Three Japanese movies in one. The first involes an encounter with a digimon of the third kind. The two kids Kari and Tai, raise this fast growing digimon from egg to giant monster. The second of the movies involves Tai and Izzy. Some sort of computer virus sweeps the internet. It turns out to be a digimon. The digimon are uploaded to the internet and Tai tries to get others to help. Matt and T.K. help as well. The third and Final segment starts in N.Y. with Kari and T.K., now years older, and they see 2 digimon fighitng and a kid with them. They try to follow him and they get there friends to follow as well. One of the new digimon belongs to Willis, the other, does as well, except this digimon seems to have a virus.
Directed by: Mamoru Hosoda
, Shigeyasu Yamauchi
. Starring: Lara Jill Miller
, Joshua Seth
, Bob Papenbrook
, David Lodge
, Dorothy Elias-Fahn
, Michael Sorich
, Peggy O'Neal
, Colleen O'Shaughnessey
, Brianne Brozey
, Jeff Nimoy
, Bob Buchholz
, Philece Sampler
, Mona Marshall
. Music by: Udi Harpaz
, Amotz Plessner
It is no secret by now that this so called "movie" based on the famous "Digimon" anime series is actually a combination of 3 separate Digimon OVA short films. Remember what Robotech did with Macross, Southern Cross and Mospeada? Digimon the movie does the same, only with less effort made to keep up the illusion of the 3 separate stories being 1 coherent tale. While long time fans will cry foul of the show once they hear of the numerous cuts made to the original OVAs, the American "Digimon the movie" never did aim for the otakus. The target audience for this movie is no doubt the kids who have watched Saban's adaptation of the Digimon anime series.
On first viewing, it is easy to mistake this show for an actual "made in America" animated movie. The art and animation style is very different from the TV series and in fact follows more of the western animation conventions than Japanese anime. For example, the level of detail in the artwork is painfully low, with characters being just simple outlines with flat colors without even simple shadows or clothing folds. The characters' eyes are smaller with less of that "anime shine", and the designs have been simplified somewhat. However, the animation is a lot more fluid and expressive. Movements are shown in full with little of the usual cost cutting measures that anime uses such as repeating stock footage or panning the camera over a still background. Not exactly "movie" level animation, especially when compared to other theatrical animated movies, but nonetheless satisfactory.
The combination of Three OVAs naturally translate to 3 loosely connected acts told from the narrative standpoint of Kari, one of the main characters. The first act taking place "eight years ago", details the first encounter between the Kamiya siblings, Tai and Kari, and digimon. One day a mysterious egg appears from out of their computer and soon hatches into a cute bubble blowing creature. The children decide to keep it while not letting their parent find out, but the creature mutates overnight into a more monstrous lizard-like form. What follows is a devastating battle in the streets of their neighborhood between two ferocious Digimon, a battle only hinted at in the TV series.
Now this first act seems rather unnecessary. It has nothing to do with the actual plot of the movie and serves nothing more than to introduce those who are not familiar with the Digimon franchise to the Kamiya siblings and a few core concepts. A very refreshing thing was the re-interpretation of "Digital Monsters" as scary monstrous beasts, a stark contrast to their less threatening portrayal in the TV series.
THe second act is possibly the heart and soul of this movie. Four years after the Kamiyas' first digimon encounter and a short time after the events of the first Digimon TV series, Izzy the computer genius discovers a computer virus that is actually an evolving digimon. As Tai and Izzy race to gather the digidestined for one final battle, their digimon buddies must enter the internet and destroy the virus digimon before it becomes too powerful. The stakes get raised once the virus, calling itself Diaboromon, hacks into servers all over the world turning all computers crazy. Society gets thrown into chaos and the technology that even the digidestined take for granted, such as emails and telephone, now becomes the source of their downfall.
Truly epic in scale, Digimon: The movie's second act has both surface level thrills and deeper emotional themes. There is a nice subtext satiring society's dependence on technology and the dehumanizing effect of internet communication (a theme that director Mamoru Hosoda expounded upon in 2010's "Summer Wars" anime movie). It is in this segment where the English script shines the most. Witty in-jokes and word puns pepper the energetic dialog delivered by a fine cast of voice actors who masterfully grow into their roles.
So enjoyable was the Diaboromon segment, right up to its awesome climax involving a brand spanking powerful new digimon taking on gazillions of diaboromon clones, that it is regrettable that Digimon: The Movie had to end on an extremely weak note.
The third segment takes place in "present day" and it involves the remnants of the diaboromon virus from four years ago returning and infecting a digimon called Kokomon. Kokomon is one half of a set of twins. He and his twin brother Terriermon belonged to an American kid called Willis. The digidestined from the Digimon season 2 get drawn into this conflict as Kokomon becomes increasingly powerful. But unknown even to them, is that Willis' digimon twins are somehow connected to the Kamiya's first digimon encounter 8 years ago and Diaboromon's emergence four years ago.
This act is where it all falls apart. Not only is it the weakest in terms of story and its link to the previous two acts, but the writing seems rushed. Jokes that were supposed to sound timely and witty end up being really out of place and only serve to spoil the otherwise serious tone of the show. As the act reaches its climax, the editing done to the scenes becomes even more slip shod leaving many gaping plot holes. Even the battle sequences have been edited to the point of incoherence. And that ending? All too sudden and honestly, a little freaky especially when taken in context with the music.
Whether a change for the better or worse, the music incorporates many American pop tunes that, save for one, effectively complements the scenes they are coupled with. At least the catchy music is a good distraction from the ear grating "digi-rap" that opens the film and the other shortcomings of the movie.
Fans of Digimon, especially the Japanese digimon series, would undoubtedly give this a miss. It is recommended however that one at least watch the second act of this movie just for the fun of it.
Review by xamtaro from the Internet Movie Database.