Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! aims to retell the funny yet touching story of how Ash and Pikachu first met. It also shows how they became the closet of friends, and in that regard, it’s successful. Moving on, the movie emphasizes the importance of friendship above anything else with an energetic presentation full of obscenely cute and charming Pokémon.
FUN FACT: The title of the movie is the same title for the very first episode of the entire Pokémon series.
Everything plays out as you’d expect, until the end where things take a sharp turn into some cringe-worthy material. This ultimately leaves things on a sour, awkward note; to be honest.
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!: The Short Review
Essentially, this movie is all about Ash’s Greatest Hits from Season 1, only stuck in fast-forward mode. We see a ton of pivotal moments like when Ash first met Pikachu and how it got its trust. There’s also Ash caring for abandoned Pokémon and Ash fully evolving his Pokémon only to release it back to the wild for them to be happy. If you’ve been watching the anime for a very long time, you’ll know which episodes I’m talking about. However, the problem in this movie is that it rushes through these events. So they don’t really have the same emotional impact.
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!: Ho-Oh and the Rainbow Hero
The movie isn’t entirely a rehashed material; if you’re starting to think that. There’s an entirely new story line involving the Legendary Pokémon Ho-oh that takes what was a chance encounter in the anime and turns it into a special event. Here, Ash is the destined “Rainbow Hero”. After finding out that Ash is the destined “Rainbow Hero”, he then goes on a journey to Mount Tensei to find and battle Ho-oh.
ANOTHER FUN FACT: This is the very first Pokémon movie that Ho-oh starred in. All the other movies before this one didn’t have this rainbow phoenix as the main Legendary/Mythical Pokémon.
As for the “Rainbow Hero” part I mentioned, there are two new characters that seem to know about this mythic prophecy. Plus, the story’s most convoluted scenes comes from them trying to explain it to Ash. I know that this is a kid’s movie, but I sometimes can’t understand what the characters are trying to say. So, there are times where I would just give up and just watch Pikachu battle.
In all honesty, this is one part of the movie where it doesn’t fall short. The animation is slick, expressive and is dynamic. The camera wildly moves and it creatively shows off the exciting chase scenes and the explosive battles. Pokémon evolution here has a new dazzling effect that better emphasizes how the creature is morphing and growing. Unfortunately, the story isn’t on the same level as with the visuals.
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!: More On The Plot Line
The Ho-oh plot line is more of a loose framework than the driving force of the movie. There are a number of detours and distractions that don’t belong. Truth of the matter, these are still integral to the entire movie as it makes up the signature elements of Pokémon. Yes, Gym Battles and Team Rocket are still here.
With that said, the one area the main story shines addresses a longstanding issue with the entire Pokémon franchise. With the high number of Legendary Pokémon that’s currently in existence, they don’t seem as special as they used to. However, the movie does an amazing job of restoring the reverence for these unique Pokémon so they feel appropriately elusive and powerful.
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!: The New Characters
In place of Brock and Misty, Ash has two new companions, the hyper-competitive Verity and the scholarly Sorrel. Verity, rumored to be Cynthia’s daughter, had a spirited energy, she sort of felt underdeveloped. Conversely, Sorrel was more fleshed out, mostly thanks to a harrowing flashback scene that reminds you that Pokémon can indeed get dark, yet he was a bit bland on the side. The pair is a fine addition to keep things fresh; however, to be honest, they don’t leave much of an impression.
Instead of Gary Oak, Ash’s trainer rival is a brute named Cross who came from the Alola region, whose signature phrase is “make it right,” which is at odds with Ash’s own mantra about how Pokémon should be treated as friends. Cross mostly exists so that Ash can repeatedly remind us how friendship is important, in case you forget.
There’s also the appearance of the Mythical Pokémon here which is also relevant to the plot — Marshadow! Of course, I won’t spill anymore on what its relevance is in the movie. All I could say that Marshadow is the newest Mythical Pokémon introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon games.
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!: Overall Verdict
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! is a remix of Ash’s biggest and best moments from the first season of the Pokémon series, only they aren’t quite as emotionally powerful when they’re all crammed into one 90-minute movie. Nonetheless, the animation is greatly rendered; the Pokémon look cuter and the action scenes are epic. Furthermore, the film’s story line centered around Ho-oh does restore the reverence of Legendary Pokémon; however, it ultimately tanks due to some truly bizarre twists and turns at the end.