Movie Critics - The Panel: How The Mighty Have Fallen

By Lady Salamence and Layell. Art by Bummer.
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While we may have missed last issue, the panel is back in action to talk about the next movies in the line-up—The Rise of Darkrai, Giratina and the Sky Warrior, and last but not least, Arceus and the Jewel of Life, which are the rest of the Sinnoh movies.

Now, normally, here's where I'd tell you to not read these if you want to remain unspoiled about the movies and list off the four panelists, as well as what they'll be chatting about. Sadly, aside the first point, that's no longer true. At the beginning of this panel, we had a group of five. Eventually, jumpluff quit her contributions to the site, leaving the panel and putting us down to four. Recently, however, I've had to literally halve that number, removing Kadew and Jellicent from the panel for various personal and professional reasons. Now, only Layell and I remain, although more panelists may be added eventually.

Layell will be represented by Sneasel and will talk about the fights, while I will be represented by Salamence and discuss the various antagonists.

The Rise of Darkrai

Who would have thought that a film about a Pokémon that turns people to sleep could make for such a huge action film? After the requisite narration about what Pokémon is, we get the two gem titans in a face-off of epic proportions in the midst of an Unown storm. They first fire off Hyper Beams against one another, and the poor little Unown get wrecked in the process (that is what you get for bothering me while solving puzzles). Then, an hourglass on its side falls to the floor because symbolism. The introduction fight song is more of touring and eating cotton candy. Ash fights a Torterra and tries to Thunderbolt it because he has no experience with Ground-types at all. Dawn decides that she likes to lose immediately and faces Piplup against Empoleon with predictable results. Darkrai's entrance is in tandem with Dialga and Palkia going crazy because symbolism; he does a massive Dark Void and for once hits everything! While Ash chases after the dark entity, he is stopped by the scariest thing in any of these films: a ghost Bibarel swimming through buildings. I should lay off sniffing the Pokeblocks.

They then spend the next 20 minutes trying to explain why mythical Pokémon need to tear a town apart. Nope nope nope, not needed; just have Darkrai keep blasting everything until Palkia and Dialga come around. All we really needed to know was that Darkrai doesn't want Palkia to be in the town. Too bad the poor spirit isn't tough enough. Dialga realizes it's the other half of this film and that's when the real fun begins. Dialga wrecks everything. It's hilarious because nobody has any idea what to do, Ash can't act like the hero at all, and Combee run away in terror. This was going fine until the plot realized that the heroes needed to do something, so they pull off the Deus Ex Machina in the form of some machine that makes them stop fighting and I don't even know why.

Coming into this movie, I thought it'd be a good one for me. Darkrai is widely known as a evil legendary, right? No, apparently. Supposedly, Dialga and Palkia, the legendaries which keep the world as we know it in place, are the villains for this film. And naturally, it's only because they never should have met, or Palkia was hurt, or something. So let me rant a bit about the secondary bad guy, Baron.

No, I don't even remember his full name. I couldn't care to remember it. But he's a bad guy, through and through. No respect for people, holier-than-thou attitude, and can't see past his own nose. Sounds like me, circa three years ago. Also, he's stupid as anything—you would think one would realize your physical structure being changed to that of a fat slob (I'll spare you the "wait, there was no change!" joke).

Anyway, between Darkrai, the Time and Space legends, and Baron, we have yet another movie with a ton of pseudo-bad guys that are only acting like bad guys. Give me a break, Nintendo.

Giratina and the Sky Warrior

Once again, I thought Giratina would be the villian. Once again, I was proven wrong. Some random guy, who apparently used to be the apprentice of the person who saves Ash & Co from a (un)timely demise, decides that a world with low gravity is somehow perfect, and it must be preserved, no matter what.

Probably the only good thing about this battle is that there's a legitimate bad guy. While sporting a really terrible name, Zero is clearly a bad guy, without a doubt. Props for that, Nintendo.

