Pokémon: The First Movie
|Pokémon: The First Movie|
Japanese film poster
|Hepburn||Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā: Myūtsū no Gyakushū|
|Literally||Pocket Monsters the Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back!|
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Written by||Takeshi Shudō|
|Narrated by||Unshō Ishizuka|
|Music by||Shinji Miyazaki|
|Distributed by||Toho (Japan) Warner Bros. (USA)|
(US $30 million)
|Box office||$163.6 million|
Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, commonly referred to as Pokémon: The First Movie, originally released as Pocket Monsters the Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back! (劇場版ポケットモンスター ミュウツーの逆襲 Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā: Myūtsū no Gyakushū), is a 1998 Japanese anime film directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, the chief director of the Pokémon television series. It is the first theatrical release in the Pokémon franchise.
The film primarily consists of three segments: Pikachu's Vacation, a 21-minute feature focusing on the series mascot Pikachu; Origin of Mewtwo, a 10-minute featurette that functions as a prologue to the main feature; and Mewtwo Strikes Back, the main 75 minute film feature. The featurette was added on for later releases and eventually dubbed as a special feature in the U.S. release of the TV special (that was released as a direct-to-video follow-up film sequel in the U.S.A.) Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns as The Uncut Story of Mewtwo's Origin.
Although Pokémon was extremely popular when the film was released, the English-language version received negative reviews from film critics. Despite the reviews, it was a box office success worldwide, topping the box office charts in its opening weekend, and eventually grossing US$163.6 million worldwide.
In an animated short called "Pikachu's Vacation", the Pokémon of Ash Ketchum, Misty, and Brock are sent to spend a day at a theme park built for Pokémon. Pikachu, Togepi, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle cross paths with a group of bullies consisting of a Raichu, Cubone, Marill, and a Snubbull. The two groups compete against each other in sports, but it leads to Ash’s Charizard getting its head stuck in a pipe. Pikachu, his friends, and the bullies work together and successfully free Charizard and rebuild the park, spending the rest of the day playing before parting ways when their trainers return.
Mewtwo Strikes Back
A group of scientists obtain a fossilised eyelash of the legendary Pokémon, Mew, and clone it to create a supersoldier named Mewtwo. The project is successful as it awakens, but upon learning the scientists plan to treat him as an experiment, Mewtwo unleashes his psychic powers and destroys the laboratory.
Giovanni, leader of Team Rocket and the project’s benefactor, convinces Mewtwo to work with him to hone his powers. However, Mewtwo learns his purpose was to be a weapon for Giovanni’s benefit and escapes back to New Island where he plots revenge against humanity. Several Pokémon trainers are invited to New Island to meet and battle the world’s greatest Pokémon Master. Ash, Misty, and Brock accept the challenge, but when they arrive at the port city Old Shore Wharf, a powerful storm whips up, preventing the trainers from sailing to the island. However, several trainers use their Pokémon to travel across the sea. Ash’s group are picked up by Team Rocket disguised as Vikings, but the storm sinks their boat, and they individually make it to New Island.
Escorted into the island’s palace by a maid, the trainers encounter Mewtwo, who releases the maid from his mind control, revealed to be a brainwashed Nurse Joy. Mewtwo plots to use the storm to wipe out humanity, leaving only wild and cloned Pokémon alive. Ash challenges Mewtwo’s power, leading to a battle between the trainers’ Pokémon and Mewtwo’s clones who prove to be vastly superior in combat. Mewtwo captures all of the Pokémon to clone them, Ash chasing the captured Pikachu down into the rebuilt lab, where Team Rocket’s Meowth is also cloned. Ash destroys the cloning machine, freeing the Pokémon, and leads them to confront Mewtwo. Mew appears and confronts Mewtwo.
All of the Pokémon battle save a defiant Pikachu, and Meowth, who makes peace with his own clone. Mew and Mewtwo’s psychic battle wounds all of the Pokémon, forcing a desperate Ash to charge into the firing line of their attacks and is petrified by the blast. Pikachu tries to revive Ash with his thunderbolt but it fails. However, the tears of the Pokémon, as per a legend mentioned earlier in the film, are able to heal and revive Ash. Moved by Ash’s sacrifice, Mewtwo realizes that he should not have to be judged by his origins but rather his choices in life. Departing with Mew and the clones, Mewtwo erases everyone’s memories of the event.
