Pokemon Movie Ranking Thread

Karxrida

Fated
is a Community Contributor
Permission granted by TheMantyke

For the past few months on #orangeislands, we’ve been watching Pokémon movies on Thursday nights @10 PM EST. Recently we finished going through all of the Pokémon movies and started watching anime episodes, so I think we should try ranking all the Pokémon movies (and the 2 movie-length anime specials, Mewtwo Returns and Mastermind of the Mirage Pokémon which will probably be ranked Low :P). I’ve come up with a 3-rank system with a list of “elements” which should be noted when ranking. The ranking system and ranking elements may change if someone comes up with a better system, better definitions, or new rankings/elements.


Ranking Elements

Plot – How good was the plot? Was there a clear progression of events? How clichéd was it?

Action – How enjoyable was the action? Was it clear what was going on in any given action scene? Was there too much or too little?

Main Cast Involvement aka “Ash Factor” – Do Ash & Friends contribute to the plot in any meaningful way? Could the plot have functioned without them?

Characters – How did the original characters contribute? Were they likeable? Did they contribute to the plot in any meaningful way?

Antagonist – How enjoyable was the antagonist? Did their plans and motivation make sense? Did they have any notable character traits outside of being the antagonist?

Character Intelligence – How intelligent are the characters’ actions? Do they do anything blatantly stupid, and how often? Are there any consequences to their stupid actions? Do they make intelligent decisions, and how often?

Visual Aesthetic* – How did the movie look? Did the look fit whatever tone the movie was trying to set? Was there any CGI? If so, was it used correctly (i.e. the Unown in 3) and how noticeable was it?

Message* – Did the movie have any message or moral to teach? If so, how well was it conveyed? Is it a “good” message (read: not cliché/friendship-based)? Was it shoehorned in towards the end?

*You may ignore these when posting rankings, as they do not have enough influence to change a ranking and are only here for the sake of completion.

If you disagree with any of the ratings, post your nomination while keeping the Elements in mind. If you support any of the preliminary rankings, post your reason as to why that movie should stay there.

PLEASE BE AS OBJECTIVE AS POSSIBLE WHEN RANKING


Preliminary Movie Rankings

S
  • Pokémon 3
A

B

C

D


F
  • Pokémon: Mastermind of the Mirage Pokémon
Unranked

· Pokémon: The First Movie

· Pokémon 2000

· Pokémon 4Ever

· Pokémon Heroes

· Pokémon: Jirachi Wishmaker

· Pokémon Destiny Deoxys

· Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew

· Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea

· Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai

· Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior

· Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life

· Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions

· Pokémon the Movie: Black/White – Victini and Reshiram/Zekrom

· Pokémon: Kyurem VS. The Sword of Justice

· Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened

· Pokémon Mewtwo Returns

 
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TheMantyke

Sentient Movepool Trivia
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Wait, I don't really see anything wrong with this thread to the point of shutting it, but when did I give you an approval for this, lol
 

Karxrida

Fated
is a Community Contributor
Wait, I don't really see anything wrong with this thread to the point of shutting it, but when did I give you an approval for this, lol
On IRC last-ish week. It took me a while because a.) I procrastinate a lot and b.) It took me a while to write up because I wanted it to be perfect.
 

Age of Kings

of the Ash Legion
is a Forum Moderator Alumnus
I wrote a comprehensive post reviewing each film up to the Keldeo one that spanned 14 pages on Microsoft Word a couple of years ago. (Yes I have far too much time.) I have yet to see Keldeo because castrating Kyurem and throwing in the Swords of Justice were too fucking offensive for me to bear from a lore standpoint. I will copy-paste one part that might be of interest to people, and that's dividing the movies up in a few main archetypes (with one added for humor):

For those of you who have not seen all of the films, you need not worry to understand my reviews. Every Pokemon film follows a basic formula: a beginning exposition introducing the viewer to the main plot of the film, introducing the viewer to Ash and his friends, Ash making friends with or at least forming a connection with some legendary Pokemon, Ash saving the day in some way. The last two steps can be changed in order depending on the film.

