Ash went back to pallet town from kalos, only to find out that misty had kidnapped his mother and professor oak. Now, with the help of serena and his new friends, he must convince ho oh to help him to save his loved ones and protect kanto.
Directed by: Kunihiko Yuyama
. Starring: Unshô Ishizuka
, Rica Matsumoto
, Sarah Natochenny
, Megumi Hayashibara
, Shin'ichirô Miki
, Inuko Inuyama
, Ikue Ôtani
, Justin Anselmi
, Rebecca Becker
, Sam Black
, Kate Bristol
, James Carter Cathcart
, Arata Furuta
. Music by: Shinji Miyazaki
When Pokemon the Movie I Choose You ended, the audience applauded, some held tears and others smiling. This is a Pokemon movie quite different from any other Pokemon movie before. Be warned as there are heavy spoilers.
The main-highlight of this movie is not a legendary Pokemon nor centered on the idea of a chosen one like many Pokemon movies before. The movie does feature Ho-Oh, a legendary Pokemon, and the myth of a Rainbow Hero, however they aren't the focus of this story. No, the big focus of this movie, that separate this movie from other Pokemon movies, is simply Ash and Pikachu journeying across the Pokemon world forging new friendships and memories together alongside Sorrel and Verity. It is through this journey do we truly see how beautiful and magical the Pokemon world really is, making the Pokémon world come alive almost as a main character itself.
Speaking of characters, Sorrel and Verity, two friends journeying alongside Ash, are well-developed with strong backstories to them. For example, Sorrel's goal is to be a Pokémon Professor and expert on legendary Pokémon. We can see these goals clearly motivated through his actions, such as respecting Entei's turf and showing great concern over Charmander's health without second thought, quickly doing his job to heal Charmander as best he can shown through details such as his knowledge and usage of medicine. As the story continues, we learn more about Sorrel such as his motivations and childhood.
Verity however doesn't have a clear goal yet invokes a lot of excitement and determination, building a strong friendship with Ash and Sorrel. Later it's revealed why her goal isn't clear. You, the audience, find out Verity has a complicated relationship with her mother, a famous and familiar trainer who expects great things from Verity yet it seems everything Verity does is small compared to her mother's achievements. Verity is quite the expressive character and the animations and voice-acting really shows it through her facial expressions, thoughts, and tone-of-voice that help strengthen her relationship with her friends and family. Through moments such as Ash and Verity meeting each other through battle, Verity smiling at the many memories she's taken pictures of late at night or playing at the lake with friends really shows her connecting a lot to Ash and Sorrel forging a strong friendship together.
In fact friendship is another main-highlight of this movie thriving through many touching moments, big and small. For a movie that's only 98 minutes long, Ash, Sorrel, and Verity actually encounter quite a lot of adventures awaiting them in the Kanto region such as trying to take on the fierce Entei towering over Ash Ketchum up-close leaving many audience member surprised and shocked at Entei's real and intimidating size to the three friends sending their emotional goodbyes to Butterfree leaving some teary-eyed to smaller moments such as hanging around the campfire as there Pokemon refuse to leave them in the cold to enjoying a ride on Lapras across the river as the morning sun rises.
However "I Choose You" has flaws. For example, the beginning is quite rushed. However when the Pokemon theme song arrives, the narrative starts to blossom into quite the journey and despite defying some mechanics of the games, the immersion of the Pokemon world portrayed here isn't broken. Through the exploration of Kanto's natural environment, do we truly see an amazing side of the Kanto region that fans have never seen before. It is truly a spectacle that very few animated works can capture. As the story continues, the group encounters Cross who serves as the story's antagonist. He is a simple character that feels might makes right and this character works for the most part. He's not an evil lunatic, he's simply a regular human being who is against Ash's beliefs.
The story stays strong until the third act. In the third act, Cross is transformed from a simple rival to a generic villain. Another problem is Marshadow, an interesting addition to the movie, corrupting Ash's thoughts leaving the audience guessing what his mysterious role is only to be revealed to have quite a confusing background. If that wasn't enough, Pikachu talking to Ash, what is supposed to be serious instead has the audience laughing. As the story progresses, Ash dies an odd death and is brought back to life through what appears to be Ash's bond with Pikachu, once again leaving the audience clueless. After all this, Ash finally battles Ho-Oh only for this supposedly amazing battle to go off-screen away from viewers eyes. The anti-climactic resolution is definitely the worst part of this movie and it's such a shame as the Pokémon's first two acts were full of adventure and a gorgeous side of Kanto. After the third act ends, the three friends part ways. Despite the third act, many in the audience could still feel the many memories and adventures these three friends had together as they departed. Some of the audience members during this scene smiled and others even had a few tears under their eyes. To some fans, it's a reminder of the day Ash sadly parted ways with Brock and Misty.
Whereas many other Pokemon movies were fanservice featuring legendaries and beautiful but smaller locations not part of the games, Pokemon the Movie - I Choose You separates itself by focusing on a plot not necessarily on Ho-Oh or the Rainbow Hero but Ash and Pikachu's journey across the Kanto Region. It is such a shame that by the third act, the story falls apart as the story was quite the memorable adventure. However perhaps some fans who claim the movie is awful are right and this entire review is wrong however their opinions are a stark contrast to the audience I've seen and heard, happily applauding the movie, some having a few tears in their eyes, smiling at the many adventures told, big or small.
Review by southjones from the Internet Movie Database.