Though the once-unbelievably popular, Japanese-based Pokemon phenomenon is now in decline, this fifth feature film is sure to delight fans by adding yet another new species of adorable pocket monster to the mix. Those less obsessed with the colorful creatures will squirm as the the uninspired story which could have easily been condensed into a half-hour series episode unfolds over the course of 80 long minutes. Upon arrival in the partially submerged city of Altimare, trainers Ash Ketchum and his pal, Misty, become involved in a competition to race their water-dwelling pokemon around the city. Misty takes home the top prize after Ash is drawn off-course by an invisible force. Ash and Misty are joined by their girl-obsessed pal, Brock, for a tour of the city, during which they learn the legend of its mythical guardians, Latios and Latias. The two dinosaur-like creatures are the offspring of heroic pokemon Latios Sr., who once stopped some nasty pokemon from sinking the city entirely. While visiting the local museum, Ash spots a young girl whom he helped out of a jam earlier in the day, and follows her to a hidden garden. There he discovers that she's actually Latias in disguise. But what Ash and his bright-yellow sidekick, Pikachu (perhaps the cutest of all pokemon), don't realize is that while they're frolicking, two evil young women, Annie and Oakley, are plotting to resurrect the long-fossilized pokemon who threatened Altimare all those years ago. Power hungry Annie and Oakley and their funky hairstyles are the highlight of this adventure, replacing the usual Team Rocket gang as the requisite not-too-scary baddies. The dialogue is simplistic even by pokemon standards (their appeal is strongest in the single-digit age group) and the thin story which could have made interesting use of Altimare's history and mythic guardians squanders its energy on background then wraps up the action too neatly and quickly. It also gives short shrift to the obsessive collecting and training of pokemon that drives both the TV series and the previous films. Given that most fans are very young, ignoring a key aspect of the Pokemon mythos is bound to confuse and disappoint them.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: G
- Review: Though the once-unbelievably popular, Japanese-based Pokemon phenomenon is now in decline, this fifth feature film is sure to delight fans by adding yet another new species of adorable pocket monster to the mix. Those less obsessed with the colorful creatu… (more)