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.
Directed by: Kunihiko Yuyama
, Armen Mazlumian
. Starring: Sarah Natochenny
, Michele Knotz
, Kayzie Rogers
, Bill Rogers
, Eric Schussler
, Rich McNanna
, James Carter Cathcart
, Rodger Parsons
, Sean Elias-Reyes
, Natasha Charles Parker
, Emlyn Elisabeth Morinelli
, Craig Blair
, Annie Silver
. Music by: Shinji Miyazaki
After a spectacular high with the previous movie, "Lucario and the Mystery of Mew," can the Pokémon crew pull off another one? Sadly, the newest effort, "Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea," falls far short of the high marks set by its predecessor as well as the sixth movie, "Jirachi Wish Maker"---a relationship I will elaborate on further in a moment.
During the introduction to the story, we see a luminous egg float through the sea before being seized by a technologically-advanced pirate captain, Phantom. We are then introduced to the Pokémon Ranger of the title, Jack "Jackie" Walker, who has disguised himself as a member of Phantom's crew. Jackie seizes the egg from Phantom and escapes from the pirate captain's submersible headquarters.
Meanwhile, the main cast of heroes are wandering through a desert wasteland, and when they run out of water, conveniently run into a traveling troupe of "water show" performers. At a local performance, the egg makes a reappearance, being tended to by an oddly familiar clown soon revealed to be Jackie, the Ranger. It is revealed that the egg contains a legendary Pokémon called Manaphy, and Jackie's mission is to safely hatch it and deliver it to a place called Samaya, the Sea Temple built by the ancestors of the performing troupe. He does not wish to allow Ash's group to be involved, but an attack by Phantom during their trip gets them into it irreversibly---especially after Manaphy hatches in May's arms and promptly begins to think she is its mother! Much of the immediate plot following this details the development of a bond between May and Manaphy, and the establishment that Phantom's goal is to capture the great treasure hidden inside Samaya, the Sea Crown. The plot drags for quite some time before we finally arrive at Samaya, where Phantom suddenly reappears and finds the Sea Crown---a pedestal filled with crystals. As he begins to remove them, the temple begins to sink, however Jackie manages to replace all but one before the flooding carries him, Phantom and the last crystal away.
All the characters except Ash and May escape the temple before it totally sinks. They go back in with Manaphy and find the last crystal, but before they can replace it, Ash is forced to seal May, Pikachu and Manaphy inside a capsule Phantom left behind while he braves the nearly-flooded temple to replace the last crystal. He drowns in the Sea Crown chamber, but Manaphy's special powers allow May's prayer for his safety to revive him and give him the strength to place the crystal in the pedestal. When he does so, a green light appears and a tentacle of this light carries May's capsule to safety.
With the Crown repaired, all the water drains out of Samaya and the temple surfaces---however, May believes Ash died, and Phantom suddenly makes a last-ditch effort to capture Manaphy, since it can lead him back to Samaya at any time. The secret of the light is revealed---inside the tentacle is none other than Ash, granted superpowers by completing the Sea Crown. He outmaneuvers Phantom and rescues Manaphy, only for Phantom to attack with his submarine and its sonic blast weapons. A special song Manaphy sings protects all the wild water Pokémon from Phantom's attack, and then it uses them to destroy Phantom's sub. He is finally defeated by the legendary Kyogre and captured by the police as May bids farewell to Manaphy (which leaves her by speaking, in English, "Love you, mama! Love you....May") and Jackie radios his base with the news of his mission's success.
During the credits, we see Phantom and his crew in prison, Jackie speaking to an Officer Jenny, and Jackie capturing a Zapdos with his Capture Styler (a tool used by Pokémon Rangers) So, what is good about this movie? Unfortunately, not much. It is terribly unoriginal for one, sharing many plot details with "Jirachi Wish Maker." Phantom is an amusing villain who engages in a bit of slapstick comedy, but he has absolutely no backstory. Also, the token Ash death with him drowning in the temple feels rather tired this time around. Drowning is a common "death" that has been used many times in the TV series and movies.
On the plus side, Manaphy is adorable, and May waited a long time to get spotlighted (while Max, a more minor character, was highlighted three years earlier in the sixth movie) Overall, though, this one's disappointing. Movie 10, "Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai," looks to be much better than this. We shall see early next year if that holds true.
Review by plinko2004 from the Internet Movie Database.