The first of the Advanced Generation Pokémon movies, starring one of the most annoying protagonists: Max. And what a horrible start it is…
|Purchase DVD||Purchase from Amazon.|
So next up, we are going to examine the Pokémon movies from the Advanced Generation anime. Good lord, I am so not looking forward to rewatching these.
While I do know fans who started with Generation III video games and loved them in the same way I loved Generations I and II, I felt the franchise was hitting a low point here. I found Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire underwhelming and I just couldn’t get back into the anime either.
Maybe it’s just a part of growing up. You get old and suddenly the stuff you used to like becomes and sounds shitty.
And in this case, this happened during my preteen years.
Well, I guess it’s time to go back into the bayou again.
And as expected, I didn’t own the DVDs for these particular movies, but I did watch them on Cartoon Network whenever they were on. And for me, they left behind very little impact on me.
As for the anime, I couldn’t be more disinterested. Misty, who in my opinion was the only interesting female protagonist in the anime, was replaced by May and Max.
While Brock still remained in the show, good lord the writers had turned him into a horny bastard and a goofball all in one package. It was to the point where it became his only defining character trait.
So, what are we in for?
Well, the first movie in this particular series is the first direct-to-video movie (not counting the Mewtwo Returns special) for the United States. And likewise with Pokémon Heroes, it doesn’t get a gimmicky name regarding what movie number it is. Good, because those got old.
And it’s about Max.
*prepares brass knuckles*
Yes, Max, that annoying twerp little brother of May’s who acts like a know-it-all but is somehow unable to get his own Pokémon—despite that this franchise made it clear that TODDLERS can travel alone with their own Pokémon… in the same exact generation.
And not only that, part of what turned me away from the Hoenn seasons of the Pokémon anime was the whole “sibling rivalry” between May and Max, and well… just the characters themselves, really. They can be fucking obnoxious. And one of the shining examples of this is a little episode called A Double Dilemma, which made me want to put May’s head on a stake.
So the movie begins with a new intro, showcasing some legendary Pokémon including the ones that appeared in the previous movies. Even Mewtwo from Mewtwo Strikes Back makes a cameo appearance, and for some reason he is wearing a brown cape.
Oh, and Brendan, Hoenn’s male protagonist in the games, makes an appearance too.
Yeah. Too bad he never even gets a speaking role.
The middle of the intro shows an ominous shot of the legendary Pokémon Groudon, who was sought after by the evil organization Team Magma.
*plays Jaws theme*
Oh, and the narrator immediately tells us what the big “twist” of the movie is by telling us about our villain (and showing his face) and what his goal is… word for word.
It hasn’t even been three minutes and you have already shat on your only chance at the element of mystery.
Good lord, I’m complaining about this movie already and there is over an hour left.
Narrator: Ash Ketchum has wishes of his own. First and foremost is to be the greatest Pokémon Master, and with Pikachu by his side he’s well on his way.
Yes, the godlike Pikachu who functions as Team Rocket’s version of Moby Dick. And no matter what scheme they have tried, they have failed hundreds of times by this point. See, they’re stupid but persistent like that. They’re like cockroaches.
Narrator: Together, they travel on a Pokémon journey, meeting along the way friends with hopes and dreams of their own. To discover new Pokémon. To explore the world. To become the very best trainer ever…
Wait for it…
Narrator: …And to meet lots and lots of girls. Well, I didn’t say ALL their wishes involve Pokémon!
Ooooookay… that just came out of left field. I’m certain this is Brock’s wish. Not so sure about Ash and Max. Ash is too dimwitted to have the hots for a girl and Max is a snotty little kid who probably thinks girls have cooties. But May? If so… color me intrigued…
Narrator: The funny thing about wishes… sometimes they really do come true. And that is why you must be especially careful for what you wish, because you just might get it…
Okay, narrator, thanks for telling us what we are supposed to learn in this fucking movie. I guess we don’t need to watch it after all. Bye!
Okay okay, I’ll still review this piece of shit. But judging from how fast that intro went, you wouldn’t notice the problems at first. But if you really look at it word for word, the intro pretty much sums up the main problems with this movie.
I don’t know if the original Japanese cut had this obnoxious intro, but you could say 4Kids was really stepping on toes around this time. This was around the time when their dub of Sonic X began to air in the US’s Fox channel, and it ended up pissing off a lot of fans of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The script changes, the weird choices in censorship, and the constant insults to one’s intelligence.
But hey, we’re tackling a different fandom here! So maybe it won’t be so bad.
…Ah, who am I kidding. It’s 4Kids Entertainment.
So we get a traditional overblown CGI intro for the movie’s subtitle, Jirachi Wish Maker. Cut to a night scene where our heroes are walking across a green field.
And speaking of our heroes, no Misty. Yes. Cry, PokéShippers, cry.
Yep. The Hoenn seasons have Misty part ways with Ash to go back to running Cerulean City’s gym, so the nature of their “romance” teases remain ambiguous to this day.
So a little changeup in the main cast. Is it for the better?
May: So, where is the Millennium Comet anyway?
Max: It won’t appear for another 23 hours and 42 minutes.
…I’m gonna have to say no.
After a short exchange, we learn that everyone is headed to a town for a festival. And then we get this…
Ash: Well then, I’m gonna get the first look! Last one there’s a Slowpoke!
May: Max, you’re a Slowbro!
Max: Very funny, Sis!
