Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pokemon Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction (2014)

Plot: In an underground country called "Diamond Domain" lies a powerful Heart Diamond that serves as the kingdom's source of energy. But it's slowly withering away, so the Carbink that live there look to Princess Diancie to create a new one. But Diancie is not powerful enough to do so yet, so she has to go on a journey to find the Life Pokémon named Xerneas to help her create a new Heart Diamond. Along the way, Diancie escapes from her Carbink escort and meets Ash and Pikachu and his companions, Clemont, Bonnie and Serena who also help her find Xerneas while also defending her from Team Rocket and the jewel thieves named Marilyn Flame and Ninja Riot.

Finally we make it to the X&Y films. Oh Kalos sweet Kalos, it's good to see you again. I may have mentioned once or twice already that I've been watching the X&Y and XY&Z series and really enjoy it. Since this takes place in the series, I personally enjoy this movie has a whole. This isn't to say that this is one of the strongest Pokemon films, but there's a lot of improvements in it.

Let's start with the big improvement with both the show and the movie: Ash's companions. I admit that I may be a little biased when I say this, but I really enjoyed Ash's companions in both the X&Y and XY&Z. Clemont is my least favorite member of the group given how he can be annoying with his catchphrase "the future is now thanks to science." But with that said, I still like him to a degree in how he's voice of reason and gives good information about Pokemon. Bonnie you could say is the little girl version of Brock because of how she keeps proposing to women, asking to be Clemont's wife.  This sounds like she's just a diet version of Brock, but I enjoy it. She's a cute character. And then we have Serena. Good golly am I glad that they created Serena. Not only is she the reason why I started watching X&Y and XY&Z in the first place, but she may be one of my favorite characters in all of media. The main reason why is her crush on Ash. I completely support the idea of the two of them getting together. *audience members boo* Yeah I know it seems like I'm betraying a part of my childhood by not supporting the idea of Misty getting together with Ash, but that's honestly how I feel. Serena may be a girly girl a good portion of time (some of which you see in the movie), but at the end of the day she's a character that you can easily grow to really care for her and hope that she will one day confess her feelings for Ash and they will get together. I can go on and on about Serena, so I'll just save that for another post. I have been working on a top 15 Favorite animated female characters list, and she will be on it. So if I get it up, I'll be sure to go into much more detail.

Anyway, another big improvement to me personally is how Ash's companion feel more like a team than any of Ash's companions in the other films. Apart from some cases like Pokemon 3: The Movie or (to a lesser extent) Kyurem and The Sword of Justice, it's rare for Ash's companions to have a purpose in these movies at all let alone act together as a group. But here, not only do they do that but they honestly improve on it. They aren't just summoning their Pokemon to help, they're using their special talents to help Diancie. Clemont uses an invention that doesn't blow up (which is a rarity in the show), Serena uses her skills for Rhyhorn racing and Bonnie...um... provides moral support... okay that doesn't sound like much, but that still makes her more productive than Brock.

Another nice albeit small improvement is how Team Rocket actually had a point in the story. I may have held my tongue at this point,  the main purpose for Team Rocket in almost all of the films between Pokemon 2000 and now is just to be the comedy relief. They almost never even have a personal encounter with Ash and his friends. They just follow Ash secretly and observe the adventure he's having and make jokes. Heck, they don't even appear in Kyurem and The Sword of Justice. Apart from trying to capture Pikachu early into Jirachi: Wish Maker, they haven't really done anything since helping Ash retrieve the last orb in Pokemon 2000. Here we have a scene where they capture Diancie and try to use her to become rich. It may not have been the longest scene in the movie, but it's more than they've ever done in fifteen movies now, so to have them at least capture the main Pokemon characters is quite refreshing.

Diancie as a character was....okay. She does have an important role in the story and has something to overcome, but at the same time she was your typical fish-out-of-water character who is learning new things in this whole new world that she's wanted to see all her life. She also ( in my opinion) brings out the most corny moments in the dialogue. As much as I like to praise both the X&Y and XY&Z series, I will be the first fan to admit that the dialogue has its corny moments. Granted, it's not like the dialogue in the show or other films prior to X&Y or XY&Z had had dialogue that meets the quality of Quentin Tarantino movies. But it stands out more with scenes like Ash, Bonnie, Serena and Clemont helping Diancie learn how it's wrong to steal or what it means to be friends (but hey, at least they handle the latter better than in the last movie.)

The climax is fairly decent. The legendary Pokemon, Yveltal is pretty intimidating and leads to one of the darkest third acts in a Pokemon film. It's kind of like the fake Groudon in Jirachi: Wish maker except you have a better understand that both people and Pokemon are dying at the hands of this dangerous monster. The only real problem I have with the ending is that it gives us a sad moment  with Pikachu that could have worked if they let the moment sink in longer like with what happened to Ash in The First movie. But even then, it probably wouldn't be as effective as we know it's going to come out happy after 17 movies. Also I know I haven't talked about the music to the end credits of the movie since the first movie, but the end credits song Open My Eyes is very enjoyable. Yeah it's not the most stand out song, but it's kind of a memorable song if you're an X&Y and XY&Z fan.

And that's my review for Pokemon Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction. It has its corny dialogue and Diancie as a character is just okay when comparing to other Pokemon from past movies, but for me personally the movie is an enjoyable improvement with likable main characters who play their own parts in the action, the most productive use of Team Rocket since almost the beginning of the film series, and an enjoyable dark climax with Yveltal. I realize that I could be biased seeing as I'm honestly enjoying this current rendition of the show more than anything else from the anime, but I like to think that most of it is justified. It may not fit that standard of Pokemon Heroes or Pokemon 2000, but it's a nice time for the improvements it has.

Rating: 65%

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