In Bob Godfrey’s animated classic, The Do-It-Yourself Cartoon Kit, the viewer is informed, “Whether you’re 6 or 96, you’re sure to love The Do-It-Yourself-Cartoon Kit. If you’re any ages between the two, however, you’re going to be pretty miserable and might as well leave the cinema.” While I can’t address the issue of how 96-year-olds would feel about Pokemon 3, that pretty much does sum up the response I would expect from the majority of the post-6-year-old set. This is a case where it’s necessary to remember the difference between a “family movie” and a “children’s movie.” The Pokemon phenomenon — based largely in collectibles and trading cards — involves the concept of Pokemon trainers who collect a variety of peculiar creatures with strange powers and pit these Pokemons against each other. As a premise, it’s at least clever marketing. In Pokemon 3, the story centers on a little girl who creates a disastrous world with the help of creatures called Unown, where a new Pokemon — Entei — fulfills her every wish. The bulk of the film involves fights between her imaginary Pokemon and the real Pokemon of the series’ heroes. Young viewers may find this entertaining. For others, it becomes pretty tiresome and repetitive. However, it’s hard to knock the film, since it endorses themes — caring about each other, working together, etc. — that no one could possibly object having children exposed to. That it’s not likely to entertain adults is almost beside the point; it wasn’t made for adults. It also must be admitted that some of the animation is stunning, providing a degree of interest. The film is accompanied by a short, Pikachu and Pichu, which is actually livelier and more creative than the feature, and will certainly appeal to admirers of the series’ most popular character, Pikachu (he’s the little yellow fellow festooned with the lightning-bolt tail), which introduces yet more instantly collectible characters. But it’s strictly for kids, dutiful parents, and hapless movie reviewers.
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