Brock: Hey! I don’t wanna be the Slowpoke!
Is it me or have the movie dialogue exchanges gotten a lot more awkward? Extra points for the horrible usage of the Poképuns. *shudders*
Ash and company find the alleged location of the festival, only to see an empty valley. Shrugging off this waste of time, they set up camp while the narrator once again blasts us with exposition that we were just told a minute ago.
Narrator: Ash and his friends have taken a detour from their Pokémon journey, to witness what few get to see: the Millennium Comet, which only appears for seven nights once every thousand years. They had hoped to take part in the Millennium Festival, but their true role in the legend of the comet will be far greater than they have ever dreamed.
Good lord, stop telling us the story! We can figure it out from the visuals and dialogue, thank you.
Also, if we’re not counting my pre-movie rant earlier, I’m already at about 1,000 words for this review. Only five minutes passed. Brace yourselves, people! This is going to be a long, bumpy ride.
As Ash and company try to sleep, something loud stirs them up. An enormous convoy of trucks wanders into the valley, carrying tons of carnival equipment, and instantly sets things up.
Technology is amazing! You can now set up a whole carnival in a few minutes!
A magician shows up—who certainly can’t be the same dude we saw in the first few minutes in the movie, no sir no how—decides to show off by summoning giant balloons from a smaller chest.
A blonde woman in red—again, no one familiar—bounces them back with a fan, which for some reason astonishes Ash and his friends.
Amazing! I didn’t know you could lightly tap balloons with a fan!
The balloons collide with each other simultaneously and pop, revealing crates.
Oh, and not just that. A small railroad track just materializes out of nowhere. It immediately dissembles the crate, forming a wooden base, some metal wiring, and then…
A whole tent.
Oh, don’t you dare say it’s magic now!
And somewhere far away, an entire railroad is being built with an already operating train running through it. By sunrise, the carnival is up and ready.
God. Damn. Talk about efficient. There’s magic… and there’s this.
Oh, but never mind. Festivities time!
And also, Team Rocket is here too.
Hai, Team Ro—WAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Dressed as harlequins. Members of a criminal organization that stalk a group of underage kids, dressed as clowns. Well, here is to hoping that they have a point in this movie… aside from earning themselves a trip to the nearest jailhouse.
They discover that one of the main events of the carnival is a magic show by the Great Butler, the magician from earlier. And that’s exactly what happens in the next scene: the magic show.
Isn’t it kinda cheating to use a psychic-type Kirlia for a vanishing act?
…And also, I don’t like that look of his.
In its finale, the woman in red appears and holds a large crystal, which emanates a bright glow.
Out of nowhere, Max hears a childlike voice in his head.
“Wish. The star.”
The Great Butler introduces himself to the audience—as if they didn’t already know—as well as his assistant, Diane. During all this, everything is silent for Max as he continues listening to the voice in his head: “Wish Maker. The comet.”
Max tries to trace the source of the voice and realizes that the crystal held by Diane is communicating with him: “I wish you were here. With me.”
Is it me or does that sound sinister?
But Max forgets his manners and runs onto the stage, telling the adults that he thought he heard a voice. Butler and Diane glance at the crystal briefly before nodding.
So just in case you don’t understand, our beloved viewers, these two adults are important to this movie. With love, the movie’s writers.
AND WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH KIRLIA’S EYE THERE?
Ash runs onto the stage in an attempt to pull Max out, but the Great Butler decides to improvise this moment by using the children as volunteers for his show.
I NEED AN ADULT!
Insert Dragon Ball Z Abridged reference here.
Team Rocket, still in the harlequin outfits, partakes in the act. For some reason, they don’t seem interested in nabbing Ash’s Pikachu this time. I guess they’re just so… into the moment.
Oh, and they want the two kids to get inside this big empty box…
So Ash and Max get inside the box and Butler summons a Dusclops onto the stage, giving us its… scariest face…
The act ends when Dusclops fires its laser from its eye, destroying the box but activating a mechanism to send the kids underground to a secret compartment.
They were never seen again.
…Nah, I’m just kidding. The compartment leads them back to the audience.
But I have to admit, that whole scene kept me on the edge. Not because of the magic act itself, but… you know. How the hell is this scene passable to 4Kids? That was so… WRONG.
So here’s a recap of what just happened:
- They’re at the circus
- Little Max hears a disembodied voice of a child in his head
- The voice wants Max to be with it
- An adult magician asks two underage children to “volunteer” in his vanishing act
- The magician gets a little too “touchy” with them
- Two clowns force the kids to go inside a box
- The Pedoclops
- The kids vanish into a secret basement
I know this is a children’s anime, but did no one notice just how easy it is to interpret this whole magic act scene the wrong way?
But the act has been spoiled when Jessie and James finally make their move. I guess they are after Pikachu after all. Oh, and also the Great Butler’s Pokémon. Got to seize those opportunities.
Oh, stop making those faces!
With assistance from Meowth, Jessie and James escape through the tent’s roof. Ash is about to stop them until Butler decides to take matters into his own hands, passing it off as yet another magic act. Team Rocket has forgotten one thing: the Dusclops. OOPS.
So Dusclops frees Pikachu, which allows him to free Butler’s Mightyena and Kirlia by shocking them.
And how is Pikachu’s Thunderbolt so selective that it only hits Team Rocket and not the captive Pokémon?
…Ah, never mind. Must be “part of the magic.”
