Staci J. (mountainrailroad) from KISSEE MILLS, MO Reviewed on 8/11/2009...
We love Pokemon movies
The magic doesn't shine until you watch it again...
Jacalyn Burnham | 08/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, this review is long. Deal with it, I've got a lot to say.
A note: this review is of the Japanese version of the movie. I haven't actually seen the English version yet. ^^; I'm hoping the dub will leave this masterpiece of a movie intact, though. That said, this movie is arguably the best of them. I used to reserve that spot for the third, with its subtle themes and gentle lessons of life, loss, and happiness, but this one tops that. When I first saw Mew and the Wave-Guiding Hero, I was a bit skeptical at first. Entertained yes, but the true magic of this movie comes upon multiple watchings. Please note that from this point there are extreme spoilers. If you think the only point to watching a movie is to see how it ends, then stop reading, but like I said, you need to know the story before you can truly appreciate it.
That said, the movie opens with an ancient war, and the efforts of a Pokemon named Lucario and his human master Aaron to prevent their castle from being destroyed. Right when the battle is about to begin, however, Aaron declares that he has abandoned the castle forever and tells Lucario to leave as well. When Lucario insists on following him, Aaron seals him within his staff, where Lucario remains for many centuries. The details behind the war's origin are not present, but in my opinion, they would only bog down the storyline more; Aaron himself later refers to it as a "pointless war," and therefore it was presumably over a power struggle. In the end, however, the energy released by a mysterious living mountain named the "Origin Tree" calms the spirits of the Pokémon used in the conflict, and they abandon their masters and armor and return to their homes. Because it was believed that Aaron was somehow behind the Tree's miracle, he was named the Wave-Guiding Hero.
The main storyline kicks off again when Ash prevails at a competition and is named the honorary Wave-Guiding Hero in an annual festival. The Legendary Pokémon Mew is also present at the festival, and disappears along with Ash's Pikachu when confronted. But when Lucario finally breaks out of the staff in which he was imprisoned, he is faced with the loss of everything he ever knew, and grudgingly agrees to lead Ash in a journey to the Origin Tree to find Mew and rescue Pikachu.
But if you think this movie is about nothing more than a boy on a quest to recover an electric mouse, you will be gravely mistaken. Ash and his friends become the victims of their own adventuring when they are incessantly pursued by both the Tree's ancient guardians and its internal protection, akin to an immune system. The story has enough action to satisfy the younger fans, yet the makers knew the value of silence and character depth. It's really much more dramatic and suspenseful than action packed. An example being that each time the Tree's guardians, the Regis, show up, is creepier than the last. As my ten year-old sister (who is not a Pokémon fan, mind you) once said: "The Regis are the only Pokémon that actually look scary."
The plotline isn't too complicated that it'll confuse the younger fans or older non-fans, but it still has a nice complexity behind it that just isn't seen in most kids' movies. What starts out as nothing but a journey to find Pikachu becomes much more. And then of course there is the animation, which is certainly a treat. The Pokémon team has improved tenfold over the years with painting backgrounds, and the 3-D effects blend in very nicely. Even the ordinary 2-D art is a cut above the usual Pokémon animation. The opening war scene is very drab and foggy, and actually made the art seem more real since overly bright colors are often what make the Pokémon animation seem so cartoony (the ballroom scene is an example of this.)
There are a lot of details such as the actual content of each scene that are often overlooked. My favorite example being that when a miracle of time shows a rampaging army charging through a valley, the flowers that exist in the present time continue to sway peacefully, completely unaffected by the horrific vision of the past. Lucario then collapses to his knees with grief at the memory of when his master abandoned him, and the flowers continue to sway around him, adding to the emotional beauty of the sequence. Additionally, the music score for this movie is something special indeed. The score suring the initial war scene is just so somber and dramatic, but at the sametime, the heavy beating of the drum reminds you of the stakes of the battle. The scenes in which Ash and co. are chased by the Regis has a vaguely techno-ish feel to it, adding the already creepy atmosphere. And the movie's main theme, what I've come to call the "Hero music" is very flexible--triumphant at some times, yet slow and saddening at others. I'm glad that all the recent Pokémon movies. has kept the Japanese music, since it would be a shame to lose such an awesome score.