Ash, Misty, and Brock find themselves back in Old Shore Wharf unsure how they got there. The storm outside clears up, Ash spotting Mew flying through the clouds and tells his friends of how he saw another legendary Pokémon the day he left Pallet Town. Meanwhile, Team Rocket find themselves stranded on New Island but enjoy their time there.
|Character name||Japanese voice actor||English voice actor|
|Ash Ketchum (Satoshi)||Rica Matsumoto||Veronica Taylor|
|Misty (Kasumi)||Mayumi Iizuka||Rachael Lillis|
|Brock (Takeshi)||Yūji Ueda||Eric Stuart|
|Narrator||Unshō Ishizuka||Ken Gates|
|Jessie (Musashi)||Megumi Hayashibara||Rachael Lillis|
|James (Kojirō)||Shin-ichiro Miki||Eric Stuart|
|Meowth (Nyarth)||Inuko Inuyama||Maddie Blaustein|
|Bulbasaur (Fushigidane)||Megumi Hayashibara||Tara Jayne|
|Charizard (Lizardon)||Shin-ichiro Miki|
|Squirtle (Zenigame)||Rikako Aikawa||Eric Stuart|
|Fergus (Umio)||Wataru Takagi||Jimmy Zoppi|
|Corey (Sorao)||Tōru Furuya||Ed Paul|
|Neesha (Sweet)||Aiko Satō||Lisa Ortiz|
|Miranda (Voyager)||Sachiko Kobayashi||Kayzie Rogers|
|Pirate Trainer||Raymond Johnson||Maddie Blaustein|
|Mewtwo|| Masachika Ichimura|
Fujiko Takimoto (young; radio drama)
Showtaro Morikubo (young; anime)
|Giovanni (Sakaki)||Hirotaka Suzuoki||Ed Paul|
|Officer Jenny (Junsar)||Chinami Nishimura||Lee Quick|
|Nurse Joy (Joi)||Ayako Shiraishi||Megan Hollingshead|
|Dr. Fuji||Yōsuke Akimoto||Philip Bartlett|
|Ambertwo (Aitwo)||Kyōko Hikami||Kerry Williams|
|Doctor Fuji's wife and Ai's mother||Shinobu Adachi|
|Scientists|| Katsuyuki Konishi|
|Investigators|| Shinpachi Tsuji|
|Researchers|| Hidenari Ugaki|
|Madame Boss||Hiromi Tsuru|
Kunihiko Yuyama directed the original Japanese version of the film, while Choji Yoshikawa served as producer and Takeshi Shudo as the writer. Norman J. Grossfeld, former president of 4Kids Productions, served as the film's producer for the English-language North American version. Grossfeld, Michael Haigney, and John Touhey wrote the English adaptation, and Haigney served as the English version's voice director. The English version was heavily edited from the original Japanese one ; along with various content edits, Mewtwo was changed from a morally confused character into a more straightforward villain like Genesect (from Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened) so the audience would be able to identify it as the villain more easily. Furthermore, the moral message of the movie was changed from "all life is equal" to "fighting is wrong". The English version editors translated various Japanese texts, including those on signs and on buildings, into English. Shogakukan digitally altered the backgrounds for both the American English and Kanzenban versions. In the English dub, three Pokémon are referred to by the wrong name. Pidgeot was called Pidgeotto, Scyther was called Alakazam, and Sandslash was called Sandshrew. 4Kids said that they decided to leave the Alakazam and Sandshrew errors when they noticed it as something for the children watching to notice and because they felt it was plausible in context that Team Rocket could make a mistake.
Grossfeld also had new music re-recorded for the film's release, citing that it "would better reflect what American kids would respond to". John Loeffler of Rave Music produced the English-language music and composed the film score with Ralph Schuckett. Loeffler also collaborated with John Lissauer and Manny Corallo to produce the English-language "Pikachu's Vacation" score. Grossfeld also revealed that the English version of the film "combines the visual sense of the best Japanese animation with the musical sensibility of Western pop culture".