Dusclops finishes the “act” by popping their getaway balloon. Team Rocket blasts off again… for what, the 500th time at this point?
After the magic show, Butler for whatever reason decides to explain to Ash and his friends about a legendary Pokémon called Jirachi, which he believes to be sleeping inside the crystal.
Butler: It is said that in order to awaken from its slumber, Jirachi needs for two things to happen: the Millenium Comet must be visible in the night sky and Jirachi must find itself a friend.
That… is so contrived. So out of that entire audience in the magic act, Jirachi, a being that wakes up only once every 1,000 years, just so happens to pick Max as its potential friend? Is it a random choice or is Max just special like that?
This brings in another argument: anywhere where Ash goes, legendary Pokémon follow. That is how these movies work. Even when his other friends have gone away, somehow Ash’s presence makes it a hundred times more likely that they will meet a legendary Pokémon. In this case, the movie doesn’t focus that much on Ash himself—thank god—but how else could you explain this extremely coincidental set of events?
Max: Hello, Jirachi…
May: First, Max was hearing things and now he’s made friends with a big rock.
Max: Cut it out! You’re just jealous that Jirachi chose me to talk to as its friend instead of you!
This fucking kid…
Yes, I know May started this one but Max is acting like a privileged, whiny little douchebag in defense. I know there are plenty of little kids in real life who act this way, but it doesn’t mean that this particular trait is likeable. If you were a little kid again, would you make friends with this spoiled little pissant? I wouldn’t. And I hope to the readers looking at this review, who are currently raising their own children, aren’t letting their kids act this way.
It doesn’t make things better due the fact that May and Max are the children of the gym leader Norman, therefore they come from a rich family. Whenever they argue over something stupid, they become the very definition of childish. And some episodes of the anime center on their sibling feud. Somehow, these two lashing out at each other make Ash seem more mature in comparison.
…Yes, I just said that. And again, this is one of the biggest issues that turned me away from the Hoenn anime seasons.
So Butler mentions that Jirachi has the power to grant wishes, as if we couldn’t figure it out due to how many times “wish” was said in the movie thus far, but it can’t do so without a friend. So Butler allows Max to have the crystal. May wants to see it but again Max exhibits his “mine mine mine” attitude.
Later that night, our heroes come across a shop run by a…
Native American with what sounds like a vague Texan accent…
And May ends up purchasing a “Wishing Star,” which looks like a Native American dreamcatcher.
So T. Hawk explains that they must fold down a section of the star during each night that the Millennium Comet appears in order to make a single wish at the end.
Later on, our heroes wait for the comet to appear as the carnival shuts down for the night. Ummm… is no one else really staying to see the comet? I mean, they don’t have to believe in the whole wish thing but not a single person outside of Ash and his friends decided to stay?
…Oh, I see. Because these kids are so important to the world that they should be the only ones to witness an event that happens every 1,000 years, therefore other people fade out of existence when the important event is ready to happen.
So they spot the Millennium Comet and May folds down one section of her Wishing Star.
Ash: Once every thousand years.
May: We’re so lucky.
Brock: It’s been a long time since people looked up in the sky and saw the Millennium Comet. I wonder how different our world looks from up there. A lot of things have changed in a thousand years.
May: And a lot hasn’t.
Eh. Care to explain, history buff May?
They notice that Max has fallen asleep next to his pet rock…
Geez, kid, you can’t stay awake for a fucking minute and witness what you came here to see in the first place?
May hums a generic tune—or rather sings “doo doo doo”—explaining that it’s a lullaby that her mother sang to her.
Sounds more like a terrible pop song.
So if you guys haven’t noticed yet, this movie so far is BORING and this is 20 minutes in. Give every Pokémon movie before this one some credit. At least they give a starting conflict to show what our heroes are going to fight against, setting up some expectations of the later fights to come.
But here, there is just a poorly thrown in hint on who the main villains are and what their goals are. And that is hardly anything to go by.
But as if the movie heard me bitching about this, something weird does happen.
I will now take your soul…
As the rock glows, they hear a childlike voice coming from it. Witnessing this event is…
Um, hello, fellow brethren.
If you don’t get this joke, look at my username and smack yourself on the forehead.
So finally, the rock turns into…
A star child from 2001: A Space Odyssey?
Kawaii desu squeeeeeeee <3333333
The kids introduce themselves to Jirachi before Diane from earlier runs in to check up on them. She reports the “good news” to Butler, and…
Well, gee, that doesn’t look foreboding at all.
Butler is, as you would expect, excited about the news and says he had waited forever for this day. Well, when you say it like that, it’s almost as if you’re the bad guy or something. But naaaaaaaw, that can’t be~
Cut back to our heroes, who are attempting to get Jirachi to grant wishes.
Max: Candy! I wish for lots of candy!
May: That’s a dumb wish!
Max: No it’s not!
I’m gonna have to agree with May here. You have a legendary Pokémon that only wakes up every 1,000 years, and your first wish is fucking candy. Jirachi attempts to grant the wish, but it seems to be ineffective.
Max: There’s no such thing as someone being able to grant your wishes! I knew it!
Shut the fuck up, Max. You were into this whole event all the way through, so don’t you dare make that hypocritical statement.
But after a weird delay, Jirachi summons candy all over. And where does the candy come from?
…Yep. Jirachi stole all of them.
