movie kicks Brock and Misty out from the roles is bad enough, the only sign of Brock and Misty is a promo image with all of the past traveling companions featured in the promotional image and the scene after the credits, and that is it. As nice of a touch this image is, it's too little, too late to save this mess and just doesn't feel the same.
  6. Instead of having Gary as the main rival for Ash like in the first five seasons, they put Gary as the minor non-speaking role and got Cross to be Ash's rival. Unlike Gary, Cross is overall downright mean to Ash and constantly treats him like crap. Sure, Gary may have done the same thing to him in a time when both are rivals, but not to the point he would be discouraging of Ash.
    • And he's also Damian from the episode where Ash saved a Charmander from dying, except Cross is more unlikable than Damian is, and is much worse than him.
  7. While Team Rocket do spy on Ash and try to steal his Pikachu and other Pokemon, something always sends them blasting off without having been noticed. Ash never formally encounters them throughout the film, which is rather insulting as while they may have been comical villains in the series, they have also proven to be rather formidable adversaries for Ash.
  8. The plot falls off the rails in so many areas with such cut corners. For example, after Ash finds the Rainbow Wing, he already challenges Erika, the fourth gym leader. The problems can at least be easily forgotten, and the plot can easily take place in just Kanto, Sinnoh, or anywhere else.
    • These are hints that the movie did not need to be this rushed.
  9. It's one of those movies that started off good until it went downhill where it begins to completely disregard past events of the first season.
  10. Ash only uses Pikachu, Butterfree (before being released into the wild) and Charizard, discarding all of the iconic and useful Pokémon he had throughout the series.
  11. After Ash's Charmander evolves, it continues to remain a typical obedient Pokémon, whereas in the series, it became reckless, rowdy, and otherwise disobedient once evolved into Charmeleon, and remained as such well after becoming Charizard. Only after Ash nursed it back from being severely frozen did it start to listen to Ash again.
  12. The concept of the Rainbow Wing is a decent concept, but like how it is with the concept of making the first episode into a movie for the sake of the Alternative Timeline era, that too felt out of place here as it only works for another Pokémon movie and not a movie that is supposed to tell past events. Not focus on something completely different.
  13. What's even worse is that the movie goes as normal (Ash becoming the greatest Pokémon master), but as soon as he finds Verity, the movie changes direction and instead of Ash beating all of the gyms to become a Pokémon master which is his normal goal, he ends up trying to find Ho-Oh to challenge it.
  14. The scene where Pikachu speaks for the very first time (though it was part of Ash's imagination) angered and shocked many fans of the show and the franchise, who took this issue to many social media platforms. Yes, there were times where Pikachu have spoken in Mystery Dungeon (both the games and anime spin-off) and also in Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, but at least they were both subtle. This right here is just as pointless and unnecessary as how it was handled in Tom and Jerry speaking the entire Tom and Jerry 1992 film.
  15. Marshadow's role in the film is very poorly handled, with much wasted potential.

Good Qualities

  1. Beautiful animation, especially for 2017 standards.
  2. Ash's design is a marked improvement over the Sun & Moon anime.
  3. Decent music, including the remastered original theme song in both the English and Japanese versions.
  4. While Ash's cap has a different emblem from that of the first five seasons, the original symbol does appear on his backpack.
  5. Some moments are funny, like when Ash goes to the Pokémon Center to heal Pikachu and Nurse Joy says "Who were you battling?" and Ash responded by saying Ho-Oh and Nurse Joy just says "That's nice."
  6. Charizard's former owner is a more developed rival, who would have multiple encounters with Ash and witnesses his former Pokémon's development. The Pokémon's original owner in the original series was a one-off arrogant trainer who felt that actually training Pokémon was beneath him, and wanted to take his then-Charmander back after seeing it defeat Team Rocket after it had recovered, seeing as it suddenly became powerful again, but it refused and sent the trainer running off. The Charmander in the film wanted to go back to his trainer once it recovered, but the trainer refused to take it, still viewing it as weak.
  7. The ending's quite heartwarming.
  8. Ash's current voice actor, Sarah Natochenny, still does a good job with Ash's voice, even if she can overact sometimes.
  9. Professor Oak, Jessie, James, Delia (Ash's mom), Erika and Meowth are the only characters that returned for this movie.
    • Gary is only shown collecting his first Pokémon (which is a Squirtle) at Professor Oak's laboratory despite not being the main rival for Ash in this movie.
  10. At the end of the film, there a montage of scenes from the previous Pokémon films.
  11. The first minutes of the film is a decent remake of the first episode of the show.
  12. All of Ash's previous friends and companions (except the ones from the Sun and Moon series) appear as cameos in the ending credits, including Misty and Brock.
  13. This movie can subjective: some people like it, but some don't.
  14. At the end of the day, it is an alternative continuity film since this is not in anyway at all canon to the main Pokémon anime at all.
    • This is the first film in the Alternative Timeline run of the Pokémon movies, so the changes made are (mostly) excused despite the final product being rushed.

Reception

Fans saw this movie as the opportunity for Veronica Taylor to voice Ash for the first time in 12 years since the eighth season of the anime, Advanced Battle. It was later revealed that she would not be returning to voice him. In general, there were some fans of the series that liked the movie, but it was also critically panned by many Pokémon fans for ignoring past events, replacing Brock and Misty with two other characters that were never added in the original saga from the first five seasons, the one infamous scene where Pikachu speaks in the anime for no real reason other than story purposes, Gary not being Ash's rival at all, and how it dishonored the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon anime series with retelling it to something completely different from the original saga. It has a 6.3/10 on IMDb.

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