Being an avid Pokémon fan, I’ve always loved watching the movies as much as I love playing the games. I’ve grown up watching the movies and here’s my list of personal favorites (it’s an opinion based off random moods and emotions and attachment to characters, it is in no way a definitive ranking as I am not qualified to do that. Also the movies that I dislike may not actually be bad, though some are). It seems appropriate to finally publish this list (after writing it for so long) given the new movie re-mastery of the first episode (season?). I didn’t have any particular thoughts prior to making this list, I knew whether I liked the movie or not but I’ve never ranked them before. So let’s start:
18. Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unknown
I absolutely hated this movie, earning it it’s spot of dead last. Why did I hate this movie? Simply because of the annoying rich spoilt brat. She kidnapped Ash’s mom, acted like a prissy priss, beat up the team’s Pokémon, and all for what? Of course I sympathize with the fact that she lost her mom and suddenly lost her dad but that is no excuse for the way she behaved and the fact that she was never reprimanded and is pretty much unapologetic. Delia should have gotten mad at her, that girl almost killed her son.
It’s just one of those movies where I get mad because I don’t think the person got what they deserved (and she deserved a spanking!) I really wanted to slap half the characters in this movie and I don’t think I can ever watch it again so it’s at no. 18.
Now choosing a movie became more difficult because other than The Spell of the Unknown, I’ve never particularly hated a Pokémon movie. I usually rank them in tiers from love to hate, so I had to get super critical when assigning numbers. Most of them within a five number radius would probably belong to the same tier. I’d also like to point out that though I’ve watched all these movies, some more than others, it’s the ones that I’ve watched long ago that stick out more clearly in my mind. While I’m writing this, I’m trying to remember what the plot of the movie even was.
TIER III | THE BAD
17. Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice
First off, there wasn’t much of a plot or conflict for that matter, Keldeo gets blasted off and just returns to where he came from. Secondly, I felt bad for Kyurem. They didn’t even attempt to make him a bad guy, he was just a guy Keldeo wanted to fight to join the deer looking things’ trio and make it a quartet. There was no substance to the story and it was all basically filler. Ash and co. didn’t even need to be in this movie.
In the end I was really hoping Keldeo would lose (though of course he didn’t). If anything, Keldeo was picking a fight with someone who didn’t want to fight him, and then angered him and then got his friends and later Ash and co. in loads of trouble. It isn’t even stated why Keldeo had to fight Kyurem (what did Kyurem even do?), making the whole movie make no sense and have no goal and no sense of fulfillment in the end; earning it this spot in comparison the the rest from it’s tier.
16. Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
I don’t even remember half of what happens in this movie. How did Ash and co. even find Diancie? Where was Diancie going? Why was that crystal breaking (a little Lucario-ish anyone?) The plot was filled with completely undeveloped random people with no background and seemed to be an amalgamation of different plot points in different Pokémon movies (executed unsuccessfully).
15. Genesect and the Legend Awakened
Another movie that I found particularly lacking plot-wise. It seemed to follow the first movie’s motivations and if that wasn’t obvious enough, they went and threw in a Mewtwo. There is no particular villain or added secondary characters, and the movie lacks any sense of grandeur (excluding all the wrecked buildings).
14. Hoopa and the Clash of Ages
One of the director’s child must have been having a temper tantrum when they made this because that’s what Hoopa comes across as: a whiny child. I’m starting to sense the trend that I don’t particularly care for the later movies, and I don’t. Hoopa and the Clash of Ages promised a lot but failed to deliver, except to prove that Ash beyond a doubt has some strange form of amnesia. The movie did not build upon Hoopa’s conflicting identities and sense of self and his struggle to belong. Throwing a bunch of legendaries into a battle does not mean that the movie will be good. It’s a failed opportunity if anything. Alley-alley oopa ring or whatever gets annoying if it’s said more than once, and god, Hoopa did not stop saying it. Before. the movies would not only develop character, but also backgrounds, motivations, and the setting of the city, however nowadays they’ve seemed to drop that. Hoopa and the Clash of Ages does tick a few boxes but once again comes across as a copy of another movie (the electricity supply trick in the Darkrai movie and the 4 elements thing here…).
