So, finally, we have an explanation for the events in movies 10 and 11. If we were given a little privy of some of the knowledge that was revealed shortly within this movie, movie 10 would have been better and movie 11 would have been easier to understand.
Putting the bad timing aside, let's get into the details. No spoilers in this...go watch it for yourself. XD
Animation...not bad. There weren't too many needless battle scenes, though the version I was watching glitched in a couple places and I missed out on a couple scenes...but somehow, what I missed didn't seem to matter at all. So, there was definitely some stalling and pointless scenes in there.
Sound...for some reason, the voice acting didn't bother me. Maybe that's because Brock didn't talk much in this movie...his "new" VA bugs me more than Ash's "new" VA.
Now, into the details:
Easy to follow, explains things that would have been missed...explained things that should have been explained in the previous two movies...yep, we've got a story that had been building through two movies, here.
Movies are typically stand-alone, with the exception of big names (like the Star Wars trilogies). Movies 10, 11, and 12 certainly is a trilogy set; 12 ties them all together.
There should have been more explanations in the prior movies, but we're just talking about this one.
The premise covers movies 10 and 11 with the legendaries, and finally ends the 3-way battle between them. It then goes on to explain why Time, Space, and the Reverse World collided and legendaries from each met one another.
The plot revolves around, well, Arceus and the Jewel of Life. Thousands of years in the past, Arceus gave up five parts of itself (water, ground, grass, electricity, and dragon) in order to help a man named Damos restore his land because Damos saved Arceus' life by collecting the 16 disks that make up Arceus' life force when they were exhausted by fighting off meteors.
The five parts that broke off became the Jewel of Life, which helped Damos restore the land from a wasteland into a fertile place to live. Later, on the night of an eclipse, Damos was to return the Jewel of Life to Arceus...but something went wrong.
Enter Ash and friends...who arrive in town just in time to see Arceus awaken from his slumber and come back to take revenge (or "justice") on the Earth and humans for betraying him and not giving back the Jewel of Life.
In order to stop the fighting, Ash, Dawn, Brock, and a movie-character is sent back thousands of years into the past thanks to Dialga to fix the future.
Not much to say, here...we're introduced to four new human characters and one pokemon (Arceus).
One of the human characters doesn't really have anything going for him...he's just there to be...there, I guess? Kevin really doesn't do much of anything from start to finish in this movie...and is the reason I had to knock the rating on characters. Seriously, there was no reason for him to even be there.
Sheena is the more prominant human character that's introduced, and has the ability to sync with the hearts of pokemon; a trait she got from her ancestor, Damos! Thanks to her and Ash, Giratina and Dialga stop fighting in the beginning (Ash flagging down Giratina, as the two know one another from movie 11, and Sheena then calming the last of Giratina's anger).
She wants a good future as much as everyone else does, and when they're cast into the past, she blindly trusts the man that was with Damos in the scenes they had seen before during the betrayal of Arceus and explains everything that happened.
Damos...well, I can't say much about his character without spoiling it, but he's got a good character build, and there's more than meets the eye when it comes to him. Let's leave it at that; he was done very well in the character creation department.
Markus is the final human introduced...and the secondary antagonist. This, I feel I can mention since it's obvious that he has something to do with the betrayal as he was seen standing next to Damos during it all. I understood that from the very first explanation where he was seen, so there's no problem in mentioning it...
Anyway, his character was also done very well. There wasn't a lot of focus on him until later on in the movie, but what focus there was had been done very well; even his motives, though unclear at first were given (thankfully).
Ash and the others took a much more proactive role thankfully, and there was even a part where Pikachu and Piplap had to make their way back to their trainers by following someone's Pichu (not going to say more on it and possibly spoil it all). Ash got to be the hero again, and since he's sort of the protagonist of the Pokemon series, that's how it should be.
Once again, Team Rocket makes a cameo appearance but doesn't really DO anything; I believe they just enter into these movies as comic relief.
And once again, Brock did almost nothing, but that's a common occurance in the movies. Though, he did wind up saving a couple characters at one point, which is probably more than he did in any of the other movies (from what I recall off the top of my head; there are a lot of movies to go through for that!).
Though Brock actually taking action in here ups the points a bit, Kevin's complete lack of character (again, why is he even there?) makes me have to dock points from the overall score on characters.
I haven't felt this engaged to a Pokemon movie since Lugia's Revelation (the second movie). I'd love to be able to watch this in its Japanese format, and I'd love to watch it again (though I'd prolly fast forward through some of the legendaries battling each other).
As part of the trilogy (movies 10-12), it's late in coming to explain the events of the previous movies, but counting it as a stand-alone, it's great.
However, that also causes me to dock points in the overall score. People that didn't see movies 10 and 11 would be a little confused during the talk about Time, Space, and the Reverse World...as well as why Giratina is fighting against Dialga (not to mention when Ash calls out to Giratina to get it to stop fighting with a "remember me?"). There are even flashbacks to those movies, so...
Yea. Viewers that didn't see movies 10 and 11 would be a bit confused (particularly movie 11).
Not counting all of that, the plot is easy to follow (granted, I wasted my time with movie 10 and also saw movie 11, so I understood all of the references in the beginning), it involves time travel (which automatically makes it cool, especially since it was done right), Brock actually gets to DO something (a very small something, but if he hadn't saved those two characters, everything would have fallen to pieces later on), everyone was in-character, and there wasn't an overwhelming amount of drama-focus or battle-focus.
It felt like this movie got back to the basics a bit (the basics I loved from the first couple movies, I mean).
I really wouldn't suggest watching movie 10 (just go read a summary; Bulbapedia has a good one that details through spoilers in the movie) to understand this one, and movie 11 is a 50-50 deal depending on if you like having about 2-3 things going on at the same time and an antagonist that confuses the heck out of you...
Ya know what? My suggestion is to just check a spoiler summary on Bulbapedia for both movies; this is the one worth watching, and you only need to basically understand what those two movies were about to understand this one (and those two don't do a very good job of explaining things in-movie, anyway).
I wish they had let this be a stand-alone movie, but it's otherwise a definite improvement over the last few craptastic movies that were made.