It's a lot more than just the events or the animation or the music or the plotline though. This movie delves into a lot of the themes that the older ones addressed--friendship, loss, life, and whether or not Pokémon Training is truly based upon bonding rather than servitude. The gem is that unlike many of the others, the themes are there, but they don't get drilled into the viewers' heads. Lucario is very suspicious and mistrustful of humans, but he grows throughout the movie. We never really see Aaron beyond the initial war scene, but Lucario's flashbacks (which are very nicely placed and handled in my opinion) offer much insight into Aaron's character, and we see how Lucario is completely torn, unsure of what to believe. He feels betrayed, but he doesn't complain about it. You feel sorry for him, but he never throws a pity-party. He is one of the most complex characters ever created in the Pokémon series. And when he finally learns the truth behind Aaron's sacrifice to end the war, you can sense his pain. In the final scene, a miracle of time reveals Aaron's true intentions behind sealing Lucario, who doesn't undergo any sudden revelation as to the true nature of humans (Mewtwo, anyone?), because he has already matured beyond that. Rather, he learns the true meaning of sacrifice and loss, accepts the fact that he is out of place in the present time, and is able to let go of everything.
Additionally, although we can suspect all along that there was some reasoning beyond Aaron's sealing of Lucario, a very interesting aspect of human nature is discussed in that many people probably don't know what they would do if things truly came down to the wire in a life or death situation concerning themselves and their best friend. Lucario simply states that there is no way to tell what one would do--a very surprising and insightful statement.
One thing that I must comment on is that a critic of Pokémon 3 once stated that the movie failed because it had no evil character. I found this to be a rather outrageous and immature statement, as the gem of the Pokémon movies is that no one is ever truly evil, and the same holds to this one. The Regis--age-old guardians of the Origin Tree cannot be reasoned with or persuaded in any way, yet in the end, when Mew instructs the Tree to accept the presence of humans, they turn back, knowing that they have fulfilled their duty, but are no longer needed at that moment. And Mew himself is an interesting character--the irony is that his bringing Pikachu to the Origin Tree what was ultimately almost resulted in the Tree's, and his own, death. Upon realizing the true consequences of what he has done, he uses his power to bring back the human characters from the abyss of the Tree's immune system, yet despite the nobility of this action, the results are nearly catastrophic. Only Lucario's final sacrifice can save Mew, the Tree, the human characters, and the entire hidden ecosystem of ancient Pokémon that the Tree was sheltering.
Which brings up another point--this movie came dangerous close to falling into many, many clichés: the preserving of nature, the "humans are evil" syndrome, and several others. Each time, however, it made its point without falling in. It didn't become a movie about saving trees, it didn't rant on about the virtues of Pokémon friendship with a character who thought all humans were evil. Lucario was surprisingly acceptant about his own sacrifice, which shows that he had indeed accepted the loss of his master, and wished to die the same way. At the same time, there are moments when he questions his friendship with Aaron, but it is much less direct and more of an internal conflict. There was a large amount of care in the handling of the characters and the plotline, and I wish to bring attention to it. Even sideline characters, such as Brock, May and Max all have their moments, such as when Max offers Lucario some chocolate to calm him down after an argument. The pacing is admittedly a bit slow in the beginning because the storyline requires a large amount of exposition, but once the journey begins, it is improves, with explanations between scenes of chilling suspense. Even something as simple as the part in which the Pokémon play around in an old attic offers a nice break for a bit of whimsical fun--a scene in which fans will smiling in an "awwww..." sort of way, and non-fans will be gouging their eyes out.
Lastly, the plot itself ties up, but like many Pokémon movies, not everything is spelled out in black and white. There is a scene in the credits with Lucario and Aaron together, which suggests that although they both sacrificed themselves, their Wave energy that they were so adept at manipulating throughout the movie still lives on. As Lucario said: "I won't die--I'm returning to where Aaron is." This sacrifice is comparable to Latios's at the end of Pokémon 5, but unlike that movie, this time we truly feel for Lucario. If you were brought close to tears with Latios's death, you will be dragged beyond that with Lucario's. The part that really gets me is Aaron's statement about the meaning of life. (That may sound corny, but once you watch it, you'll see how beautiful his monologue really is.)
