As you may be aware, the 8th Pokemon movie is out in America next week, a redub of the Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon special included alongside it. Well, as part of some promotional thingy, Pokemon USA have been in touch with us and passed us on an advance copy of the DVD to give the two features a sneak-peak in return for a review on the site.
So, here is that review.
As I said at the beginning of the year after first watching the 8th Movie subbed, this is by far my favourite of them all. This isn't a movie that happens to have Pokemon in it - this is a movie ABOUT Pokemon. About the relationships of humans and Pokemon and in-general, friendship, love and trust.
When Ash and the gang arrive at Cameron Palace for a battle tournament Ash wants to enter, they find themselves bumping into a Pokemon not seen for thousands of years, trapped within the very staff that Ash is given to hold ceremoniously as part of the prize for his victory in the tournament, Lucario
became trapped in the staff after his master, Aaron - Aura Guardian extroardinaire appeared to abandon his duty to the Queen, country and Lucario himself.
In reality, Aaron had chased after Mew
, dwelling at the Tree of Beginnings, in a last ditch attempt to prevent a war between two rival factions of Humans and Pokemon from destroying the kingdom of Cameron in between in their fighting.
The movie really begins when Pikachu
is taken by Mew
to the Tree of Beginnings after being wounded in battle and it's up to Lucario - duty bound by honour to obey the Queen - to aid Ash and company in tracking Mew and Pikachu
Joined by Lara Croft rip-off, Kid Summers, the group has to combat both natural obstacles, the Regi trio and even the Tree itself to rescue Pikachu. In the process, Lucario - disheartened by the idea that he had been abandoned by Aaron, his most trusted friend and master - comes to terms with the fact that not all humans are this way by watching Ash's plight and determination to save his best friend.
The character of Lucario is so well founded and built throughout the movie that by the time the climax comes, it's easy to feel sympathy for him. The typical Ash "Save all the Pokemon at whatever cost" thing also manages not to wear thin as he and Lucario attempt to save the Tree of Beginnings from destruction and from killing all the Pokemon there with it - including Mew.
The ending is bittersweet and likely to give you goosebumps - but in a good way. It's fantastically written, directed and scored and I'm happy to say that these are points shared by both the original movie and the dub - with the entire original soundtrack, and even most of the silence, have been kept in tact. (Except for the 2 vocal tracks of course).
The vocal tracks are unquestionably poorer in the dub - but it's a small detail that wont hinder enjoyment. If you've never heard the marvellous Battle Frontier theme song, as most people watching the movie wont have, then you're not going to be that annoyed at it's replacement with the rather less rousing Advanced Battle song.
In all, the 8th movie is great whichever language you watch it in. The dub is as good a dub as you're ever going to get under 4Kids and it's a very nice note for them to leave the series on.
In other news, the Mastermind Redub is also pretty good too. No-where near the quality of the 8th movie but the acting and the voices in general have massively improved since the original version back in April.
There's less to cringe about in the redub and it makes me fairly confident that the continuation of the series under the new dubbers is in safe enough hands. Though promises that the horrid rap they used as an intro originally had been obliterated are dashed when you get to the credits... The new intro's not too shabby though. A bit corny but anyone who doesn't like corn
is just asking to be stomped by the Big Green Giant.
As part of the DVD set. you'll also get an inlet with details on some cool new stuff coming to the Pokemon Centre Online, including a Munchlax
starring take on Hungry Hungry Hippos. Also included is a "Manga Sampler" which is basically the first parts for the Pikachu's Vacation and Rescue Adventure Animangas - speech bubbles over screenshots.
I can't really imagine that being enough to encourage you to buy the full Manga strips - especially when you could just chuck the DVDs on and watch the shorts in full anyway - but it's a funky bonus anyway.
The final bonus is a Behind the Scenes featurette and sketches of Pokemon from the movie. the Featurette is the same as the Japanese one previewed on the movie site last year and presumably included in the DVD release last year too but narrated in English. This is basically the first time an English audience has had a gaze into how the anime and the movies are put together - from planning, to writing, to storyboarding, to animation, to the score - and it's a rather cool insight too.
Sooo... yeah. Make sure you pick up Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew from the 19th onwards. Unless you're in Australia, in which case you already have the movie. Or here, in which case, you'll probably have to wait 5 years or so for it considering the 6th's only on it's way now.