When Ash, Pikachu, and their friends visit a desert city by the sea, they meet the Mythical Pokémon Hoopa, who has the ability to summon things-including people and Pokémon-through its ... See full summary »
Arceus, creator of the world, comes to pass judgement on humanity for the theft of the Jewel of Life, but Ash Ketchum and his friends are sent back in time to discover and possible reverse the events that led to Arceus' vendetta.
Our heroes must protect the Prince of the Sea, Manaphy, from the evil pirate Phantom, and return the young Pokémon to the Sea Temple with the help of the the People of the Water and Jackie the Pokémon Ranger.
An idyllic town is thrown into chaos when two powerful Pokémon, Dialga and Palkia, cross paths and battle, distorting the dimensions of time and space. The only hope comes from Darkrai, a shadowy Pokémon shunned by the townsfolk.
It is commonly agreed upon that the "Black & White!" and "XY" films are the worst in the Pokémon franchise. Although I only have seen "White - Victini and Zekrom" and "Black - Victini and Reshiram" so far, I can already feel the remainder of this retrospective hanging above my head like an outflow pipe of Damocles.
Thank God, then, that "Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice" is at 1h12m the shortest instalment in the series since "Latias and Latios". It may not be good; at least it's over quickly.
The story's focus is the Pokémon Keldeo, who wants to become a member of the elite group "Swords of Justice", but cannot enter yet because his horn isn't big enough. This may be a relatable problem for many boys, but that doesn't justify the set-up being almost 20 minutes long -- not so much a prologue as the film's entire first act.
No matter the size of his Sword of Justice, Keldeo deems himself ready to fight and challenges the legendary Pokémon Kyurem to prove it. As expected, Keldeo's horn can't get hard enough, and he is nearly killed in a classic case of stranger danger. Only barely does he manage to escape, thanks to the help of some friendly passers-by.
As it happens, these saviours are Ash Ketchum and his cardboard friends. You may remember them as being the protagonists of the "Pokémon" television series. They are but side-characters in this film though, here to give Keldeo a helping hand with his humble horn. Perhaps for the better. It is not like this cast has undergone any growth during the past twenty years. Keldeo at least has a haphazard but functional hero's journey to fulfil.
'Haphazard but functional' is an apt description of the film as a whole -- not so much an appreciation of the creators' effort, but rather relief that they didn't mess up as badly as before. Turns out it was a matter of 'less is more'. Decisions like reducing Team Rocket to a cameo appearance, or skipping Ash's obligatory tournament help make the plot feel less aimless.
Not that what's left is any good. "Kyurem" moves through its story without any joy or scenic charm. In earlier films, the production team would literally go out of their way to create an appealing backdrop from their story, taking inspiration from places like Venice, Barcelona, Athens and the Netherlands, but Roshan City is a cold and desolate place. I don't remember having seen a single inhabitant walking down its streets. The town is just there as the background for a quick fight scene before we can move on to the next uninspired location.
I guess I could mention that the plot is stupid, the pacing is off and the dialogue is terrible, but why bother? "Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice" is bearable. It is short and flimsy, but not offensive like most other films from this era. And besides, it has a message I can get behind. Always remember, kids: Size matters.
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