Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? – Review

Once again the Vue has become my place to watch anime movies. Considering how long it can take for anime films to come out on DVD it’s nice that these last few years I’ve been able to see some of them on the big screen the year they came out in Japan. Especially after 2014 where I had to delay my top 10 list because I knew I had to watch The Last first.

This film has a slow start but once it starts the What-If/Groundhog Day timeline changes that’s when I really started to enjoy it. A big part of what makes it work is the animation, with each change to the timeline something looks different in a way that I don’t think can work in live action. I’m aware this is a remake of a live action drama but from what I’ve read this specific detail is exclusive to this version. The music is another strength of the film with a great score, an insert song and the extremely catchy ending credits song Uchiagehanabi.

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Another part of this film’s charm is the romance. The scenes focusing on the two leads getting closer as the story progresses are just cute and when the film is at its best. Unfortunately the rest of the cast are very bland, Norimichi’s friends are your typical cliche high school anime friend group and outside of their discussion of what fireworks look like from the side half their dialogue is just them being perverted.

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If you like the look of this film from the trailer, music video and screenshots you’ll probably at least enjoy it for its animation, music and romance.

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Paddington 2 – Review

Every so often when watching films this year I’ll bump into a friend of mine who also has Odeon Limitless and does film reviews. The reason I bring this up in this review is this was the third time it’s happened where one of us has just finished watching the film the other is about to see. Also because what I’d say in my pre-review paragraph about my thoughts going into the film was already covered in my review of the first film.

Much like the first film this is a fun and charming film with a cast of talented and popular British actors. If you liked the first film you should enjoy this just as much. The comedy is just as funny as before

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The returning cast all do a great job as expected with many of the newcomers easily fitting into Paddington’s world like they’d always been there. The stand out human performance this time is Hugh Grant as the film’s antagonist Phoenix Buchanan, especially in the scenes where he’s on his own talking to mannequins wearing costumes of characters Buchanan has played in the past.

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And that’s pretty much all there is to say. Also as far as subplots about someone from the previous movie(s) being sent to prison go the one in this film is certainly better than the one in Despicable Me 3.

Paddington – Review

I kept hearing positive things about this film and with the sequel out today I finally got around to watching it. I did consider watching it earlier this year but liked the idea of watching them back to back more.

It’s a nice fun movie that captures the spirit of the character very well. There’s a lot of funny jokes including one about those scenes in movies where characters are driven through all the famous sights.

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Paddington himself is portrayed very well. The design has that right balance of looking realistic and like the classic illustrations. Ben Whishaw does a great job portraying his voice, it just fits the character in a way that’s hard to explain. The rest of the cast are also good with the stand out human performance probably being Peter Capaldi as Mr. Curry.

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Overall it’s a fun movie and I’m looking forward to watching the sequel later today. I should probably pre-order Ultra Moon and pick up the code for the shiny Silvally while I’m in town too.

Top 10 Pokémon Movies

This is a list I wanted to make for a while but wanted to wait until I’d seen the 20th movie before putting together. In preparation for this list I also rewatched movies 1 to 18 back to back and finally got around to seeing the first 5 movies subbed. It’s important to note that this list doesn’t count the movie length TV specials like Mewtwo Returns, The Legend of Thunder or Pokémon Origins. Now on to the list…

#10

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Victini and Zekrom/Reshiram (Victini and the Black Hero: Zekrom/White Hero: Reshiram)

While the games having two different versions in the norm this was the only time that format was applied to a movie. Out of the two versions my preference is the Zekrom version but it doesn’t really matter which version you choose as the differences are pretty minor. The battle between Zekrom and Reshiram is pretty neat and what pushed this above the Jirachi and Celebi movies.

#9

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Hoopa and the Clash of Ages (The Archdjinni of the Rings: Hoopa)

The reason this makes the list is because of the big battle of legendary Pokémon. The Rayquaza being shiny is a nice touch too as it is one of the coolest looking shiny legendaries. Yes this is just pure fan service but it does its job really well.

#8

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Pokémon Heroes: Latias & Latios (The Guardians of Altomare)

This was the last film from the original series and was a great film to go out on. The Venice inspired setting looks great and allowed for several entertaining scenes of characters traveling across the water roads and the music is some of the catchiest in all of the films (and said music is present in both the English and Japanese versions).

#7

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Rise of Darkrai (Dialga VS Palkia VS Darkrai)

The first and best part of the Sinnoh trilogy. The battle between Dialga and Palkia starts right away and looks great. The main strength of this movie is Darkrai and the way characters mistake it for the cause of destruction across the city. There’s also an amusing running gag centered around a character turning into his Lickilicky that is especially funny in Japanese where his name (Alberto) sounds a lot like Lickilicky’s (Berobelt, pronounced Beloberto).

#6

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Destiny Deoxys (Sky-Splitting Visitor: Deoxys)

Deoxys and Rayquaza are two of my favourite legendary Pokémon so a movie where they fight each other is obviously going to appeal to me. I really like the designs of LaRousse City and the new characters Ash & friends meet there.

#5

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The Power of One (Revelation-Lugia)

Getting into the top 5 now. Rewatching this one in Japanese I gained more appreciation for the legend the film centers around. This is also the film where Team Rocket have the most to do and while it’s happened a few times in the show it’s still cool to see Ash and Team Rocket team up, something that really should happen in another movie some time. The ocean setting also gives the film this grand scale, something it has in common with…

#4

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Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy)

Something this has over Power of One is an extra two generations of Pokémon, now the ocean doesn’t just look vast but full of a wide range of Pokémon. It’s also the longest out of all of the other movies and has the best bond with a cute mythical Pokémon storyline of the series. And of course being an Advanceshipper I’m naturally going to like this film thanks to several cute scenes of Ash and May including a scene of them swimming next to a school of Luvdisc.