For the film's theatrical release, select theaters would give away exclusive Pokémon trading cards, to capitalize on the success of the trading card game. The cards featured likenesses of Electabuzz, Pikachu, Mewtwo, and Dragonite, and were dispensed in random order for each week it was in that particular theater. The subsequent releases of Pokémon: The Movie 2000 and Pokémon 3: The Movie featured a similar marketing campaign. For the 2000 home video release of The First Movie, a limited edition Mewtwo card (different from that used for the theatrical release) was packaged with the video.
Toshihiro Ono, author of Pokémon: The Electric Tale of Pikachu, created a manga version of the film. He received the scripts and continuity in April 1998. The manga was released in May of that year. Ono's editors asked him to draw Mewtwo's birth, which was not included in the film. At a later point the anime staff wrote the Origin of Mewtwo special, which does not match his story. Ono said that "there's not much connection between the manga and the movie".
The film was theatrically re-released exclusively at Cinemark Theatres in the United States on October 29 and November 1, 2016. The re-release included the Pikachu's Vacation short film from the original release.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film's English adaptation a 14% approval rating based on 79 reviews, with the consensus being: "Audiences other than children will find very little to entertain them". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 35 out of 100 based on 25 reviews, meaning "generally unfavorable reviews".
Anime News Network review called the main feature "contradictory", stating that "the anti-violent message that is pretty much crammed down our throats works directly against the entire point of the franchise" and criticized Pikachu's Summer Vacation for being "incoherent, pointless and fluffy". Patrick Butters, of The Washington Times, accused Pokémon: The First Movie of taking ideas from other films such as Star Wars and being "just another cog in the mighty Nintendo machine". Michael Wood, of England's Coventry Evening Telegraph said that Pikachu's Summer Vacation "can only be described as a mind-numbingly tedious piece, with no discernible storyline and lots of trippy images and silly voices". Wood did note that the main feature had a "mildly intriguing premise", but said that the rest of the film "was like a martial arts movie without the thrills".
Pokémon: The First Movie was an instant commercial success, debuting at number one on the U.S. box office charts and making $10,096,848 on its Wednesday opening day. During its first weekend, it grossed $31,036,678 and went on to generate a total of $50,754,104 since its Wednesday launch in 3,043 theaters, averaging to about $10,199 per venue over the three-day span. It also held the record for being the animated feature with the highest opening weekend in November, which would be broken two weeks later by Toy Story 2. Despite a 59.72% drop in its second weekend to $12,502,869, the film made $67,372,092 within 12 days. It closed on February 27, 2000, earning $85,744,662 in North America, and $77,900,000 in other territories. Worldwide, the film made $163,644,662, making it the highest-grossing anime film in the United States and the fourth highest-grossing animated film based on a television show worldwide. It was also the highest-grossing film based on a video game at the time, until 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
The movie was Digitally remastered for high definition and aired by TV Tokyo on May 3, 2013. It will also be aired by other TV stations in Japan. It aired on Cartoon Network in the United States on January 4, 2014. The HD version came to Blu-ray on the Pikachu Movie Premium 1998-2010 box set in Japan on November 28, 2012.
Viz Media has announced that a limited edition Blu-ray Steelbook containing the first three Pokémon films will be released on February 9, 2016, along with single releases on DVD (These are: Pokémon: The First Movie, Pokémon: The Movie 2000 and Pokémon 3: The Movie). In accommodation with the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise, a digitally remastered version of the film was released on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play on February 27, 2016.
The film received a limited theatrical re-release, through select Cinemark theaters in the United States, on October 29 and November 1, 2016, to help celebrate Pokémon's 20th anniversary.