And also, how come the shops are suddenly open now? We saw the carnival close down for the night! And don’t say it’s the next night, because we haven’t seen any transition of a sunrise or anything close.
So our heroes—though that should be in quotes now, considering they unknowingly used Jirachi to rob the shit out of the nearby carnival stalls—celebrate.
And it gets even worse from here. Ash, May, and Brock succumb to their greed and fight over who is going to wish from Jirachi next.
Butler and Diane come in to witness the scene and have laid eyes on Jirachi. Butler reveals that all of the candy have been teleported from the carnival stalls, and “our heroes” catch on to what is going on.
May: I knew something was funny. Max, this is all your fault with your stupid wish!
Will someone—preferably Ash or Brock—tell both of these kids to shut up already?
May bitches at Max about the wish and orders Jirachi to “get rid of the problem.” Jirachi misunderstands the wish and instead teleports May to get stuck inside the pile of candy.
*snickers* Okay, movie, you get one point for making me laugh.
Jirachi: Sleepy… getting very sleepy…
Yeah, perfect timing. Jirachi falls asleep on them. And he apparently gets sleepy from using too much energy, so they are left with a mess to clean up for themselves. Good job, Jirachi.
So, absolutely riveting stuff, right? Haha, no.
Max creepily watches Jirachi sleep until he wakes up. The day starts off with…
Oh, what in hell’s name is this now?
Max informs everyone that he’ll be spending the day with Jirachi and runs off.
Ash: Max is sure in a great mood.
Brock: He and Jirachi are already best friends.
Ash: Like brothers.
Oh yes, between the “voice in my head” sessions and using Jirachi to steal a bunch of candy, they’re the best of friends now! I mean, it takes Ash and Pikachu a whole episode to learn to trust each other. And by making sacrifices for one another, they become good friends. And there is the whole subplot that lasted until the Orange Islands saga with Ash trying to get Charizard to obey him, who became lazy and arrogant after his first evolution from Charmander to Charmeleon. It took Ash taking care of Charizard while he was sick to finally earn his respect.
But the screen time between Max and Jirachi? They’re like brothers already!
So while being fueled by a less than exciting plot and weak character development, you know what “our heroes” could be doing?
How about making wishes that MATTER? Just like with Voice of the Forest, these kids have a legendary Pokémon with a specific ability that can make a huge impact on people’s lives.
Wish away the need for crime. Wish for the end of world hunger. Give all children a good education. Stop wars for good. Turn the greedy into generous people. Work to build a better society! Improve ties between humans and Pokémon! Solve all of the world’s crises! ANY COMMON SENSE WISH THAT WOULD WORK OUT FOR THE BETTER AND NOT JUST FOR YOURSELVES!
…Hell, you can even wish for something simple. Maybe get Team Rocket to stop harassing you somehow, by getting them an outlet that they would enjoy over stealing Pokémon. They would not just leave you alone, but other people caught in their line of fire too… which you were a part of.
Or get Team Aqua and Team Magma to reach an agreement and use their skills to find a better, more peaceful solution for their goals rather than resurrecting a powerful destructive force of nature that could bring the world to its knees!
CHRIST, THESE KIDS ARE FUCKING IDIOTS!
…Or the whole thing about Jirachi being able to grant wishes like that is bullshit, considering he had to steal candy with his psychic powers to grant that one wish.
So that rant aside, the movie spends half a minute of Max and Jirachi giggling and smiling. Ugh.
Team Rocket spies on them but bicker amongst themselves about Jirachi, just like how “our heroes” did earlier. You know, I do wonder if they will ever get a bigger role than The Power of One.
Can we have shit happening right now? It’s almost 30 minutes already!
Later that evening, “our heroes,” who have volunteered to work at the carnival, are putting stuff away while Jirachi acts like a brat and taunts Max with his stolen glasses. And then…
Mmm, nope. Don’t see any similarities.
A hostile Absol attacks Max and Jirachi while the rest of the gang witness the scene.
Brock: What is that?
Butler: It’s a Pokémon that only appears before a great tragedy.
Okay, Butler, you need to get your facts checked. ‘scuse me a sec…
Every time Absol appears before people, it is followed by a disaster such as an earthquake or a tidal wave. As a result, it came to be known as the disaster Pokémon.
Absol has the ability to foretell the coming of natural disasters. It lives in a harsh, rugged mountain environment. This Pokémon very rarely ventures down from the mountains.
It sharply senses even subtle changes in the sky and the land to predict natural disasters. It is a long-lived Pokémon that has a life-span of 100 years.
FireRed & LeafGreen
It appears when it senses an impending natural disaster. As a result, it was mistaken as a doom-bringer.
All retrieved from Bulbapedia.
Do not mix “tragedy” with “natural disasters!”
So May sends out her Torchic to stop it. And it fails at it.
By the way, Torchic, you could just spreadfire all over the place and hit him in different areas of the body.
So just when we are finally getting some action from this movie, Jirachi explains that the Absol is coming for him specifically. And Jirachi just teleports Torchic and Pikachu outside A HUNDRED FEET IN THE AIR ABOVE THE TENT to get them to “safety.”
I know you’ve been asleep for an absurdly long time, Jirachi, but you do realize that gravity can still kill other living creatures, right?
Absol makes a break for it to attack “our heroes” but Butler opens a trap door and somehow imprisons it inside a cage. Was he… really counting on Absol stepping on a very specific spot in a wide open arena to trigger it?