#3

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Mewtwo Strikes Back

The first movie was naturally going to get a spot in this list due to nostalgia alone but it’s this high because when you watch it in Japanese without all the awkward dub mistakes (that I noticed even as a child) and rewrites (“Pokémon aren’t meant to fight, not like this”) it’s a much better movie. Mewtwo’s already great story is improved thanks to the extended origin story, a lot of the music is based on tracks from the show and Mew is just as prejudiced as Mewtwo in the final battle.

#2

J08617_01Spell of the Unown (Lord of the Unknown Tower)

This is a movie that gets better when watched as an adult due to the rather dark nature of the film’s premise, this time the antagonist isn’t a sinister or greedy villain but a lonely girl who just wants to be with her family again whose wishes are made real. The stakes are also more personal for Ash this time around, there’s that really awesome battle between Entei and Ash’s Charizard, Misty and Brock both get to battle, the visuals are stunning and even the dub is one of the ones more faithful to the original.

#1

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Lucario and the Mystery of Mew (Mew and the Wave Guiding Hero: Lucario)

This has been my favourite Pokémon movie ever since I first saw it. It’s the first film to bring Ash’s bond with Pikachu to the center of the narrative, has beautiful music, a fantasy setting that just suits Pokémon so well, the Regis, the most faithful of 4Kids’ dubs (which is good because it was the last one they did), my favourite lineup of Ash & friends and of course Lucario’s story. This isn’t just my favourite Pokémon movie, it’s one of my favourite movies in general.

And as a bonus here’s my ranking for all 20 movies

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It was a lot of fun watching all of these again. Even the bottom five are still enjoyable movies, they’re just not really best for repeat viewings or comparing to the other films. I have another rewatch marathon planned for next month, this one won’t have quite as many movies though.

Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! – Review

After deciding to go see this film I started rewatching all the other Pokémon movies. This way I’ll have seen all of them recently enough to properly rank them and make a top 10 list. Since I went to the screening that means I got the QR code for this movie’s Ash hat Pikachu to use when I get Pokémon Ultra Moon later this month along with a Pikachu card and the experience of seeing a Pokémon movie in the cinema for the first time since Mewtwo Strikes Back 17 years ago.

I liked it but when I post that top 10 Pokémon movies list this won’t be in it (I will include an image showing my rankings for all 20 movies though). The dub as I expected wasn’t good, there’s a lot of bad acting and considering nostalgia is a big selling point of this movie it just makes you miss the old 4Kids cast more, there’s also a moment near the end I expect only works in Japanese. As far as the story goes though it’s decent and while I know some fans were upset that Misty and Brock aren’t in this (though they do have a cameo in the credits along with all of Ash’s other companions except his Alola classmates) the new ones fit into the story better.

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Sorrel and Verity are likable characters, I wouldn’t mind seeing their counterparts from the main timeline show up at some point (especially since Verity is apparently Cynthia’s daughter). I do wish we’d gotten more time dedicated to them instead of the slight recreations of famous moments from the original series that just felt rushed. The best parts of this movie are when it did something new including the bizarre dream sequence where we see a world without Pokémon which turns out to be full of high school anime cliches. You just know that setting is going to inspire a whole bunch of new fanfics, and they’re all going to be centered around shipping (if someone makes an Advanceshipping one I’m reading it).

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It was nice seeing Ho-Oh finally get its own movie along with a moment I’ve always imagined happening if the show ever had an ending. Weirdly with this counting as the first Sun and Moon movie and the Switch game likely coming out next year it’s possible we might end up with only one movie starring the Alola characters, I hope it’s an Ultra Beast movie. Anyway I still have four more Pokémon movies to rewatch before my top 10 list is ready.

Perfect Blue – Review

The plan to watch this specific film on Halloween was something I decided earlier this year after watching the Super Eyepatch Wolf video Why Perfect Blue is Terrifying. Then when I found out it was also going to be playing at my local Vue on Halloween to celebrate its 20th anniversary I knew that was how I was going to see it.

It’s really good. What’s especially impressive is how many different ways to interpret the story and meanings there are. This is a film centered around confusion and the audience is often just as confused as Mima is in each scene.

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This confusion is portrayed perfectly by Satoshi Kon’s direction and the amazing animation from Madhouse. In the two films I’ve seen from Kon (the other being Paprika) one of the things I’ve been most impressed by are his scene transitions and uses of reflection.

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Getting to see an anime classic for the first time on the big screen was a unique experience. I’ve also noticed that since I got Odeon Limitless the Vue has mostly become the place I go to watch anime movies. There are two more anime screenings happening later this month I’m considering going to, both for new movies. I also should get around to watching Satoshi Kon’s other two films soon.

Goosebumps – Review

I honestly just added this film to the marathon because it popped into my head. I wasn’t really that into Goosebumps when I was younger, I remember watching some episodes of the show and I know we owned some of the books so it’s possible I might have read some but I don’t really have any attachment to the franchise, I barely even know that many of the creatures with Slappy being the only one in the film I remember.

It’s alright, about the level of quality I expected. The first 20 minutes or so are pretty boring but once the actual story starts and Jack Black joins the cast it becomes a lot more entertaining. The story itself is nothing new for action movies, especially ones with a high school setting but it’s decent enough and a huge improvement over the first 20 minutes of setup that dragged on longer than it needed.

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Jack Black is the reason to even bother with this movie. His performances as R. L. Stine and Slappy are funny and make their characters stand out more than the teenage characters who at their best are just average.

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Well it’s Halloween now and there’s one more film to watch. What do I have planned for the final film in this marathon? Well for this last film I’m actually going to the cinema…