Just dare to be mildly ironic or slightly critical of this new film, or indeed anything in the Pokémon universe, and children everywhere will be dashing off the most horrid emails to you or, if they see you on the bus, place chewing gum on your seat before you sit down. Yet, even taking those nightmares into account, it has to be said that what "Pokémon 2000" badly needs is a screenplay to match the surrealism of its characters. These strange-looking creatures, united by their reassuring roundness, deserve more than standard issue action scenes and bland American dialogue. In addition, the film either speeds by at a rate of knots or grinds to a halt.
A few set-pieces, though, do stand out: weird, almost entirely spherical fish swimming in the water, a boat crashing down hundreds of steps, and a jagged 'chicken' lit up by golden electric energy are certainly transfixing.
And the six new Pokémon, introduced in both the main feature and the short which precedes it ("Pikachu's Rescue Adventure"), are well up to expected oddball standard: they include Lugia, a legendary Pokémon rumoured to lurk beneath the ocean's surface; Hoothoot, an owl-like Pokémon who lives in the trees; and Ladyba, a ladybird Pokémon with a swarm of friends. They are all involved, in their own eccentric ways, with Ash as he fights to restore balance to the world by fighting off a baddie who has toyed with the weather and shown a fondness for collecting Pokémon.
Read a review of "Pokémon: The First Movie".