13. Zoroark—Master of Illusions
I don’t remember this being a particularly bad movie, then again, I don’t remember the movie at all. That plays a part in the ranking system. If I can remember a movie I watched ten years ago better than a movie I watched five years ago, the latter must not have been very memorable. I don’t remember anything else to comment on it much more. but once again:
TIER II and a I/II : Intermediary
12. Black—Victini and Reshiram and White—Victini and Zekrom
It’s been 5 years since this movie came out? I feel old.
This is the only movie in this tier that I did not dislike. Victini was such a cute sweetheart! One of the more likeable legendaries out of all in this tier. However, I could not place it in the next tier because those movies are much better than this one. I think it was a cool idea to have two different movies, but it really didn’t make much of a difference. The villain was kind of stupid, the beginning is like the Lucario movie, and what happens to Victini is like what happens to Jirachi, but overall, not a bad movie.
11. Arceus and the Jewel of Life
Like the Victini it was a pretty good movie, but not as good as the others (maybe I’ll make a halfway tier).
Overall, a nice and strong plot, tying the two previous movies together. A proper villain, proper motive, proper revenge, proper scapegoat, Ash-mankey action, cute Pokémon interplay, a properly constructed scenario, adding value to history of the world of Pokémon? TICK! But *eyebrows* and Arceus’s voice threw me off. Once again, a good movie, but not as good as the others.
TIER II | THE GOOD
10. Pokémon 4EVER – Celebi: Voice of the Forest
The only movie my brother and I did not have on DVD (or videotape) hence it was never re-watched and does not hold a dear place in my heart. Also in a movie dealing with the time, the Professor Oak thing is a bit silly (really weird more like – like how you can’t imagine your grandparent or even parents as actually having been a normal child like you), but good job on the strange Pokéballs.
9. Giratina and the Sky Warrior
This list is taking forever… wait… I should have installed it in parts… wow…
Not sure, but was Shaymin the first Legendary (other than Mewtwo who was a super-charged Psychic type) to have telepathic capabilities? Then it just became stupid every time Ash was amazed by a talking Pokémon (especially considering Meowth).
Anyway, The Rise of Darkrai was a tough act to follow, but I really loved the almost throwback feel to the 2nd and 4th movies. But favourite part of the movie was definitely that lady’s grandma’s(?) 100th(?) birthday. Cool stuff. I feel that it’s easier to talk about stuff I don’t like and harder to explain stuff I like… hehe.
8. Pokémon : The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back
The title always confused me… it made it sound like a sequel. He already struck back at the start of the movie, the title is too confusing. His strikes seem misguided.
This movie is here for only 4 reasons:
2) My brother
4) And this:
TIER I | THE AMAZING
This is where it gets hard to choose.
Yes, I know I have a lot on my amazing list, but I love these movies too much to call them good. Basically all of them can be mixed around, so I’m not deciding rankings for the sake of the list, I can’t, but they are general favourites.
This movie holds a special place in my heart because it was the first movie that I owned and didn’t have to share with my brother. It was also a transitioning period from VHS tapes to DVD that I don’t remember very well. I don’t even remember how I got this movie. I know people view the blue-haired kid as kind of useless, but the story just made sense to me, and the wide cast of supporting characters were some of the best (wide casts not individuals) from all movies. Destiny Deoxys takes you from the beautiful aurora filled sky (where Rayquaza acts like a cat for some reason) to the technologically filled city of something where people are screwed when the power goes out. But that being said, that little green light should shine in all of us. It seemed like one of the more real movies and showed us that even in the Pokémon world, not everyone has to like Pokémon (though they did a switcheroo in the end).
Jirachi Wish Maker
MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKEEEEEEEEEEE a wish~
It’s up to you!
Find the strength inside, and watch your dreams come true!
You don’t need a shooting sta~ar
the magic’s right there in your heart!
Close your eyes, believe, and make wish!
The only negative to this movie was that Max was annoying as hell. From teaching kids that it’s not good to steal, to having one of the best openings, villain (with an actual motive, backstory, and motivation), and Pokémon torture sequence.(not that this is a good thing). It was an amazing plot from start to end, and it was smart to confine it to the festival and comet from the get-go. But, I guess we’ll never know what May wished for…
Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
After a flashback sequence where are introduced to Sir Aaron, Ash and gang end up in Cameran Palace where Pikachu and Meowth get Mew-napped. It’s like Pokémon movies go out of their way to make you cry. After the “Tree of Life” (I think it’s called) starts decaying because of Kidd in a fashion very similar to the human body, the gang must find a way to prevent the Tree from dying.
