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Pokemon 4Ever

Ash, Pikachu and the gang are back for more fun-filled adventures in this fourth Pokémon installment. This time around they try to rescue a time-traveling Pokémon and its human friend from the clutches of an evil hunter.


In a lush forest where many ''wild'' Pokémon live, a green and winged Pokémon named Celebi with the ability to travel through time gets into trouble with some no-good Pokémon hunters trying to capture it. In order to survive, the wounded Celebi uses the last of its energy to beam out of there, taking along with it a good-hearted boy named Sammy whose caught in the time-travel beam while trying to save the cute little Pokémon . Celebi and Sammy appear in the forest some 40 years later in the present day, landing right at the feet of Pokémon -master-in-training Ash and his friends Misty, Brock and of course, little Pikachu. No one can figure out how Sammy and Celebi got there, but an old woman who knew the boy 40 years ago tells the gang all about ''The Voice of the Forest'' (otherwise known as Celebi) and its tremendous power. Sammy is still determined to help the injured Celebi recover, and Ash and Pikachu are eager to help. Yet, they all soon encounter a particularly nasty Pokémon hunter who possesses a ''Dark Ball,'' which gives the Pokémon greater powers and turns them evil--and he wants Celebi. Riiight. Trust me, this has been simplified. The main problem with this story (and with any Pokémon story, in my opinion), is how convoluted it gets, especially for its young targeted audience. The script tends to throw out so much information and new characters that it can be extremely difficult to follow.


In order to get an idea how the dialogue sounds when watching Pokémon 4Ever, read this review very fast with several exclamation remarks like ''Ah!'' in between the words. There is no natural flow as in a normal conversation but rather everything is exaggerated tenfold. It could be that translating from Japanese to English creates this effect. The characters always seem to be in a perpetual state of agitation, hopping around, looking in awe and horror at what's going on around them or commanding their Pokémon to beat the crap out of one another. It is also particularly amusing to hear the Pokémon speak. Whatever they happen to be called--be it Pikachu, Charmander, Squirtle (if you have small children, then you know the names of these things)--the Pokémons' simple speech is basically saying their names over and over again, using different inflections and tones. Ash always understands exactly what his little friend is saying, whether it's ''Pi-ka-CHU!'' or just plain ''Pi-ka.'' This makes the adults in the audience laugh right out loud, although I'm sure it's not suppose to.


Face it, the fantastical world created in the Pokémon stories is what brings the kiddies in. Maybe that and the violence, of which there always seems to be plenty. If you don't already know the basic premise, Pokémon stories consist of human trainers and masters who walk around with small, rounded objects which house various different Pokémon (odd combinations of animals each with their own unique power). At any given moment, these humans can challenge each other to battles in which their Pokémon compete. The varying types of Pokémon, combined with, at times, crisp animation, makes the movie eye candy. Things move pretty quickly across the screen and the young kids are mesmerized by the action. Of course, the films also always try and have a moral point to them. In 4Ever's case, it's protecting nature (I think). But at some point kids grow up and realize how incredibly inane the stories really are and lose interest.

Bottom Line

If you are a parent of a five- or six-year-old, just wait a few more years and they'll outgrow the visually alluring but completely inane premise of Pokémon movies. In the meantime, just laugh at the absurdity and try to figure out what drugs those Japanese animators are really taking.