Pokémon: The First Movie Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture
|Pokémon: The First Movie Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||November 10, 1999|
|Genre||Pop, film soundtrack|
|Producer||Garry Hughes, Kaj Robole, Kenneth M. Lewis, Jimmy Bralower, Ron Fair, Neil Jason, Rhett Lawrence, Guy Roche, Eric Foster White, Blessid Union of Souls, Josh Deutsch, Emosia, John Loeffler, 98 Degrees, Todd Chapman, Craig Kallman, Steven Nikolas, Peter Zizzo, Brendon Sibley, Brian Steckler, Harvey Mason Jr., Gary Carolla, Darren Higman|
|Various artists chronology|
|Singles from Pokémon: The First Movie|
Pokémon: The First Movie Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture is the soundtrack to the first Pokémon film in the United States, It was released on November 10, 1999, on Compact Disc and Compact Cassette. Some of the songs were featured in the animated short Pikachu's Vacation, and some songs did not feature in either the short or the movie at all. The CD contains extra features, such as Pokémon videos and a screensaver. When it was released it included a promotion for one to send a Proof of Purchase to receive an exclusive promo Jigglypuff card from the Pokémon TCG that lasted for a few months. Don't Say You Love Me by M2M was released as a single from the album.
|1.||"Pokémon Theme 2" ()||Billy Crawford||3:22|
|2.||"Don't Say You Love Me" ()||M2M||3:46|
|3.||"It Was You" ()||Ashley Ballard with So Plush||4:18|
|4.||"We're a Miracle" ()||Christina Aguilera||4:12|
|5.||"Soda Pop" ()||Britney Spears||3:23|
|6.||"Somewhere, Someday" ()||*NSYNC||4:07|
|7.||"Get Happy" ()||B*Witched||3:06|
|8.||"(Hey You) Free Up Your Mind" ()||Emma Bunton||3:24|
|9.||"Fly with Me" ()||98°||3:52|
|11.||"Vacation" ()||Vitamin C||3:20|
|12.||"Makin' My Way (Any Way That I Can)" ()||Billie Piper||4:25|
|13.||"Catch Me If You Can" ()||Angela Via||3:28|
|14.||"(Have Some) Fun with the Funk" ()||Aaron Carter||3:34|
|15.||"If Only Tears Could Bring You Back" ()||Midnight Sons||4:03|
|16.||"Brother My Brother" ()||Blessid Union of Souls||3:49|
- 1^ These tracks were featured in the actual film.
- 2^ These tracks were featured in the end credits.
- 3^ These tracks were not in the movie or the short at all.
- 4^ These tracks were not in the movie itself, but were part of Pikachu's Vacation.
|Australia (ARIA)||2× Platinum||140,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Pokémon: The First Movie Original Motion Picture Score
|Pokémon: The First Movie Original Motion Picture Score|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||May 9, 2000|
|Various artists chronology|
Alongside this soundtrack, the orchestral score from the movie was also released on the CD Pokémon: The First Movie Original Motion Picture Score.
- "The Birth of Mewtwo"
- "Dragonite Takes Flight"
- "Invitation to Danger"
- "Surviving the Storm"
- "Mewtwo's Island"
- "Pokémon Vs. Clone"
- "Tears of Life"
- "This Is My World Now"
- "Three on Three"
- "Mew's Theme"
- "Freeing Charizard"
- "Adventure in Paradise"
- "All Good Things Must End"
Sound Picture Box: The Birth of Mewtwo
Sound Picture Box: The Birth of Mewtwo (サウンドピクチャーボックス ミュウツーの誕生 Saundopikuchābokkusu myuutsū no tanjō) consists of two discs. The first disc contains episodes of the Japanese radio serial The Birth of Mewtwo (ミュウツーの誕生), released only in Japan and later adapted into The Story of Mewtwo's Origin. The second disc contains full score of the original Japanese release of the film in addition to two theme songs sung in Japanese.
