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Pokemon has become the new religion of the elementary school sect. Born on the pocket Gameboy, a miniature video game marketed by Nintendo, Pokemon sprang from the tiny screen onto every imaginable item that could be licensed as an official Pokemon article.
Further, the company has licensed the more than 150 Pokemon (pocket monster) creatures to appear on baseball-like cards. Each one lists its creature's various strengths and fighting abilities, allowing children to have Pokemon battles. "Collect 'em all" says the marketing slogan, but that's not an easy thing to do. By limiting the circulation of certain Pokemon, the card publishers have created an artificial scarcity, turning the cards into playground currency.
What has this got to do with the movie? Well, first you need to realize that this movie is nothing without the craze proceeding it. The pokey plot features Mewtwo, the 150th Pokemon, who was genetically developed from the extinct Mew. But the problem is Mewtwo is sooooo powerful, no force can stop his quest to rule the world. The creature is determined to collect all the Pokemon (where have we heard that before?) and clone them into super fighting machines.
Is it violent? No more so than many other G-rated films. Pokemon battle each other throughout the movie, while their trainers (the human owners of the Pokemon - typically children) coach them. The battles involve each creature using his specific powers, for instance the popular Pikachu is electrically charged. In an attempt to pacify parents, the overly contrived conclusion preaches to young audiences that love, not fighting, is the way to solve problems - until the next movie arrives.
The Pokemon movie presents only mild concerns compared to the frenzy among children who are willing to trade, pay, or fight to secure a rare card, with the notion they are getting something akin to a Rembrandt. When my son told me his collection would net $40, my advice was simple: Take the money and get rid of 'em all.
Pokemon: The First Movie is rated G:
Studio: 1995,1996,1998 Nintendo. 1999 Warner Bros.