Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pokemon: Hoopa and the Clash of the Ages (2015)

Plot: A hundred years ago, the legendary Pokemon named Hoopa appears to a small desert town and boasts about how strong he is and summons other legendary Pokemon to fight him. But in the process, his fights with the other Pokemon start to destroy the town, and so a mysterious man takes away Hoopa's power with a Prison Bottle and saves the town. Cut to the present where the mysterious man's great grandchildren named Baraz and Meray are Hoopa's caretakers. They meet Ash and his companions who agree to help protect Hoopa from the darkness inside his powers. But then Team Rocket steals the Prison Bottle and releases Hoopa's power which turns into its own separate being and wants to make the real Hoopa disappear. So it's up to Ash and his companions to protect Hoopa and make another Prison Bottle to recapture Hoopa's power. 

As the last Pokemon film in this marathon, this was another mixed bag. There are some memorable aspect to it but it not that special at same time.

First of all I give the movie credit for its unique setting. This takes place in a desert with a middle eastern style to it that we never seen it before in a Pokemon film and it definitely makes it unique. Also, I think it was smart to give us these flashbacks that display the relationship between Hoopa Baraz and Meray. And Hoopa himself is a uniquely designed Pokemon ... though maybe too uniquely designed. For me personally, he looks so unique that in my mind I don't believe he's even a Pokemon to begin with. I don't know what's the best way to explain why, but the aspect that he's this genie that can summon Pokemon and shoot lasers with its rings and has this cocky devilish grin... it just makes him look more like a creature from a completely different anime like Digimon or something. But that's just me personally.

With that said, Hoopa as a character is a mixture of both likable and annoying. Like I said before, you get a good idea of what his past is and his goals are and can get behind his his relationship with Baraz and Meray. But he is also kind of a prankster just like Zoura and that can get annoying really fast - especially whenever he says his catchphrase "were you surprised?" which he says way too much. Also slightly similar to Kyurem vs.The Sword of Justice, I feel like he didn't have as much of a connection with Ash and his friends as a group. He has a couple of special moments with Ash who is personally helping him overcome his fear, but his companions hardly have any personal moments with Hoopa. Is a shame that one film ago, we went from the whole gang connecting and becoming buddies with the legendary Pokemon that's the main focus and now Ash gets to be the only person from the show with a specific connection with that Pokemon again. True, Clement, Bonnie and Serena still play a part in the climax as a team which is great, but it doesn't feel like they're doing anything as special as how they befriended and helped Diancie in Diance and the Cocoon of Destruction.

The climax is arguably the most memorable aspect of the movie for one specific reason: it's mostly a big battle between two groups of legendary Pokemon. It's Lugia, Latios, Latias and Rayquaza against Kyogre, Groudon, Palkia, Dialga, Giratina, and Kyurem.That may not sound like much to anyone who isn't a Pokemon fan, but for anyone who is, just saying that sound nothing short of awesome. If they somehow found a way to add a couple more legendary Pokemon like Mewtwo, Darkrai and Lucario (even though the last one isn't a legendary), this climax would be set. But with the Pokemon that they had, this was an epic show down. With that said however, as a Pokemon fan, I would be remiss if I didn't say that I wish Lugia stayed in the fight longer as opposed to only haven taken part of the battle for a few minutes or so. Also, given that the fight takes place in a big city, there are moments where Pokemon like Palkia and Giratina are destroying buildings in the process of trying to catch Ash, Pikachu and Hoopa which - similar to the climax of Man of Steel, opens the question of whether or not people died while Ash is trying to distract the legendary Pokemon and protect Hoopa. But even that is bearable compared to the end of the climax where just like with Destiny Deoxys and Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, the stakes are raised with a conflict that has a forced explanation and exists only to resolve a part of Hoopa's story. And just like those other films, it wasn't even needed. They could have found a way to resolve this specific piece of Hoopa's story with what the third act already had with fighting all of these dangerous, legendary Pokemon. It was dumb when it happened in those other two films, and it's just as dumb here.

And that's my review for Pokemon: Hoopa and the Clash of the Ages. The relationship between Hoopa, Baraz and Meray is solid, Hoopa as a Pokemon is interesting in some areas, and the fight between the legendary Pokemon is enjoyable to watch. But Hoopa has his annoying moments, Ash's companions have no memorable impact in the story again, and the climax contains another forced raising of the stakes. It's has it's memorable moments, but it's nothing special in the end.

So that concludes my movie review marathon of the Pokemon films, and truth be told I'm glad that I did this. When I started this I thought I was going to find so many films that are boring or uninteresting that I wouldn't want to continue reviewing them. But this film franchise exceeded my expectations. Is it a good film series over all? Not really. Even the best films have at least one or two major problems. But even most of the films that are bad still have good things in it. Whether it be moments of world building, interesting characters, special Pokémon abilities or whatever, these movies helped me look at Pokémon in ways that I would never have before. The first movie will always have a close place in my heart, but my top the favorite films apart from that from least to greatest would have to be Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, Pokemon 2000 and Pokemon Heroes. My top three least favorite would have to be Pokemon Giratina and the Sky Warrior, Pokemon Genesect and the Legend Awakened and Pokemon Kyurem and The Sword of Justice. There's actually already a 19th film released in Japan. Will I watch and review it when it gets an English dub? Maybe. It is another film with Ash and the X&Y/XY&Z gang and I wouldn't want to miss any adventures with them. But will I watch any films in the future that are made for the Pokemon: Sun and Moon anime series? Well...that completely depends on how they finish Pokemon: XY&Z. At the present, it is completely up in the air as to how they're going to finish Ash's adventures in Kalos and as to whether or not Serena in particular is going to join him in Aloha. Honestly, my interest in watching the show again began with Serena and it will end with Serena. If they get rid of her for Pokemon: Sun and Moon, they will rid me of any interest in watching the show further. Until then, thank you for reading my Pokemon movie review marathon and I hope you'll stick around for my 675th review.

Rating: 50%

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