Good idea in concept (which is why I didn't give the Story rating a 1), but the execution was horrible. As I continue to catch up on the Pokemon movies I missed, the next one is Giratina and the Sky Warrior.
This review will contain SPOILERS, because it's unavoidable in this case.
Animation was overall not too bad; there weren't as many pointless battle scenes or stalling battles as there was in movie 10, but there were still a few areas that seemed to be needless animation (like the beginning).
Sound...well, emotion was put in well enough for the characters to make up for the complete lack of emotion that the main antagonist had. I still also can't get over the voice acting changes to Ash and Brock; I never have been, and that was actually one of the reasons I stopped watching the TV series when it happened. Sorry, but these new voice actors don't do as much for me as the old ones did.
Now, into the nitty-gritty:
Wait...there's an easily understood plot, here? Really? Coulda fooled me.
At first glance, without reading a summary of the movie (and without having played any of the games past Emerald), I see some pokemon fighting one of the pokemon from the previous movie (Dialga) and trying to drag it into some weird looking place.
They drag along some other kind of new pokemon, who eventually opens up another tear in time-space and manages to get itself out along with Dialga.
The still unknown pokemon is found by the protagonists, and turns out to have quite the attitude, but is trying to reach a flower garden for some special event.
Meanwhile, Big-Bad (Zero) is monitoring the large unknown pokemon (Giritina) and trying to find emersion points to the real world for some unknown reason.
Reading the summary, I see that Giratina is pissed at Dialga and Palkia because their fight seems to have caused clouds of extremely toxic pollution in the mysterious world (the Reverse World), and was trying to fight them for revenge.
Maybe I missed it, but from what I recall, this was NOT mentioned anywhere in the film. Rather, according to what was mentioned in the film, the toxic clouds were a result of pollution in the real world.
But, the beginning of the movie now makes sense. Took too long, but makes sense.
Now, what about the rest of the movie?
Have to get to the flower garden for a special event...yep, okay, that's fine. An adventure is a nice change of pace.
Then, wait, who's this dude we've been seeing from the beginning? What's he after? Why is he doing it?
Oh, he's after Giratina's power to be able to travel back and forth freely between the real world and Reverse World.
Uhh...why? Because he likes the Reverse World, I guess? His motives aren't very clear, and instead of the beginning of the movie focusing on a drawn out battle between Giratina and Dialga, it should have focused on the MAIN ANTAGONIST. His motives still seem to involve a pokemon, so Giratina would still be in it...
Yet, about 15 minutes until the end of the movie, and I still can't figure out WHY the heck Zero is doing what he's doing, and what prompted him to do it.
Oh, wait...I think it's because he dislikes people for polluting the worlds, and since the real world and the Reverse World support each other, he went for trying to destroy the real world via the Reverse World?
From what? People polluting it, I guess...but the summary said that the toxic clouds are appearing because of the fight that Dialga and Palkia had...which as far as I understood, had nothing to do with humans; it was between two pokemon, so I'm sitting there, scratching my head and trying to figure out just WHAT this guy's motive is.
Besides just wanton destruction. Maybe that's it. The dude is just psycho and wants to destroy the real world, and I'm overanalyzing it trying to find out WHY. I still haven't, but I at least was able to figure out the plot outside of the whole "get to the flower garden" adventure.
So, after being confused as heck, I've got it. The main plot is that Giratina, pissed at what the fighting between Dialga and Palkia did to its world, tried to fight them to get revenge, but instead got itself sealed in the Reverse World due to Dialga.
Then, as Zero watched the entire thing, he realized that Shaymin can also open up portals with some kind of battle move, so he went and nabbed Shaymin and took the protagonists hostage to get Shaymin to absorb the toxic cloud and use that spore attack to free Giratina from the Reverse World in order to capture it and drain it of its power so that he (Zero) could obtain that power, so...
...uh...he can destroy the real world, I guess? This part isn't really fully explained. But, yea, that's the story. It's good in concept, but again, the execution was horrible. There needed to be some more focus on WHY Zero is doing all of it and what drove him to it.
Same old, same old...Brock (or, the third member of the group; a trend I'm noticing in the majority of the movies after the fifth one) doesn't have much of a role, here.
This movie introduces two new pokemon (Giratina and Shaymin), a new human character (Newton), and a new antagonist (Zero).
