Although Pokémon: The First Movie exists mainly for the purpose of brand promotion, you have to admit- it deals with some really dark and serious issues. In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes the first Pokemon movie much more than a mere children’s cartoon.
LIFE AND IDENTITY: The foundation of the movie is Mewtwo struggling to find his place in the world. He’s conflicted because he wishes he could be greater than humans, but at the same time, he’s a Pokemon. “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” is his constant question. It is this conflict that drives him to kill and try to destroy humankind completely. However, at the end, Mewtwo understands that life is what you make of it, not what you are born into.
DIFFERENCES: Mewtwo pits his clones against the “real” Pokemon in an attempt to prove his superiority. But in the end, as Meowth points out, maybe it’s best to focus on our similarities rather than our differences. This theme also alludes to more serious issues like racism and discrimination, both of which are deftly handled in the movie. To quote none other than Meowth:
You're right, we do have a lot in common. The same earth, the same air, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what's the same... ...instead of always looking at what's different, who knows?
VIOLENCE: A major theme in the movie is the notion that violence is wrong. Now before you point out that this message totally contradicts the entire core Pokémon mechanic, consider this. When Mewtwo’s clones clash with the original Pokémon, we see something very different from normal Pokémon battles- they fight to the kill. Not at all like the tame, healthy Pokémon battles we’re used to. The message of non-violence and humanity is
LOVE: It was nothing but love that resurrected Ash after he was turned to stone. The Pokémon’s tears were more than just powers, it was the love of Pokémon for humans. What’s more powerful? In the end, Mewtwo understands that there’s so much more to life than just fighting over superiority- it’s about loving and being loved, caring for one another and not letting differences get in the way.
Pokémon: The First Movie does a great job of instilling values to young children, and reminds us older viewers of those messages. Above all, it does so without force, and the film’s messages shine brightly. Sure, it’s not the finest animated movie out there, but for what it’s worth, it’s very good. It’s targeted towards kids, but still has a certain maturity and wisdom.
Watch out for the upcoming episode of the Animation Addicts Podcast with The Rotoscopers- and guest host- yours truly- this weekend! We’re discussing The First Movie- and all things Pokémon!
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