The movie gets a bit farfetch’d with Ash randomly harnessing an aura that is never to be seen again (as if Ash’s parentage was shrouded in enough mystery, they decided to throw in an extra detail), but overall the movie maintains a great flow of story and nothing seems pointless. The narratological technique employed to deepen the impact of Lucario’s realization was imo pretty flawless. But once again… Pokémon wars? These movies create more questions than they answer. ALSO, they show us Butler and Diane (I had to google these names, I can’t remember everything) and Sir Aaron and Lucario eating chocolate :'(.
The Rise of Darkrai
I really don’t know what to say, and I don’t want to summarize the plot. All I can say is… watch the movie.
The video doesn’t match for copyright reasons, but listen to that glorious music.
This does not make it into the next list simply because Darkrai doesn’t die. It marks the point at which Pokémon movies (save Giratina and the Sky warrior) began their downward trend.
SECRET TIER : UBERS
Of course there are some movies that are just too amazing to be simply amazing.
3. Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
One of the more visually appealing movies. I watched the behind the scenes where the crew travelled to… I can’t remember where, but it served as the inspiration for the gorgeous seascapes scattered in this movie. The Marina Group seemed liked actual people who have lives of their own (before and during the movie) and the introduction of the People of the Water and Samiya only adds the Pokémon’s unquestionably dense lore.
It succeeds in making the Pokémon world more diverse, and actually giving the adults some representation. Jack Walker:
I’m not sure if this movie gave me the final push to play the Pokémon Ranger games, or if I already played Shadows of Almia before this. But either way, I love the Pokémon Ranger franchise, especially Shadows of Almia. The opening sequence was so cool I hope they introduce the International Police (with Looker) in future movies. And the crew made a point of making sure that even the supporting characters had some development. I loved when Jack Walker told Ash & gang that they couldn’t come any further (one of the only responsible adults ever) but had to take them along anyway. OOH! I need to do a review on all Pokémon Ranger games. Time to play Shadows of Almia again ❤ There are so many historical moments of different past kingdoms and tribes in the movies that there should be a movie on that (of all of them ever mentioned).
The development and tension in the movie was brilliant, and I even tried holding my breath as long as Ash tried to replace the jewels in the Crown (there is no way he held his breath for that long). I know I haven’t mentioned anything about the plot or May or Manaphy, but, this movie was brilliant, and that’s all I wanna say.
2. Pokémon : The Movie 2000 – The Power of One
One of the *naughtier* Pokémon movies (Oak and Delia sitting on a tree, doing things Ash simply cannot see). To paraphrase:
Melody: Is he your boyfriend?
Misty: [blushes] WHAT? NO!
Melody: Well he’s a boy, isn’t he your friend?
All the little kids: OOoooooooH!
This movie has some of the best lines in the franchise, the best music, the best story, the best Team Rocket moments. It is too beautiful for words. Just listen to Lugia’s song, do it.
This movie tackled moderns problems (*koff koff* drastic weather change) even before it was a “thing.” If only all the animals of the world could march to the source of the problem (*hack hack* humans), and stop them (*weeze* stop them).
Let us hope it doesn’t come to that, because then, the world will really turn to ash.
1. Pokémon Heroes : Latios and Latias
If simply thinking about a movie nearly 15 years after you first watched it makes you cry… it was and is an amazing movie.
I was just a kid when I watched this movie. It was the first thing that very truly introduced me to the concept of death and I was able to understand the gravity of it’s finality. There are no what-ifs that could have led to a happier ending. The creators fool you, and when everything seems all right, it gets screwed up so bad, you just feel angry and sad.
The only thing I didn’t understand was where the other Latios came from. But being a younger sister and seeing (spoiler) Latios die while protecting Latias (spoiler), I cannot imagine losing my brother. I cannot put how truly human this movie is into words (I feel like I said this before), but people are selfish, and they hurt others out of their own selfishness.
Thus ends my list, with my favorite Pokémon movie of all time.
[Mewtwo Returns and that Mechanical Magearna Movie not included for ~ reasons]