The world domination of Pokémon begets their first theatrical movie. This adventure is a little more complex and dark than the popular TV series, but kids who live for the show will gobble up this film and ask for seconds. Those baffled by the show's popularity, however, will see nothing better here. Mewtwo, a new type of Pokémon designed by scientists to be the ultimate fighter, decides he wants to rule the world and challenges all the great Pokémasters to battle. Of course, our intrepid heroes Ash, Misty, and Brock are there to tangle with Mewtwo and spoil his devilish schemes. The film is a tad more emotional than the show (that is, there is some emotion), with Ash sacrificing himself to defend his beloved Pikachu (but don't you worry, Ash will be just fine).
Would you really expect the makers of this worldwide phenomenon to radically change its winning formula? The feature is only 55 minutes long, but there's also a 20-minute short, "Pikachu's Vacation." For the Pokémon novice, this escapade will truly baffle: the narrated tale has virtually no dialogue except Pokémon speaking their names (Bulbasaur, for instance, will only express emotion by using variations of his name: "Bulba, Bulba-SAUR!"). It's a real curio. --Doug Thomas