I don't usually talk about them, but Team Rocket once again prove to be the most incompetent fools in existence. As soon as they are in any sort of peril, they fall hands over heels to Newton, becoming indentured servants in the hope Newton will take them back to the real world. Yet when Shaymin uses its power (that it doesn't even learn naturally, come on) they hold on for dear life to avoid being returned to the normal world through the portal.

Shaymin starts off really heroic here, hiding from a couple of weak bugs in the forest. Dialga decides to warp time and appear in this film as well, but Giratina has none of Dialga's cameos so it decides to take him into the Reverse World. This scene is a lot like Pokémon wrestling with how the two constrict each other. Shaymin does what it will do for most of this film: stand around and do very little, while making obnoxious noises. Already there are two random guys who somehow know everything about Giratina and we are talking about infinite time loops, all before the credits of course.

The next twenty minutes are escapades with the really obnoxious Shaymin. Luckily for all of us, Giratina has an obnoxious sensor, because the moment Shaymin's flowers grow, he abducts the flower runt. Giratina, now safe in knowing no other Ubers will ruin its villainy, takes its time to terrorize everyone in its drug-addled world. They even try to link the fighting here with that of the last film. I don't see that happening, really; this is the same film series that reminds everyone what Pokémon are in the first five minutes.

The main human villain this time, Zero, does some crazy stuff in the Reverse World by trying to release Giratina. We are, of course, supposed to believe all the magnet Pokémon are to overpower everyone, and that Zero's plane/prison for Giratina is supposed to actually become a threatening device for evil when it looks like a ship made out of child construction toys in the spread eagle pose. Even after his ship crashes, Zero gets another ship that looks exactly like a Giratina. It might look cool if it wasn't for the obvious CGI. By now we've really lost the whole "Pokémon fighting Pokémon" shtick, and the main reason everyone seems to be fighting is to ensure that a garden doesn't get trampled on.

I'm done here; I don't care about this plot, Giratina leaves happily, and more importantly, I don't have to hear from Shaymin anymore.

Arceus and the Jewel of Life

Remember in the last two films, where we fixed all the problems from Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina? Aren't we glad all of those problems got fixed? Because sorry—while this conflict needed to be a trilogy for no real reason, kids will still watch this film. This trio conflict apparently extends into an ancient flashback as Dan Green blasts Arceus out of a good voice actor. Seriously, Arceus; what is wrong with your voice, did you decide that because your VA is so horribly awful, no other Pokémon could ever have a competent and fitting voice in return?

After the briefest of Dialga/Giratina fights, some random chick decides to let Giratina know that this whole conflict was a misunderstanding! Well, now the film is over, of course, and in the length of a normal anime episode!

But no, Arceus has to not have any of this stuff. Humans betrayed him before and he wants to "BRING JUSTICE NYYYYYAAAAHHHH." So Dialga decides to make this another time travel plot, this time going back to the past and skipping all the big conflicts in the present.

Well, if this film is going to skip the main conflict, I don't see much of a point in looking it over.

So, we get Marcus this time. At first, we thought it was Arceus. Then Damos. But the real bad guy turned out to be Marcus. Abusing the power of about a hundred or so Pokémon, and the fact he knows Arceus's weakness, just to keep the Jewel of Life in his possession is pretty mean of him. Of course, he has a "reason"—keeping the land fertile. Still, though, trying to kill the God of Pokémon is a pretty bad thing in the first place. Couldn't you just move to, like, the Gracedia Garden?

I do wonder, however, why Damos was locked in a simple cell with a subpar guard. Damos had the power to speak to Pokémon, which was coincidentally the focal point of Marcus's plan. Seems like an oversight, which naturally caused him to lose out in the end. For shame.

Other than that, pretty standard movie—three or more bad guys, all cycling out when true motives are shown, Arceus, then Damos, and finally Marcus. Once again, the final bad guy had a semi-acceptable reason. Sure, there have been some exceptions, such as Mewtwo and Zero, but overall it's pretty standard. Come on, Nintendo.

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