“Our heroes” try to figure out the meaning behind Absol’s attack and Jirachi falls asleep on them again.
Night rolls in and May folds down the second fold of her Wishing Star.
You know, I’ve been thinking… if the main reason May comes out at night is to hope for a certain wish to come true, then why doesn’t she wish from Jirachi then? We clearly saw that she could still make a wish from Jirachi, so why didn’t she just do it again?
I mean, this is like making a birthday wish. It’s not going to come true just like that. You will have to make it come true. How is this so difficult to understand?
And you might be thinking, “Oh, but Jirachi tires itself out when it uses too much wish magic, psychic energy or some bullshit power like it.” Well, maybe they should have asked Jirachi just to make a single wish earlier in the day. They didn’t make a wish all day, so one wish should be okay. Even Butler said that Jirachi wouldn’t go back to its hibernation until the Millennium Comet comes to past.
And speaking of which, May finds Butler sneaking out during the night. We cut to Butler setting down Jirachi into an odd machine.
Diane: I think Absol is here to take Jirachi back to Forina.
Diane: He belongs there. We should’ve never taken him away.
Butler: I know what I’m doing.
Diane: Butler, please listen to me! I have a sinking feeling that something terrible is going to happen!
Butler: I’ve worked so hard and waited so long for this day! Now, it’s showtime!
People, let me reenact what the writers think how their target audience behaves.
“Huuuuuurrrr. Durrrrrrr. No waaaaaaaii. He’s the bad guy? I would never have seen that coming!”
This particular choice just perplexes me. Do the writers of this movie think that children—their target audience—are so stupid that they need to be told who the villain is in the first two minutes of the movie? And to make things worse, they treat this scene like a big reveal… as if saying, “Didn’t see that coming, did you?”
I don’t even need to spoil it for you with this review. That is exactly how they show it. It’s like a writer telling their readers exactly what the plot is word for word before they actually read the story. It just makes reading the story entirely pointless.
…I’m sorry for these side rants, people, but this movie just plain sucks.
So Butler turns on the machine, giving away part of his master plan.
Butler: When you see the comet with your true eye, you will absorb its tremendous energy and help make my own wish finally come true!
So get this. Through a flashback, we discover that Butler was previously a scientist of Team Magma who attempted to resurrect Groudon with only a shard of its fossilized body.
I know Pokémon made it clear since the beginning that some scientists can somehow take a fossil and turn it into a living, breathing Pokémon. Okay. But there are times when the franchise just takes itself so seriously, not just the anime, that the writers think they can turn any absurd idea into a plausible one.
Well, no. That’s not how good writing works.
And true enough, Butler’s old experiment ended up backfiring on him and the Team Magma administration mocked him. And for this reason, they kicked him out of Team Magma and Butler swore revenge.
Even the villain motivation sucks ass. Yeah, it’s a common trait with the Pokémon movies, but this one in particular is just fucking dumb.
- Mewtwo Strikes Back: Mewtwo wanted to cleanse the world of humans and Pokémon that aren’t clones. He viewed humanity as nothing more than people trying to play god by using cloning as a tool/experiment, without any regard of the clones’ feelings.
- The Power of One: The world’s balance was upset because a selfish Pokémon collector disrupted it, which caused a global-wide spasm of destructive weather.
- Spell of the Unown: A little girl’s post-traumatic stress disorder summoned a horde of reality-warping Pokémon, shutting her away from the real world while she lived in a fantasy world with her “mama” and “papa.”
- Voice of the Forest: A Pokémon hunter wanted to capture a relatively powerful legendary Pokémon to conquer the world.
- Heroes: Latios & Latias: A pair of Team Rocket spies wanted to activate a powerful weapon that had the ability to warp reality and to deliver two legendary Pokémon to their boss.
- Jirachi Wish Maker: A former Team Magma scientist was butthurt about the Magma admins kicking him out, so he was willing to tap into powers that he had no control over to create a Groudon, just to rub it in their faces.
This is the plot we’ve been building up to. A man who is both a brilliant scientist and a well accomplished magician, acting like a little kid getting picked on by a few schoolyard bullies. So now, he is plotting to build a superweapon so that he can threaten them with it.
…Butler, you could just as easily use your expertise and monetize from it. Do without Team Magma. You could work for companies like Silph Co. or just entertain people, which you seem to enjoy doing! Is avenging your pride so important that you have to kidnap a legendary Pokémon to create an even more powerful legendary Pokémon, which you have NO MEANS to control?
This is barely past 30 minutes in too. You might as well say the movie is officially over by this point, because now we’re just left with an extremely predictable plot with no hope of pulling a good twist.
So just as Butler sets his plan in motion, May wakes up the rest of “our heroes” to notify them that Jirachi is gone.
Meanwhile, Jirachi reveals the third eye on his stomach, which strangely reminds me of those Eyegore enemies from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
“Our heroes” notice a strange beam of light shooting up at the sky, and then coming down back to the carnival tent. They discover an injured Jirachi, wailing in pain. Butler, like any dumbass villain, reveals that it was his doing, not caring to notice that his machine was destroyed once again.
Diane: Butler, it’s not too late to stop!
Butler: Why would I stop, now that I have gotten so close? Just have faith in me, Diane! I’m doing it for you!
Bullshit, you are!
Diane: It’s not for me! I’ve never wanted this!
