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Pokemon: The First Movie
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 12/31/1999

The greatest scientific breakthrough in Pokemon-dom has finally been achieved -- Mewtwo. Mewtwo was cloned from the DNA of the fossilized remains of Mew, the rarest Pokemon. But when Mewtwo awoke, he found himself encased in glass in a laboratory, prompting him to go on a rampage. As desperate scientists try to keep Mewtwo in check, Mewtwo obliterates the lab and goes off to find the purpose of his existence. The strongest Pokemon has been created, but it's an experiment gone awry. Soon Mewtwo sets its goals higher than humans ever did... now how will Pikachu and co. survive this challenge? This feature also goes back-to-back with a mini-movie, "Pikachu's Vacation". As the title says, that's what it is. Our heroes leave their Pokemon in this Pokemon resort and the critters get a chance to play around and unwind.
I must admit, Pokemon: The First Movie turned out better than I expected (but hey, my expectations were pretty low). A new character is introduced -- Mewtwo. Now here's a Pokemon who can say more than its name. Though altogether predictable, the plot is a bit more complex compared to the regular stuff they show on TV. It does, however, retain the overall simplicity that is characteristic of the Pokemon series. "Ash" and Mewtwo play the biggest parts here, and everyone else is either ornamental or moral support. This movie also confirms that Team Rocket isn't really the antagonist they always present themselves to be.
The art and animation are exactly the same as in the TV series -- simple and well-suited... but they do add a teensy bit of computer wizardry here and there. The soundtrack is catchy. There are a lot of songs by popular artists. However, the animated short "Pikachu's Vacation", is guaranteed to drive non-fans (and even some fans) nuts. The only dialogue you'll hear there are Pokemon voices repeating their names over and over. Plus, all they do is try to be cute.
This movie is quite entertaining, but is nothing really special. The DVD is loaded with a lot of extras. You get an M2M music video featuring the song "Don't Say You Love Me", animated featurettes like "The Story of Mewtwo's Origin" and "Ash's Journey", behind-the-scenes stuff, a Mewtwo game card, a preview of the second movie, desktop wallpapers, etc. Now this is the way anime DVDs should be stuffed!
"Pikachu's Vacation" features some of the newer Pokemon like Marrill... the screenshots below are from "Mewtwo Strikes Back" and "Pikachu's Vacation".

Pokemon: The First Movie
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Review Title:
Pokemon: The First Movie
Alternative Titles:
Pocket Monsters: Mewtwo Strikes Back
96 Minutes
General Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Older Children
Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy,
Shounen, Tournament
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