All in all, if you're a young fan, you'll love the new Pokémon and the battles. If you're an older fan, you'll love the characters and the lessons. If you're a tolerant non-fan, you'll respect its message and will be able to sit through it fairly easily. If you're a non-tolerant non-fan, you'll want to shoot yourself. I don't know why, but that's just the way things work.
(And as an added note, relating to the DVD and not the movie, it'll be really sice to see the re-dub of the Mirage Pokemon special. with more time to perfect their lines and get more in-character, I expect the new VA's will be better this time around.)"
Outstanding value, two movies for the price of one!
Porcupine | 09/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD set is a great buy. I'm glad I was able to get Master of Mirage Pokemon on DVD. I had wanted to see it again but didn't think I would be able to buy the DVD since I do not approve of the new voice-actors. But Master of Mirage Pokemon came "free" with Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, so I couldn't be happier.
Not only that, but Lucario and the Mystery of Mew is one of the best Pokemon movies ever! I was surprised, because the last two Pokemon movies have been among the worst ever, in my opinion. Jirachi Wishmaker was the worst movie by far, and Destiny Deoxys was nothing special either. I thought the great, classic, well-directed and well-done Pokemon movies of the past (my favorites are Pokemon Heroes, and the first Pokemon movie, but 4-Ever was also quite good) were done. But Lucario and the Mystery of Mew returns to the old formula that I enjoy so much. The viewers, once again, are treated to the defining sub-opening battle sequence involving Ash with the credits overlayed and the American theme music playing...one of my favorite parts of all the Pokemon movies (except Wishmaker which removed this sequence). The dubbing is fantastic as well, by the original voice actors, and with care put into it (unlike Wishmaker, which was done cheesily and in a hurry). This movie succeeded in rekindling my interest in Pokemon.
Lucario and the Mystery of Mew is also one of the longest-running Pokemon movies ever at 1 hour and 40 minutes, further increasing the value of this DVD set. Recommended to all Pokemon fans, even those who have not watched Pokemon in some time.
EDIT: I found out this is unfortunately a glitched disc. My copy of Lucario and the Mystery of Mew always skips once during the part of the opening theme song where Pikachu jumps into the air to do the final Thunder attack. A number of people have reported this and most discs are flawed at this spot. I also saw a report of someone getting 2 copies of Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon in their set instead of 1 copy of each show. Most likely low quality mass-production standards were used in printing this product, but I guess we can't complain since this is such an oustanding value buy."
Jacalyn Burnham | Elizabethtown, PA United States | 09/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie gets 5 stars because it's the best one yet and I love the fact that Mew is in it because Mew is one of my favorite pokemon. You get a free promo Mew card with the DVD, plus a mini comic book and you get another DVD too, which both the movies are good. Any pokemon fan would love this movie."
Cool. Best Pokemon Movie Eva.
Porcupine | 09/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The start was a tiny bit slow but the rest of the movie was great. The movie had Lucario a brand new Pokemon plus a old Pokemon (Mew) there were 3 other never before seen Pokemon. It had a great bonus feature. A Mew card, a comic and another free DVD of a TV special "The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon" This Is a great DVD. Movie 5/5 Value 5/5 Features 5/5 Best one eva!"
One of the best films yet!!!
R. Castaneda | CH USA | 09/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The pokemon movies just keep getting better and better. I just don't no why they stop puting the pokemon films in theaters in the usa. I think there wonderful movies and I think they desiver the right treatment just like in japan. But I guess people aren't into cartoons like when the little mermaid came out. Its just now people are into seeing computer animation movies instend of seeing hand drawn movies. I just wish they would bring back hand drawn movies back to the theaters. You no everyone still wishes they still make movies like they did with the little mermaid. But I guess most people are just into stupied movies that they been making lately that don't have the right touch how they did back then in the early 90s oh well thats what I think. But any way lets get back to the new pokemon film for me I though it was really good everything in the movie just went right on target. And its really cool that you get to see mew again. But anyways if your into the pokemon world and movies your forsure going to want this movie with the rest of the pokemon films. Well thanks reading my review who every reads it"