- Disc one
- "Episode 1: The Phantom 'Mew'" (第1話 幻の「ミュウ」)
- "Episode 2: The Birth of Mewtwo" (第2話 ミュウツーの誕生)
- "Episode 3: Mewtwo and Ai" (第3話 ミュウツーとアイ)
- Also titled "Mewtwo and Amber"
- "Episode 4: The World's Strongest Pokémon" (第4話 世界最強のポケモン)
- "Episode 5: Mewtwo Strikes Back" (第5話 ミュウツーの逆襲)
- Disc two
- "The Phantom 'Mew'" (幻の「ミュウ」)
- "The Awakening of Mewtwo" (ミュウツーの目覚め)
- "The Strong Mewtwo" (強者ミュウツー)
- "Beginning to Strike Back" (逆襲のはじまり)
- "Aim to Be the Pokémon Master '98" (opening theme) (めざせポケモンマスター'98 (オープニング主題歌) Mezase pokemonmasutā)
- "Pikachu Not Giving Up" (ピカチュウあきらめないニャ)
- "Flying Kairyu" (FLYINGカイリュー)
- Also titled "Flying Dragonite"
- "Messenger" (メッセンジャー)
- "Sign of the Storm" (嵐の予兆)
- "Departing for the Pokémon Castle!" (ポケモン城へ出発!)
- "A Stormy Sea" (嵐の海を)
- "Pokémon Castle" (ポケモン城)
- "The Shadow Haunting Team Rocket" (ロケット団につきまとう影)
- "Mewtwo Appears" (ミュウツー登場)
- "Cloned Pokémon Awaken!" (コピーポケモン目覚める!)
- "Showdown! Real vs. Cloned Pokémon" (対決! 本物対コピーポケモン)
- "Flight of the Poké Balls" (乱れ飛ぶモンスターボール)
- "Watch Out! Pikachu!" (危うし! ピカチュウ!)
- "Satoshi's Will to Battle" (サトシ戦いの決意)
- "Real vs. Cloned! Which Is Stronger?!" (本物とコピー! 強いのはどっちだ!)
- "The Meaning of Life" (命あるもの)
- "Tears of Miracle" (奇跡の涙)
- "Sky of Hope" (希望の空へ)
- "The Storm Clears" (晴れゆく嵐)
- "Together with the Wind" (ending theme) (風といっしょに（エンディング主題歌） Kaze to issho ni)
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- Pokémon: The First Movie DVD Audio Commentary
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- Butters, Patrick. "Lame Script, Wooden Characters Make Pokémon a Joke, Man; The Washington Times. November 10, 1999. pg 5.
- Michael Wood, "Cinema: Okay Pokey; Go2," Coventry Evening Telegraph (England) April 14, 2000.
- "Pokémon: The First Movie (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- "Video Game Adaptation Movies at the Box Office - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo - Video Game Adaptation. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
- "Pokémon Film "Mewtwo Strikes Back" to Get Complete HD Remastering!". otakumode.com. May 10, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- "劇場版ポケモン「ミュウツーの逆襲」完全版がHDリマスターに 5月3日テレビ東京他で初放送". animeanime.jp. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- "Pokémon The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back Special Event!". Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- "Watch Pokémon: The First Movie On The Big Screen!". pokemon.com. October 17, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
- allmusic review
- EW review
- Arnesen, Jon (February 5, 2000). "M2M make their name via Atlantic". Music & Media. 17 (6): 3.
- australian-charts.com - Soundtrack - Pokémon - The First Movie, australian-charts.com
- Soundtrack - Pokémon - The First Movie, austriancharts.at
- Soundtrack - Pokémon - The First Movie, lescharts.com
- Pokémon: The First Movie > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums, allmusic
- Soundtrack - Pokémon - The First Movie, finnishcharts.com
- Soundtrack - Pokémon - The First Movie, charts.org.nz
- Soundtrack - Pokémon - The First Movie, swedishcharts.com
- Soundtrack - Pokémon - The First Movie, hitparade.ch
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2000 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
- "Canadian album certifications – Soundtrack – Pokémon THE FIRST MOVIE - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK". Music Canada.
- "British album certifications – Various Artists – Pokémon - The First Movie". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Pokémon - The First Movie in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
- "American album certifications – Soundtrack – The First Movie". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- Pokémon: The First Movie at the Internet Movie Database
- Pokémon: The First Movie at AllMovie
- Pokémon: The First Movie at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Pokémon: The First Movie at Rotten Tomatoes
- Pokémon: The First Movie at Box Office Mojo