The films vary in their execution of this basic formula. There are three main archetypes of Pokemon films, some films managing to fit into multiple themes:
  1. apocalyptic stories; the world is in danger and it is up to Satoshi/Ash to save it, with a legendary Pokemon as the key. examples: Mewtwo, Lugia, Lucario, Darkrai, Arceus
  2. helping a cute legendary Pokemon purported to be of great power. Satoshi/Ash and the Pokemon must overcome great adversity, while the cute Pokemon uses their untapped power to save the day. In the video games, these are usually extremely rare event Pokemon unavailable outside of their events. examples: Celebi, Jirachi, Manaphy, Shaymin, Victini
  3. some asshole is trying to take advantage of a legendary Pokemon for his or her own selfish use. When they do, great disaster befalls them and it is up to Satoshi/Ash to correct this. examples: all films listed in archetype #2, Lugia, Latis, Zoroark. Arceus is debatable.
  4. Outliers that do not fit any of the above themes: Entei, Deoxys, Genesect. Neither film has a main villain, as all characters have some justification for their actions. The "danger" really isn't great enough to be part of archetype #1.
  5. Annoying assholes on computers (or computers themselves) who provide plot exposition. Not really a central part of the plot, but I'm throwing this in there because it seems to happen a lot. Desktop computers/talking computers: Lugia, Entei, Shaymin. Laptops: Deoxys, Darkrai. Saiyan eyepieces or something to that effect: Lucario, Shaymin.
My reviews of course are my own personal taste but I do use similar criteria as you did. I came from a standpoint of how much I was entertained, the quality of the writing for a kid's film, and how much I cared for the characters involved (which comes with a bias of how much I like the Pokemon lol).

My own personal rankings are: (note: I am biased towards films based on Pokemon I like)
S-tier: Entei
A-tier: Mewtwo, D/P trilogy
B-tier: Deoxys, Genesect (fuck you all, I enjoyed this one)
C-tier: Lugia, Lucario, Victini
D-tier: Jirachi, Latis, Zoroark
F-tier: Manaphy, Celebi

I'm not going to post my full 14 page diatribe, but since I'm the only person in the fandom who doesn't seem head over heels for Lucario, here's my review of it:

Despite many fans considering this to be the best Pokemon movie ever made, I am not the biggest fan of this film. Part of it is my own bias.

Seeing Pokemon try attempt a story with more traditional fantasy elements is certainly interesting. I consider Pokemon to have a modern fantasy setting. There's Pokemon and "magic", but also cars, computers, and other anemities of the modern world. The battle sequence at the beginning of the film piqued my curiosity as it was one of the first glimpses we had of what the past of the Pokemon world looked like when there wasn't technology to subdue them. Sure, there's criminal organizations, but the idea of war in the Pokemon world and its catastrophic consequences has been hinted at, but never shown prior or since. But what it all boils down to is that the writing isn't much better than the other Pokemon films. Again, the franchise being geared for children rears its ugly head, as it's a shame those fascinating concepts can't be explored further. I stopped watching the anime because of the shitty writing, around the same time I started to grow out of Saturday morning cartoons. The story may be good, but that means more dialogue and less time spent on the action scenes I hold dear. I don't watch anime besides the yearly Pokemon film, but the reason I suspect this film is fairly popular inside and possibly outside the fandom is that its structure is very similar to most traditional story-based anime. (This is making the assumption that nearly all of the people who watch the Pokemon anime and are over 12 years old are into other anime, which I have found to be overwhelmingly true from internet communities.) The Pokemon anime and films are trying to sell you the rest of the franchise, but this film put a little more emphasis on telling a story rather than showing off that leads to that end goal. I personally think it doesn't do that well. I watched but ultimately wasn't very interested.
This was written two years ago and the concept of war in the Pokemon world has indeed been explored further in XY. I find it far more interesting than Lucario.
 
