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POKEMON 2000

SYNOPSIS:
Avaricious Pokemon collector, Lawrence III, plans to capture the three great Pokemon birds that govern the elements fire, lightning and ice. Their capture will disrupt the balance of nature across the world and give him control over the famous sea-dwelling Pokemon, Lugia. According to legend, only the Chosen One can restore harmony on Earth. Although he doesn’t know it yet, young Pokemon trainer Ash Ketchum is the Chosen One.

"I don't want to insist on the stereotype of animé (Japanese animation) as teeming with cute surrealism, but when you're faced with something like 'Pikachu's Rescue Adventure' - a largely plotless, wordless trek through a random series of fantasy landscapes, including an idyllic garden filled with fat robins and smiling flowers doing aerobics - the question must be asked: what drugs are these guys on? Still, once you start to get the hang of the Pokemon universe, it's easy to see why children like it so much. With their different shapes and powers, the Pokemon themselves appeal to the love many children have for collecting and sorting objects according to complex rules. For younger children, there's the simpler thrill of identification: Pikachu, the real hero of the series, bounces and babbles just like any toddler (a friendly yellow blob, he's Winnie the Pooh to Ash's Christopher Robin). Perhaps disappointingly, the second, feature-length story in this package, 'The Power Of One,' is a lot more straightforward: it differs from recent American cartoon features mainly in its relative technical crudity and its relatively complex, demanding plot. Contrary to recent, often hysterical attacks on the Pokemon value system, this is in fact highly moral throughout: there's a strong environmental message, a near-total lack of violence, and an attractively open-minded world-view that allows all kinds of strange creatures and bizarre events to be accepted without question. Yes, the American dubbing is poor. Yes, the animation is variable. Yes, the whole enterprise (like most 'family' movies) is a ruthless campaign to sell more toys. Never mind: with all these reservations, Pokemon 2000 is undoubtedly the best film to be released for the current school holidays, and can be confidently recommended to six-year-olds, acidheads and pop-culture watchers everywhere."
Jake Wilson

"Some films are Adults Only. Others are Family Viewing. Some should be No Parents Allowed – for their own sanity’s sake. Pokemon 2000 is perfectly suited to the multiplex era; deposit your eight-year-old pocket monster with popcorn and a kiss, and duck next door to Une Liaison Pornographique quicker than you can say Pikachu (not a reaction to hay fever, but the name of the principle Pokemon). I don’t know a great deal about Pokemons, and I can’t claim to be much wiser after seeing this, the second of the Pokemon features. The narrative outline is simple enough: unassuming young fella saves the world with a little help from his trusty vermin-like friend, wins the admiration of two pre-teen spunklettes, and becomes a hero to everybody but his mum. But even the eight year olds have seen this all before, so the value comes from knowing the nuances of the Pokemon universe. If you really want to test your parental patience, do see the film with your kids, then get them to explain the subtleties to you afterwards. And make sure you have your credit card handy. Apparently, there are a number of new Pokemons introduced in both the feature and 22-minute short that precedes it (basically a plethora of Pokemons doing a Busby Berkeley routine). As far as the imagery goes, I’m no great anime fan, and this is very average anime. Of some curiosity value, is the occasional use of sophisticated CGI superimposed over the rough-hewn 2D animation. The clash is interesting but not very appealing. Still, what would a decrepit, cynical critic know? Judging by the gasps and giggles of the tiny tots at my screening, there’s plenty of fun here for Pokemonphiles."
Brad Green

"Hopefully Pokemon exists in a vacuum from the real world. Unlike the first movie where the anti-violence message provided a saving grace, this Pokemon effort reinforces all the old stereotypes that modern society appears to have left behind. Though with this kind of hokum being exercised upon the young we can only hope that modern parents are providing better role modeling for their children. The problem isn't about violence and still the peaceful message remains, though not as strongly as in last year's movie. It's about the gender roles. In the first movie, Pikachu was the hero. And sure Ash was the trainer, but ultimately we cheered for an invented little critter. In this film it is Ash. The boy. There are two main girls: the one who is chided for being Ash's 'girlfriend', and the one who does the chiding, who our little audience is meant to disapprove of as she seems to be a little worldly so to speak. As if this isn't enough Lawrence, the bad guy, could well pass as gay. Animated creations do not have to push the politically correct line, but they most certainly should not be going back to a 1950's way of looking at the world. Why promote the idea that boys are for doing and girls are for admiring? The boys in the audience seemed to enjoy the experience and why wouldn't they? But what about the little girls? Shame on you Pokemon people."
Lee Gough

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

POKEMON 2000 (G)
(Japan)

CAST: Eric Stuart, Veronica Taylor, Philip Bartlett, Rachel Lillis, Addie Blaustein

VOICES: Veronica Taylor, Ikue Otani, Megumi Hayashibara. Satomi Koorogi

DIRECTOR: Kunihiko Yuyama, Michael Haigney

PRODUCER: Norman Grossfield, Choji Yoshikawa, Tomoyuki Igarashi

SCRIPT: Takeshi Shudo (original screenplay)

MUSIC: Ralph Schuckett, John Loeffler

RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2000 (Sydney)

September 14 – Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane
September 21 - Perth







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