***This is a spoiler free review***
I don’t necessarily want to be labeled as that guy who reviews Pokemon stuff but after seeing the two very drastically different reviews for Pokemon Movie 8: Lucario and The Mystery of Mew, there was a dire need for a decent review.
Like many major anime franchises such as Bleach and Naruto, Pokemon has many movies that accompany the different seasons airing. While some of the Pokemon movies seem rushed out and bland, I believe Pokemon Movie 8: Lucario and The Mystery of Mew is a very well done movie wrapped around a fairly good cast.
So the eighth Pokemon movie centers around the Pokemon Advanced cast of Ash, Brock, Max, and May which happens to be my 2nd favorite overall cast in the Pokemon universe. Ash and company are visiting a festival that has a pokemon competition as the main event. Ash does his thing and wins the whole shibang creating the starting point for the movie. Without giving too much away, things happen and with the help of Lucario, Ash and friends are off on a quest to save a freaking huge tree. It might sound uninteresting from my horribly written summary but to tell you the truth, this movie is based mostly on the backstory of Lucario and the chemistry he and Ash form. The plot is interesting enough to hold onto and I generally like the beginning, middle, and ending.
It’s really hard to judge the animation because it might be a hit or miss for some people. The animation looks like it has some sort of filter (can't really describe it although its not a negitive thing). The production values from what I can tell were pretty high as some of the scenes are beautiful and full of outstanding reflections. The overall color palette emphasizes on dark shades and bright colors (very bright reds and greens) which works for me. Other than the big important scenes, everything else looks fine and not hard on the eyes. I rarely experienced any frame rate or blurring issues when watching the film. It looks great and everything is fluid.
***This is biased off of watching the English Dub***
I have always watched Pokemon in English since I was a kid and watching this in English made me respect English speaking voice actors even more than before. Every character has a very nicely done dub to accompany the animations of the characters. Ash, May, and Brock (I didn't check for Max but I am pretty sure its the same as well) have the same voice actors as the ones in the series, Pokemon Advanced which to loyal fans is a plus. The musical score is average at best, mostly consisting of orchestrated songs and pop one here and there. The pokemon sound like…pokemon. What I’m trying to get at here is that the English Dub is quite good and everything else works. Not spectacular but not horrible.
Pokemon has always relied on the audience enjoying the interactions of the characters. When you have seasons branching out to 100+ episodes, if the characters don’t work well the series will flop. Ash is the same as when he started his adventure, rash, bold, and way too friendly. He’s not a male lead I respect as much as say Ichigo but he gets the job done. I hate Max; don’t really have a valid reason why but I just find him annoying. Brock is the world’s greatest “player” as he hits on everything that moves (props my main man). I have always liked May because every movie that she is in I have grown to like. She and Ash have nice chemistry together and it shows in the movie. I honestly didn’t feel for any of the other minor characters except for Lucario. Lucario initially is an a$$hole but eventually warms up to Ash. Overall, the main cast works well but definitely outshines the supporting roles.
The movie kept me interested with the backstory of Lucario and the interaction between the characters as a whole. Animation was good enough to get the job done and in some incidents was very well done. The quality of the voice overs for the entire staff was very well done. The character interactions were quite good and made me want to watch Pokemon Advanced all over again. Overall, it’s a good movie whether you are a Pokemon fan or not. I recommend it to anyone that is looking for something to kill an hour and a half with.
***To Pokemon Lovers: If you are craving a different take on Pokemon, I strongly encourage you start reading the manga Pokemon Adventures as it follows the games and has a very different view of the Pokemon Universe. The manga faithfully follow the games and at the moment has +500 chapters to enjoy.***
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