Yeah, Genesect wasn't THAT bad. (Although I admit I partially think that because I'm totally furry for Mewtwoette. :p Don't judge me, I always thought she was sexy, so I was thrilled when I found out there was a canon female.)

Victini, though... Ugh. It was gimmicky on the outside, painful on the inside. It was literally paying for the same movie twice with some costume swaps.

I didn't really mind Deoxys, although my memory of it's a bit foggy.

Mewtwo Strikes Back was pretty good, a classic. But the Nostalgia Critic, biased though he may be, did bring up SOME valid points during his, er... "review". Mew didn't really do anything except look pretty, and the whole memory wiping thing was a copout, for some.

Mirage was just awful. I was hoping to forget about that one.

Jirachi was just... Confusing. I couldn't follow it.

Any I haven't listed, I haven't seen.
 

Age of Kings

of the Ash Legion
is a Forum Moderator Alumnus
Uh...I'm not a furry but I also thought fem Mewtwo was awesome. Both dub and original chose excellent voices for her and I liked her as a character. Unfortunately there was a ton of people that didn't because nostalgia glasses but as the saying goes, "nostalgia glasses blinds the eyes". I'm glad I'm not the only one who liked it.

I never saw Nostalgia Critic's review because he openly admits he never got into Pokemon and he reviews the dub. Both of these set the stage for an absurdly unfair review imo. Fuck, South Park many years ago considered Pokemon a dumb toy fad but today it is the second biggest game franchise of all time after Mario (also I have more interest in collecting Pokemon plushes and figurines at 21 than I did at 6). However, as a fan who has seen both versions, the main problem is that Mewtwo Strikes Back is an excellent movie until it gets to Ash, then it all falls apart. Mewtwo's origin and his motivations are a wonderful story. But after Ash enters the picture, the story writes for him, rather than a character study. For instance, the story needs Ash to get on the island so he can do his Ash-y stuff so Mewtwo invents a "making a clone army" deal (why he didn't just use the Fearow and Dragonite rather than a goddamn Squirtle and Meowth I have no idea. why did he choose Ash based on that particular battle? etc etc.) However, this would be hypocritical of Mewtwo as he would be creating them to serve as his pawns....the same reason he's pissed off about being used and not receiving any respect as a sentient being. I know another movie about making a clone army to fight the enemy and it did not end well. I need to stop myself from rambling further but the point is that there is a missed opportunity for a character study and to talk about the ethics of cloning because kids suck.
 
Yeah, I was a bit reluctant to watch the NC review because of that, but like I said, he does bring up some valid points. At least it gives a fandom-outsider's perspective. (Doesn't stop it from being absolutely painful, though.)

I never watched any of the non-dubbed versions. You CAN judge me on this, but it just feels weird hearing the characters with the "wrong" voices. (This is the same with any anime. I watch what voices grew up with. Dragon Ball Z has to be English, because that's what it aired as and Sean Schemmel is an awesome Goku. I can't bear the (literal) old lady who does his Japanese voice. Naruto and Bleach, I watch the Japanese versions because I was introduced to those series through the fan game Super Smash Flash 2, so the ENGLISH voices sound wrong to me. So even though Dub Ash is really horrible, Sub Ash just feels... wrong.)
 

Age of Kings

of the Ash Legion
is a Forum Moderator Alumnus
I find Veronica Taylor and Rica Matsumoto are on equal footing. I don't like Sarah Natochenny though.

I am not judging anyone for preferring dub over sub. The point I want to make is that in the early days, the anime was edited heavily. In the first movie's case, it was edited to the point where the two films are very different. The garbage about "fighting is bad" is not present in the original, no Backstreet Boys in what was supposed to be an emotionally invested scene, and so much more. Script rewrites, the cutting of a large segment that contained all sorts of essential character development, and different musical score are very valid reasons to say that reviewing the dub is not fair regardless of which version you prefer. It's like the difference between Warriors of the Wind and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Reviewing Warriors of the Wind is not reviewing Nausicaa.
 