Let's start with Giratina...check up yet another misunderstood pokemon. In the last movie, it was Darkrai that was misunderstood. In this one, everyone seems to think that Giratina is the bad guy...we were left in the dark as much as the protagonists, which was a nice change of pace, but this time it was obvious that Giratina wasn't a bad guy.
I couldn't figure out what the heck it was doing and why it was attacking Dialga (without reading the summary of the movie), but it wasn't a bad guy. It has a temper, okay, and seems to live in some strange world.
"Let sleeping lions lie"...of course it's going to attack back if you start shooting at it! Giratina obviously has a personality, which we see much more of later on in the film than at the start. Not too bad.
Shaymin...let's face it, Shaymin is what keeps the entire film worth watching with its attitude. It's an ungrateful "grateful" pokemon that likes to talk big and, when in air form, act on that too (being even more headstrong than Ash during such times). Shaymin has a lot of personality and a lot of character, and though it was annoying at first, it was interesting to see its confidence boosted so much just by switching to a form that can actually attack.
The humans...Newton is interesting. He has a personality, and that's one of a researcher and the "guide" of the movie for the protagonists. He helps them out, and knows a lot of what's going on and why it's going on (particularly when it involves the Reverse World). He's not a flat, dull researcher as he's more of the risk-taker type of character (but toned down somewhat).
Then, we come to Zero...who, like his name, has that exact number in the personality department. He doesn't show much of any emotion, not even when his plans were all seemingly ruined and he was pissed at Ash, Newton, Shaymin, and everyone else for getting in his way. He has no backstory (well, he does, but in a brief, 5-10 second segment and another brief 5-10 second segment; neither of which explains ANYTHING except that he used to be working under Newton).
As a bad guy, he's got the entire "destruction" thing down, but he doesn't have any easy to discern motive, and his backstory is lacking badly. He's the reason I rated the characters score so low.
As for the protagonists...typicall all around. Ash is Ash, Dawn is...well...I never really liked her character much, but like the last movie, she doesn't really do anything of interest, and Brock practically does nothing.
Ash thankfully has a bigger role in this movie than the last one, and takes a much more proactive role.
Team Rocket makes an appearance, and again, is shut down rather quickly and forgotten.
Also, random appearance of a Regi......uh, whut? O.o Not even going to include that "character" in here.
If there was more focus on why Zero was doing everything, and his motives (revealed to the viewers in a way that isn't boring or all in flashbacks that would just take up time) and flowed better, it would be a really good movie, actually.
However, though the idea is good (until you get to the little stumbling block that's Zero's overall plan), the way the story flowed wasn't. It flowed fine when Ash and the others were trying to get to the flower garden, and even some of their trips to the Reverse World and meeting up with Newton were well timed (the final one, in particular).
The rest is cause for much head scratching, and I'm tempted to google search the movie to try and find a reason for Zero's actions. In fact, even the cause of the fight seen at the beginning of the movie wasn't properly explained to the viewers.
I did like the fact that we weren't privy to whether or not Giratina was the true bad guy or not (though, with the clips of Zero, it was obvious he was the "Big Bad" and not Giratina), so it wasn't as much of a facepalm as the previous movie.
Still, around the adventure to the flower garden, the story felt choppy, the Reverse World not explained properly until the end (and also wouldn't make as much sense to anyone that hadn't seen the 10th movie; another reason to dock the overall score).
I really would have liked to rate this better, as it wasn't half bad...but it wasn't half good, either. I think this movie could have been a big hit if everything was explained properly and smoothly, and the transitions were better from one thing to another.
And that Regi's appearance...
We call that device a Dues ex machina; some godly power appears out of nowhere and saves the day instead of the remaining characters being able to do it with their own powers.
I'll admit, a giant honking glacier would be hard to stop, but it's the fact that the Regi showed up in the last segment of the movie that's the problem. If there was at least talk about it as a guardian of the flower garden or something, that would have explained a little more.
It felt like the writers tried to include too many things at once, and weren't able to properly do so. Otherwise, it would have been a great movie. I can't quite give it a 5 out of 10 due to all the confusion (which was actually frustrating) in the middle of the movie, but I will say that if you do watch this movie, just watch it and try not to figure anything out; it makes the viewing experience better.