Max tries to take off with Jirachi, but Butler sends out his Dusclops to stop him. Ash’s Pikachu comes in to save the day and Jirachi demands the kids to take him back to a place called Forina. The kids and Diane escape.
In the middle of the chaos, the Absol from earlier escapes and subdues Dusclops and Butler.
And… badass pose.
The Absol escapes and Butler sends out his Mightyena to hunt the children down.
“Our heroes” hijack Butler’s bus to move away as far as possible, but Team Rocket is in hot pursuit and Butler’s Mightyena manages to catch up to them and plant a tracking device on the bus.
Okay, so NOW we can get the plot moving.
While driving the bus, Diane explains to the kids that Jirachi wants to go back to his home, known as Forina and gives away Butler’s backstory of his time in Team Magma.
*sighs* We already know this. We’ve seen the motherfucking flashback. Just skip to the part where Brock says, “Oh well, that sucks I guess.”
Brock: Isn’t that the legendary Pokémon rumored to have incredible powers?
No, Brock. Because clearly in every movie plot you’ve been a part of—which is five out of six at this point—all of the legendary Pokémon you came across were not very threatening. What in hell’s name makes you think this one is?
Diane: Well… in order to power his machine, Butler needed an energy source that’s available every thousand years.
Oh, bullshit. So you’re telling us he has to get the energy from a fucking COMET to create his FrankenGroudon?
…Yeah, okay. I’ll play along.
Max: Why is Butler doing this?
Diane: He wants revenge against Team Magma.
Max: Well, let him get revenge some other way. We can’t let him hurt Jirachi.
SHUT IT, YOU LITTLE MAGGOT! YOU’RE NOT HELPING!
And you all know why he said it like that. Max is so selfish that he doesn’t care that a dangerous former criminal is out there trying to fuck over the world.
Ash: Spoken like a true best friend, Max.
AND YOU KEEP QUIET TOO!
So our next destination is Forina, though I think a better solution is to use Jirachi’s miracle wishes to sabotage Butler’s plans.
Oh, and also, the third day rolls in and Butler’s tracking device on the bus falls off.
Well, that was a helping heap of pointless.
Night rolls in and May folds down the third fold of her Wishing Star. May has a talk with Diana, where we get more exposition thrown at our faces.
Diane: Butler and I have known each other since we were kids. I knew even then that we’d always be together. He always had a way of making me smile.
A little late for me to have an emotion for the villain, movie.
But Diane speaks the sensible truth, hoping that the Millennium Comet passes on and Butler goes back to his old self. HOPING.
Day four comes in and we get a montage of “our heroes” climbing up to Forina.
Ah ha ha ha ha…
Night of day four, fourth fold of Wishing Star goes down.
Day five rolls in. Max is noticeably depressed.
Night of day five. Fifth fold of Wishing Star goes down. May gets unwanted attention.
May: Just two nights left.
Max: Cut it out, May!
Max: Quit counting already!
And by “unwanted,” I mean I don’t want to sit through this crap now.
So yeah, Ash has a talk with Max. Max reveals he’s depressed because Jirachi will go away in two days, but Ash gives him the cheesy heart to heart “you’ll remember him in your heart” speech.
Ash: Jirachi’s gonna be with you your whole life, not just a couple of days.
Max: You know that’s not true, Ash.
Ash: You see, sometimes friends have to go away, but a part of them stays behind with you. It’s especially true when the friends are best BEST friends. You’ll remember Jirachi forever, and he’s always gonna be in your heart. A good friend left me, and… I miss her every day… But I… I know we’ll always be friends forever.
…See, Ash, that doesn’t apply very well here. Unlike Max, you can go see Misty at her hometown at any time. But once Jirachi goes to sleep, Max can never go see him ever again. And that’s why your dumbass speech is so poorly conveyed here.
On the sixth day, the gang has arrived at Forina.
And it looks like a valley of rocky Q-tips with green brushes.
“Our heroes” take in the sights for a while and night rolls in quickly once again. I swear, this whole “seven days” thing is just a waste.
Aww, like a damn plush doll.
At this point, I just want to finish the damn movie and get it over with.
May “doo-doo-doos” that terrible pop song lullaby again. You know what? I can do that too. Just watch.
So the final day comes in and everyone encounters the Absol from before and follows it. No hard feelings, right?
When I lure them in deep enough, I will kill them all.
Oh, if only this beloved barghest does…
And random Flygon, because it’s awesome I guess. Whee~
They enter inside the same cavern where Jirachi’s crystal cocoon thing was discovered.
I know very little about astronomy, so anyone care to explain to me how the hell a big comet stays in position for a whole seven days? Does it just… follow the earth’s rotation?
So night rolls in and Jirachi says that the star is calling to him. Max embraces Jirachi and begs him not to go.
Max: Jirachi! I don’t want you to go! I’m gonna miss you! I don’t know if you could really grant wishes, but if you can then I have a big one for you right now! I wish you didn’t have to go, so we can stay together forever!
Jirachi ascends to the ceiling, opens the third eye on his stomach, and absorbs the Millennium Comet’s energy. Why he didn’t do this during the other nights, I don’t care.
Diane: Jirachi is getting ready.
Brock: Ready for what?
Diane: Jirachi will open his true eye, and use it to absorb energy from the Millennium Comet.
May: What does it do with the energy?
Ash: Where’s it go?
Diane: They say that during the thousand years of Jirachi’s sleep, all the energy he absorbed from the comet is slowly released into the earth. Everything that grows in Forina feeds off that energy.
