Anime Film Review: Pokemon The Movie 2000

Pokemon The Movie 2000 was released in Japanese theaters on July 17, 1999 under the title Pocket Monsters Revelation – Lugia. The dubbed English version of the film was released to theaters in the United States on July 21, 2000. There are two parts to the movie: the “Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure” short and the actual film.

Pokemon The Movie 2000
Directed by: Kunihiko Yuyama
Written by: Takeshi Shudo
Starring: Rica Matsumoto, Ikue Ōtani, Unshō Ishizuka, Mayumi Iizuka, Satomi Kōrogi, Tomokazu Seki, Megumi Hayashibara, Shin-ichiro Miki, Inuko Inuyama, Kōichi Yamadera, Chikao Ōtsuka, Kotono Mitsuishi, Akiko Hiramatsu, Takeshi Kaga, and Masatoshi Hamada
Run Time: 82 minutes
Rated: G

The “Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure” short runs for about 20 minutes, and like with “Pikachu’s Vacation,” the human characters are only briefly seen or heard. Togepi falls down a dark hole, and Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Marill, Venonat, and Psyduck follow to try to rescue the little Pokemon. When they reach the bottom of the hole, they find themselves in a giant tree. Apparently, the tree used to be Pikachu’s home, and the Elekid they encounter is an old friend of Pikachu’s. Elekid tells Pikachu that Togepi has been mistaken for an Exeggucute egg, and has been placed in a nest with the Exeggucute eggs. A deadly storm hits the area, and Pikachu and the other Pokemon must try to save Togepi and the Exeggucute eggs. Meowth, meanwhile, is trying to find his way to a campsite, but ends up getting caught up in Pikachu’s mishaps. Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable short.

The film itself revolves around three legendary Pokemon: Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. The running theme throughout the film has to do with the delicate balance between the forces of nature; this theme is embodied by these three legendary Pokemon, who represent these forces. If the balance between these three Pokemon is destroyed, chaos will ensue. This chaos would prompt Lugia, the “Great Guardian,” to rise from the sea to end the destruction. However, Lugia can only succeed with the help of a “Chosen One” destined to save the world.

Lawrence III, a Pokemon collector, works at capturing the three legendary Pokemon; his ultimate goal is to use them in order to capture Lugia. At the beginning of the film, Lawrence III captures Moltres at Fire Island with his futuristic aircraft.

Meanwhile, in the Orange Islands, Ash, Misty, and Tracey are traveling on a boat owned by a girl named Maren. A storm suddenly appears, and their boat is caught up in it. Team Rocket, who has been following them in their Magikarp submarine, are also caught by the storm. The boat ends up washing ashore on Shamuti Island, the centerpiece of the Orange Islands. Team Rocket also ends up here.

A group of people dressed in costume approach the boat. It turns out they live on the island, and are preparing for a big festival; in fact, Maren is friends with one of the girls in the group. Melody, a young girl who is the Festival Maiden, takes a liking to Ash, and he is declared to be the “Chosen One” for the festival. Ash is given the task of traveling to the three islands of the legendary Pokemon to collect three glass balls that represent the elements. When he acquires the balls, he is supposed to bring them back to Shamuti Island, so Melody can play a song on a special instrument.

Pikachu, who has been edgy this whole time, grabs Ash’s hat in his teeth and runs off. Ash and Maren follow, and all three end up getting onto Maren’s boat to begin Ash’s quest. Maren’s boat gets caught in another storm, and the boat crashes on Fire Island.

While at Fire Island, Ash and Pikachu find the first glass ball, and Team Rocket shows up to cause trouble. Melody, Misty, and Tracey get on a boat and also arrive at Fire Island. Suddenly, Zapdos appears. Through their lightning, Pikachu and Zapdos communicate with one another. Zapdos makes it clear that it is taking over Fire Island. Suddenly, Lawrence III captures Zapdos, as well as accidentally capturing Ash, Ash’s friends, and Team Rocket.

While on Lawrence’s aircraft, Ash and the others free the legendary Pokemon. Moltres and Zapdos battle one another, and end up causing the aircraft to crash onto Lightning Island. Ash finds the next glass ball he needs. Ash and his friends escape on Melody’s boat, but Lugia carries them off to Shamuti Island. Slowking, the guardian of the shrine, instructs Ash to place the balls into the shrine. Lugia instructs Ash to retrieve the final ball from Ice Island, and he also learns that he is the actual “Chosen One” from the legend. Can Ash fulfill his role as the “Chosen One” and save the world in time?

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this film as much as I did Pokemon The First Movie. While the story utilized its runtime well, I just couldn’t get into the whole angle with Ash being the “Chosen One.” I thought it was a little on the strange side, especially since it’s never been referred to again in any episodes or films that were produced after this film was screened. As an adult, it kind of felt like a “deus ex machina” in order to accomplish what needed to be accomplished in the story instead of an interesting twist to the story.

When it comes to the DVD, there are three sections in the “Special Features” menu on the DVD. The first extra is labeled as, “Soundtrack Live.” This takes you to a menu, where you can view live performances of Dream Street’s “They Don’t Understand,” Alysha’s “Dreams,” and Youngstown and Nobody’s Angel’s version of “Pokemon World.” This section also features a roughly two-minute documentary about the making of the soundtrack, which includes interviews with Donna Summer and “Weird Al” Yankovic. All of these features were part of “The Power of One: The Pokemon 2000 Movie Special” that aired on The WB.

The second extra is the theatrical trailer for Pokemon The Movie 2000, which runs for one minute and 33 seconds. The final extra is the theatrical trailer for the third Pokemon movie, which runs about 45 seconds.

The only real disappointment I had with this release is the fact that there isn’t a special feature option to be able to just watch the “Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure” short by itself. Even if with his minor disappointment, I believe that any Pokemon fan should have this DVD release of Pokemon The Movie 2000 in their anime home video collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Pokemon The Movie 2000 that my husband and I purchased.

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