Like the two previous Pokémon features, this is an hour-long main story preceded by a shorter tale. The 22-minute short, "Pikachu and Pichu," features Pikachu's adventures with the electro-charged Pichu brothers, which could be his younger and much naughtier cousins. The trio caper on high ledges and flagpoles, play with other Pokémon and have a run-in with a bad dog that turns out not to be so bad after all. The considerably more ambitious main event, subtitled "Spell of the Unknown," mixes and matches elements lifted from Sleeping Beauty, the "It's a Good Life" episode of Twilight Zone, and J.G. Ballard's The Crystal World to surprisingly good effect. It opens with world-famous Pokémon researcher Spencer Hale, a single parent since the disappearance of his wife two years earlier, reading to his five-year-old, Molly. The hero of her bedtime story is the leonine Entai, a beast who reminds Molly of her beloved father a flight of fancy he cheerfully indulges. Hale is called away to examine a cave filled with rune-like writing, and accidentally summons a mysterious Pokémon called the Unknown. A collective being that looks like a flock of flying glyphs ("like alphabet soup without the soup"), the Unknown transports Hale into another dimension, then turns its attention to Molly. Capable of reading minds and turning thoughts into reality, the Unknown sets about granting Molly's wishes, which boil down to having a mommy and a daddy who devote their entire attention to her. The Unknown metamorphoses the Hale mansion into an austere castle of living crystal, protected by menacing, glassy spikes, and conjures up Entai to play daddy. Then the Unknown makes the mistake of kidnapping Delia Ketchum to be Molly's mother. Her real son is famous Pokémon trainer Ash Ketchum, who rounds up his old friends Misty and Brock, their new friend Lisa and all their Pokémon for a rescue mission. Allowing for the fact that any POKEMON movie is essentially a feature-length commercial designed to make little kids want Pokémon stuff, this one has its moments. The creeping crystallization of small-town Greenfield is both beautiful and chilling, and while the Pokémon universe is too cheerful for Molly to turn anyone into a human jack-in-the-box or wish them into the cornfield, the combination of the Unknown's power and her childishly self-centered desires is unnerving.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 2000
- Rating: G
- Review: Like the two previous Pokémon features, this is an hour-long main story preceded by a shorter tale. The 22-minute short, "Pikachu and Pichu," features Pikachu's adventures with the electro-charged Pichu brothers, which could be his younger and much naughti… (more)