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Click Here to Read the Animation Artist Review of Pokemon (average)

Reader Review: Click Here to Read Eric Lurio's Review of Pokemon (negative)

Reader Review: Click Here to Read John Howell's Review of Pokemon (positive)

Quotes from what other press are saying about Pokemon: The First Movie
(last updated November 15, 1999)

Brian McTavish of the Kansas City Star - "If you're a clueless parent searching for a clue as to what all this Pokemon business is about, good luck figuring it out from Pokemon: The First Movie. This insipid animated feature starring innumerable "adorable" creatures called Pokemon (short for Pocket Monsters) is obviously aimed at the franchise's built-in audience...Ch-ching. I hear cash registers singing...The biggest battle I had was the fight against boredom, starting with Pikachu's Vacation, the annoyingly indecipherable animated short preceding the main attraction..."

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Wesley Morris of the San Francisco Examiner - "...The film climaxes with one such fight between Mew and his demagogic clone, designed to teach its audience that, indeed, imperialism does not rule. Not only does "Pokemon -- the First Movie" threaten to strike again with the sequel-readiness of its title, but the overlong 89-minute opus aims to thrill tykes by being slightly less than adorable -- meaning you shouldn't trust these creatures any farther than you can throw them."

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Robin Rauzi of the LA Times - "...Great Japanese animation Pokémon is not. (Princess Mononoke is still in theaters, if that's what you're after.) Pokémon isn't even good animation, unless the standard of measure is the crude LCD graphics of a Game Boy. The characters are flat--apparently deliberately so, to resemble the TV drawings. But unlike the TV program, the film at least contains movement that is somewhat fluid, and director Kunihiko Yuyama creates surprising angles and unexpected extreme close-ups..."

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Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times - "...The animation is bright, colorful and vibrant. It's eye candy. The story seems very thin, especially compared with such other Japanese anime titles as ``My Neighbor Totoro.'' The story is idiotic. The individual Pokemon have personalities that make the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles look like Billy Crystal. Kids will no doubt love this movie, because they can see action involving figures they have collected. I can't recommend the film or work up much enthusiasm for it because there is no level at which it enriches a young viewer, by encouraging thinking or observation. It's just a sound-and-light show, linked to the marketing push for Pokemon in general..."

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Hannah Brown of the New York Post - "...Visually, it's a strange mixture. Some of the backgrounds and colors are strikingly beautiful, especially the scenes of storms on the ocean. But in other sections, they vary from crude to downright headache-inducing. The people are especially unimaginative and the final battle scene is static and repetitively staged..."

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Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle - "...Does it matter what a critic says about the merits of Pokemon: The First Movie? Not a bit. But for the record, it isn't terrible. It's far from a milestone in Japanese animation, and not an especially memorable entertainment. Yet it doesn't try to be either of those things. As long as the rotund, fuzzy Pikachu, with windswept ears and lightning-bolt tail, is onscreen with human trainer Ash Ketchum and pals Misty and Brock, it hardly matters that Pokemon: The First Movie is little more than a long TV-style cartoon episode that requires the purchase of a ticket..."

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Nancy Churnin of the Dallas Morning News - "..Parents may not mind the movie so much, either, as long as they have a young guide by their side to tell the Pokémon apart. But it will probably try any adult's patience to be asked to see the film as often as their progeny may demand. For parents like these – and I count myself among them – it will be a relief when the video comes out..."

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Mark Jenkins of the Washington Post - "To the many fearsome pop-cult monsters that have been made in Japan--Godzilla, Mothra, Kitaro--we can now add Pikachu. A bright-eyed, baby-talking yellow creature with a lightning-bolt tail, the star of Pokemon: The First Movie is perhaps the most formidable cartoon rodent since Jerry. Yet Pikachu's electrical superpower is not enough to energize his movie, a dull, crudely animated Pokemon byproduct that didn't noticeably juice the predominantly under-12 crowd at a recent preview..."

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Betsy Sherman of the Boston Globe - "...The Japanese animation is beautiful, and the script adaptation for the English-speaking audience is well-paced, clever, and absorbing enough to keep parents from squirming...Overall, Pokemon the First Movie is a good synthesis of Asian kung fu convention and American pep."

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Larry Terenzi of Mr. Showbiz - "...The low-end Japanese animation is unoriginal and uninteresting; characterization and charm are markedly absent. Fighting fills in all the gaps, which begets a creeping cynicism that flowers in the denouement, when, after most of the Pokémon's little hearts have exploded from battle weariness, Mewtwo proclaims: "This proves that fighting is wrong." Oh, really? And the next movie will be about what?"

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Mike Clark of USA Today - "This Americanized makeover of Japan's fourth-highest 1998 grosser plays a little like a pacifistic variation on Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, with the race of mostly cuddly Pokémon creatures being lured to a remote island for what ends up being a fighting contest. But the movie's rating is G, so the losers are merely shaken up a little, as if they've just stumbled off a satisfying Tilt-A-Whirl ride."

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