Max: So then Jirachi helped make all this?
Yeah, whatever. I mean, as much as this part tries to make you fill with wonder and whimsy, I’m just incredibly bored at this point. It’s like this Pokémon movie wants to be like a Hayao Miyazaki movie. But it just lacks the creativity and engagement of a Hayao Miyazaki movie, so it’s just a lot of sitting around and watching people do meaningless stuff. And that’s not fun.
But suddenly, Doctor Octopus claws protrude out of the cliff walls and capture Jirachi. Diane claims it’s a trap.
…Okay, when did he get time to set all this up? It took from the second day of the comet until the final night for “our heroes” to reach this location. Butler though? He doesn’t have a single flying Pokémon in his lineup! So how the flying fuck did he get there so fast?
One might say that he used his Kirlia to get there that fast, but a little clarification would’ve been nice.
So Butler gloats and sets Jirachi inside his machine. Through a long drawn out sequence, the machine steals away Jirachi’s newly acquired energy.
Butler: Now Team Magma will learn to never have doubted me!
Dumbest. Pokémon villain. Ever.
His machine etches a pattern on the ground…
Which looks like a demented Godzilla face turned sideways.
Pikachu tries to destroy the machine with his electric attacks, but…
Of course, there has to be a random fucking barrier conveniently placed in!
Well, hopefully, Ash tackles it and see if that works.
But Absol and Flygon save the day by blowing up the Doctor Octopus claws on the cliff walls, which apparently have erected the barrier. Ash—and Max, who has NO MEANS TO DEFEND HIMSELF—take a ride on Flygon to confront Butler. Because why the fuck not.
Butler tries to stop Ash and Max with…
An admittedly awesome dragon Pokémon.
Well, okay, that would explain how Butler got to Forina so fast.
So we get a dogfight between Flygon and Salamence, which unfortunately isn’t as awesome as it sounds because Flygon doesn’t fight back.
And what is Ash’s plan to defeat the villain?
Ash: Max and Pikachu, you go free Jirachi while Flygon and I will distract Butler.
And it kinda works as Butler doesn’t notice his targets land next to his machine and they immediately free Jirachi right off the bat. Or rather, just Pikachu. Max didn’t do shit. But Butler gives a triumphant smile as he looks at the pattern on the ground.
PFT, HA HA HA! WHAT IS THAT?!
It’s like an Aztec five-year old grabbed some glow-in-the-dark green chalk and doodled a random dinosaur. I don’t know how else to describe it. Are we really supposed to be intimidated at this point?
Jirachi is fine, acting as it nothing has happened, and the day seems to be saved. But then…
So the rock pattern comes to life and grows into a gigantic Groudon. Or so it seems, because it looks like a precursor Primal Groudon with strange body textures.
And SOMEHOW, this surprises Butler.
Butler: That creature is not Groudon!
Then what do you call it?
Brock: The trees are all dying!
Diane: The earth… it’s sucking energy from the earth!
The redundant is sucking redundant from redundant, redundant.
So basically, this is an amorphous blob creature that looks like Groudon. It was a large piece of earth animated from the Millennium Comet’s energy and somehow has a will of its own.
…Yeah, I don’t get it too. It doesn’t even make any fucking sense.
Absol tries to stop FrankenGroudon, but it ends up getting captured by tentacle claws and absorbed into its body.
Yeah, seriously. Tentacles.
And going back to my reference to Hayao Miyazaki movies, Princess Mononoke, anyone?
The tentacles absorb every Pokémon in the area, causing the fake Groudon to grow even bigger.
Wow, I’m a fucking idiot. Why did I think this was a good idea in the first place?
Team Rocket wanders into the scene at the worst possible time and end up getting absorbed too. And we get this weird few seconds of seeing Pokémon trapped in what appear to be giant red blood cells.
Ash: They’re trapped inside!
Brock: It’s sucking up all the Pokémon!
Is Brock’s only purpose in the movies is to get his ass beaten and repeat what we already saw?
Butler: This wasn’t supposed to happen. That’s not Groudon! It’s evil! It’s pure evil!
Ha. Wow, nice conclusion there, buddy. And I suppose extorting a childlike legendary Pokémon for your selfish goal isn’t evil? And why the fuck do you even claim you’re doing this for Diane anyway?
One of the tentacles reaches out towards Butler, but Diane shields him and gets absorbed.
Diane: My darling! If this is the end, then I’m glad the last thing I see is you.
And obviously, her sacrifice devastates Butler.
Brock: It got her!
WE KNOW, BROCK! SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Ash: And now, it wants us!
Heh… are we really…
May and Brock get absorbed next. The next tentacle grabs everyone else except Butler, but Jirachi puts on his serious face and isn’t going down without a fight.
It’s my moment now, bitches.
Jirachi teleports himself, Ash, Max, and Pikachu to safety and continuously does this. Butler assists them using his Salamence, which is strangely effective considering all of those tentacles have grabbed a bunch of flying Pokémon a while ago.
Oh, and those tentacles have mouths too.
Man, this is just getting weird…
Flygon saves Ash, Max, and Pikachu and hitches them up for a ride. Apparently, these tentacles have heat-seeking radars because they can pursue Flygon inside a cavern without Groudon seeing it.
And this is the closest to action we have in this movie.
Flygon’s flight combined with Jirachi’s teleportation allows them to escape and they meet up with Butler.