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In that case, I'm going to have to rewatch it sometime... if I can find a subbed version that at least tries to localize it. (People calling Ash "Satoshi" is a serious pet peeve of mine.)

I wonder how Diancie's movie will rank... the main series anime seems to be finally getting the hang of itself from what I've heard, so it'll either rise high to prominence or crash badly. Again. (Although, honestly, in my opinion, Diancie herself just screams "I only exist to sell movie tickets!" if you ask me. Although really, that's been the case every gen, this is just the first time I've actually noticed it :p)
 

Karxrida

Fated
is a Community Contributor
Congratulations! You guy were SOMEHOW able to derail the thread before it reached the 2nd page! Good job! A Winner is You!
 
I was trying to get things back on track with the Diancie thing. Movies focused on the "cute" Event legends tend to rank lowly because said legends are designed to draw in the younger audiences, nothing else. It wasn't random commentary, it was what I saw as a noticeable pattern.
 

Karxrida

Fated
is a Community Contributor
I've removed the preliminary rankings so that they don't influence people's ranks indirectly and so that people actually have a reason to post. I left in 2 movies that I'll elaborate on later, since I'm in class right now and shouldn't be doing this X_X
 
Pokemon Heroes (5) was ok with the Lati@s twins. Ash nearly dies every movie so it adds more for the ending when they don't bring anyone back after they're gone. Also Latias as the cute distraction works better when she comes with her overly protective brother unlike Mew and Celebi who just goof off for half the movie, the two don't even need telepathy to have character. I'll agree the part with Kabutops and Aerodactyle ruling the city doesn't make sense but I still feel this should be somewhere in the upper half.
 
I'll use the criteria given for Lucario and the Mystery of Mew:

Plot
– How good was the plot? Was there a clear progression of events? How clichéd was it?
The plot was half-way decent, with events clearly progressing, but the progress made wasn't clear. It did include Deus ex Machina, with multiple problems being solved suddenly from an unforeseeable character (Mew rescuing everyone who was swallowed by the blob things in the Tree of Life, then Mew suddenly telling Lucario that the tree could be saved if Lucario did one simple thing).
8/10

Action – How enjoyable was the action? Was it clear what was going on in any given action scene? Was there too much or too little?
There wasn't much action to enjoy, but the action there was, in my opinion, was good.
5/10, for little amounts of action.

Main Cast Involvement aka “Ash Factor” – Do Ash & Friends contribute to the plot in any meaningful way? Could the plot have functioned without them?
Ash and friends do almost nothing, and everything would have gone more smoothly without their existence.
10/10, for an ability to ignore Ash

Characters – How did the original characters contribute? Were they likeable? Did they contribute to the plot in any meaningful way?
The original characters, other than Lucario and Mew, did not do much. Lucario and Mew drove the plot, with Sir Aron providing some background.
7/10

Antagonist – How enjoyable was the antagonist? Did their plans and motivation make sense? Did they have any notable character traits outside of being the antagonist?
There was no antagonist, so I shall ignore this section.

Character Intelligence – How intelligent are the characters’ actions? Do they do anything blatantly stupid, and how often? Are there any consequences to their stupid actions? Do they make intelligent decisions, and how often?
The characters are of decent intelligence. Ash wins the tournament that causes him to be upset by his inability to have fun. The characters continue exploring the Tree of Life, even though it is a death trap to all humans. They are good the rest of the time, though
7/10 due to decent intelligence.

Overall, this rates as 47/60. That would put it at C Rank (C+ if we split it that way). I think everyone thought it was so good due to Lucario's popularity, although it would be a B at least if other factors like that were accounted for.
 

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