pokémon: destiny deoxys

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((I’m not the best with Gijinkas but here’s my Gijinka versions of these two. I made Purple in their Attack Forme since they use it pretty often. Yes they are wearing a hoodie. Purple is the older protective one…

While Green is the precious space child that likes to wear oversized clothing.))

Well, this is it…unless Veronica Taylor comes back for M20, this is the last time I’ll go into a pokefilm fresh and hear the original English cast. Salute, 4Kids. Your consistently solid cast, cast in appropriate roles, will be missed. At least I have many, many, many, many, many episodes left to catch up on with you.

I suppose you could call this the Zoroark of AG (or is Zoroark the Deoxys of DP?) The other films of the gen get plenty of fan attention, but I never see anyone mention this one. And, as with Zoroark, I’m not surprised upon seeing it.

There’s no reason why such a heavy sci-fi concept as aliens should be out-of-place in Pokemon. All the tech of the world fits neatly into the “soft” science fiction category, and there are a good number of Pokemon that lean in that direction. So when I say that the idea of aliens in a pokefilm just rubs me the wrong way, understand that I can’t even explain to myself why I have such a problem with it. Maybe it’s because so much emphasis is given to the Legendary and Mythical Pokemon in each gen, and because the world as a whole is much more fantasy than sci-fi. At the end of the day, aliens just weren’t something I ever wanted to see in one of these flicks, so that hurt my interest right away.

Though I knew better, a small part of me held out hope that this would be the one movie to give Brock a proper story line. After all, Jirachi gave an arc to Max, Lucario to Ash, and Ranger to May. If any gen was going to toss ol’ Brock a bone, you’d think it’d be AG. But no - no arc for Brock. Not here, and not in any of the twelve movies to feature him. Spell of the Unown was the only one to give him a prominent role, but a decent turn as a supporting figure for Ash isn’t the same as a proper arc.

Of course, this film doesn’t give an arc to Ash or the others either. Other pokefilms have had the CotD be the de facto protagonist, but this film more than any other centers the plot around the guest star, Tory in this case. It takes the main cast nearly fifteen minutes to appear, and when they do, they’re basically along for the ride with Tory. The plot tries to position Ash in the same sort of mentor role he had in Jirachi, but it doesn’t work nearly as well this time around. Ash and Tory don’t have the sort of established rapport to build off of that Ash and Max had, and Tory is a pretty dull character if I’m being frank. And unlike Jirachi, Deoxys can’t resist letting Ash save the day at the end, regardless of how little he’s done to earn that role in a story sense.

And for all the complaints I’ve made about padding in previous reviews, this is, hands down, the worst offender on that point. It’s not quite as long a film as Ranger, but it’s longer than it needed to be, and feels it. The faux-rival for Ash is obnoxious and eats up screen time. The musical number in the middle of the film, which would’ve been the credits in any other movie, stops the plot dead. Once Deoxys invades the city, too much time is spent in a loop of “grabbers attack, we run, we hide.” And the plot is saddled with extras that are pointless at best and take away from greater opportunities at worst.

On the former point - Rayquaza is an unnecessary plot complication that’s quickly and arbitrarily neutralized at the end. On the latter - the three little ones The antics of  Plusle, Minun, and an oddly civic-minded Munchlax are very cute, and they would’ve made great fodder for an episode of the show, but they are wrong for this movie. Munchlax never has any meaningful pay-off in the larger plot, so he could’ve been an easy cut. Plusle and Minun do have a pay-off, by feeding in to Tory’s fear of Pokemon, but it’s one they shouldn’t have had. Tory’s friendship with the disembodied Deoxys could’ve served as an emotional core and anchor for the film, had more time been devoted to it. a major step in that direction would have been: once Tory learns that his friend is a Pokemon, he gets freaked out by it, struggles to communicate with Deoxys anymore, only to ultimately come through for him in the end. The green cube of Deoxys would’ve followed Tory into the thick of things in this instance, and there could’ve been more made of the rush to get him to the regeneration center. And Tory could’ve been the one to save the day, the role that, narratively speaking, is his to take given the construction of the plot.

But they didn’t do that. They shoehorned in two cute critters who are more than a little derivative of Pikachu, never set a clear anchor for the story, dragged their feet throughout, and left us with what is, IMO, the worst of the pokefilms. That’s right - I think this one’s worse than Genesect.

Eighteen down, and one to go…