Butler: Listen to me. I’m going to need your help. We have to stop this creature and there is only one way to do it!
Ash: Yeah, what?
Butler: Jirachi should be able to absorb energy out of that monster if we put him back on my machine. We just have to reverse the polarity and it should work.
……………You know what? The movie is almost over. I’m not doing any more rants on how stupid this is.
Ash: I’m not sure if I trust any plan of yours.
Wow. Smartest thing Ash has ever said in these movies.
Butler: You’ve got to! I just want to save Diane.
Sure, but in exchange, you have to turn yourself in to prison. Because REPENT, MOTHERFUCKER.
But of course, they don’t have a choice in the matter so they try to go through with this plan. One of the tentacles captures Salamence and throws off Butler, but Jirachi saves them both.
Jirachi: Butler can’t be all bad. He loves Diane.
Yeah yeah, whatever. He’s good for whatever reason now.
So while the FrankenGroudon searches for them, Ash, Pikachu, Max, Jirachi, and Butler prepare to execute the plan. Butler activates his machine through an unnecessarily long process of pulling switches while Ash and the others distract the FrankenGroudon. Butler accidentally drops the Groudon remnant but Ash catches it just in time to deliver it back to him.
Cuz I’m dat kewl, baby.
As they make the final preparations, Flygon and Salamence distract the FrankenGroudon and end up getting absorbed.
No, Ash! It’s not a barrier this time! Don’t even think about tackling it!
And because the movie needs to make a last-second moment of making Ash super-duper-special-awesome, Ash ends up pulling the final switch and Jirachi begins the absorption process. Butler sacrifices himself to protect the remaining kids, but it does little good as FrankenGroudon engulfs everyone else including the machine… but not before the last-second save by Jirachi.
I am reborn!
And of course, this ends up defeating the terrifying CGI FrankenGroudon. No really, it’s kinda gross to look at.
And yes, it looks just like a Kamehameha Wave.
The mass explodes like a giant firework, killing everyone captured in the process… or not, because they just randomly teleport back to the valley. Yaaaaaaaay.
Butler and Diane reunite and “our heroes” group together as they watch Jirachi float down to the earth while making weird moaning sounds. I guess the glowy energy is pleasuring him or something.
Max: Jirachi! You’re okay!
Jirachi: We did it!
Max: You’re the best!
Jirachi: No, Max, you’re the best! I made lots of wishes and you made them all come true!
Ash: He’s right. You made his wishes come true.
Oh, fuck you, movie. That’s your tagged on moral of the story? For fuck’s sake, Max barely did anything noteworthy throughout the entire movie and all of you are crediting him that Jirachi did what he did?
AND WHY DIDN’T ANY OF YOU TRY TO WISH THE FRANKENGROUDON AWAY?
This movie absolutely blows.
And don’t you dare turn that into a Poképun or I’m taking all hell with me!
So Jirachi requests everyone to sing May’s fucking lullaby as his final wish…
Well, my love, what are the chances of me getting thrown into prison?
So Jirachi thanks everyone and turns into a crystal as Max tearfully says goodbye. The crystal dissolves into the ground and distributes its energy to all of Forina. Poison Ivy could only hope to have this much plant life…
Oh, and Team Rocket is alive too. Forgot about them, didn’t you?
Frankly, I’m disappointed that they don’t get a single memorable one-liner in this movie unlike the previous ones. That just… sucks.
So morning comes and “our heroes” talk to Butler and Diane.
Butler: Diane and I will be staying in Forina.
Diane: We both finally realized what’s most important. And that’s to be together.
Yep. Butler gets clean away, without any repercussion whatsoever. He’s good now! You always win when you are good!
Oh, and May forgets about folding the last part of her Wishing Star. Hardy har har.
And you thought this subplot had a point, didn’t you?
What was her wish? Who the fuck knows.
Just as they are about to leave, Max hears a voice in his head.
Jirachi: Max! I’ll never forget you! We’ll be best BEST friends forever and ever!
Unless it’s the anime series where no one makes a reference to the movies and reuses a similar premise with a Ralts. In which case, you’re screwed, kid.
And we end up with a montage of different areas of Forina and the gang as the ending music plays.
Oh my god, it’s finally over…
So, okay. You pretty much know my thoughts about this movie, and my biggest complaint about it is just how it drags on forever.
I’m serious. This movie feels much longer than it has any right to be, possibly because of just how empty the premise actually feels. And as the first direct-to-video Pokémon movie—and no, Mewtwo Returns doesn’t count—, it definitely feels like one. It just feels like an absolutely pointless movie. You know, a road trip type of movie in a way.
On an upside though, the movie has a noticeably sharper picture quality than the previous movies. The colors are bright and vibrant, and they can be just gorgeous to look at. Example…
But even the most scenic areas are few and far between. And this alone can’t save the movie from the scrap heap.
Sorry, but I just plain hate this one. And I hope I never have to sit through it again.
Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker$6.59
- Better picture quality, which makes the colors stand out more.
- The movie immediately showing us the villain of the picture, destroying all sense of mystery.
- The movie treats its viewing audience like idiots, as it constantly throws exposition and repeats information back to us as if we can’t understand from the visuals alone.
- Drags on with boring filler and mediocre character development.
- The distinct lack of action, which the anime was highly known for.
- The phoned in “I’ll be in your heart” and “be careful with what you wish for” morals.