Pokemon 4Ever (2002)

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Released 16-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Actors and Producers
Game-Pokemon 4Ever Trivia Game
Featurette-Animation Progression - 4 scenes
Theatrical Trailer-English and Japanese
Trailer-Pikachu The Movie 5th (Japanese)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 76:16
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:02) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Kunihiko Yuyama
Jim Malone
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Veronica Taylor
Rachael Lillis
Eric Stuart
Maddie Blaustein
Ikue Ootani
Tara Jayne
Stan Hart
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Shinji Miyazaki


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
English for the Hearing Impaired
German Audio Commentary
German Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Pokemon merchandising
Action In or After Credits Yes, confirming revelation

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    With the title Pokémon 4Ever, can you guess which number Pokémon film this is?

    The film opens with two scenes: a Pokémon we've never seen before (it is a Celebi, a legendary and extremely powerful Pokémon, who looks a lot like a flying pixie) is fleeing from a Pokémon hunter, and a young boy is wandering into a forest. The boy rescues the Pokémon from the hunter, but they are pursued. To save both of them, the Pokémon invokes a special power, and takes them 40 years into the future — a future that happens to be the time of Ash, Brock, and Misty, the characters we know so well. However, they are pursued by another hunter, one who turns out to be a rather more serious member of Team Rocket called the Masked Marauder (don't worry, we still get to laugh at Jesse, James, and Meowth). The Marauder is an unpleasant person who uses Dark Balls to capture Pokémon and turn them evil. He's out to capture and corrupt Celebi.

    Bad things happen. The balance of nature is threatened. Our friends are heroes. Hey, this is a Pokémon movie — what do you expect? But this is quite a good Pokémon movie, and one that might even appeal to people who aren't fans.

    Each one of the Pokémon movies I've reviewed before this one started with a Pikachu short, but this one doesn't. That's a shame. I actually like the Pikachu shorts. To make matters worse, one of the Japanese trailers shows a Pikachu short that we missed out on — rats! The front cover says "The all-new full-length movie -PLUS- Exclusive Pokémon Short!": looks like the decision to omit the short was a last minute one, and no one told the person in charge of the cover slick.

    There are a couple of scenes in this film which look a lot like homage to Miyazaki films: the tunnel into the forest looks quite like the tunnel in Spirited Away, and there's a scene in the forest that looks reminiscent of Princess Mononoke (when will we get that film in Region 4?). Interesting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. That's the original theatrical aspect ratio, which is good news.

    The image is very sharp and clear and very attractive. There's no trace of low-level noise or film grain, although grain is simulated on a few of the attack scenes to emphasise their brightness.

    This movie was produced using a combination of traditional 2-D animation (all the characters we know, and most of the new ones, plus most of the backgrounds) and 3-D animation (the big monster, and parts of the forest). Unfortunately, the 3-D monster is rendered too well (particularly the moving hairs), making it stand out too much from the rest of the animation — this cannot be blamed on the transfer, unless you want to complain that this problem wouldn't be visible if the transfer were considerably softer — I wouldn't like that.

    Colour is very well-rendered, and there's a fair assortment of colours on display. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts worth mentioning — I did spot (pun intended) a couple of small dark marks, but they are barely visible, even on a large screen.

    Aliasing is visible, but not annoying. There are no moments of moiré or MPEG artefacts. The only film-to-video artefact worthy of comment are a few stretches of minor telecine wobble, such as at 4:21–4:26.

    There are subtitles in English and German, plus English for the Hearing Impaired. These last are fairly accurate, well-timed, and easy to read. Not all of the Pokémon cries are subtitled, but quite a few of them are.

    The disc is single-sided and RSDL-formatted. The layer change is at 69:02. It is a very good layer change, essentially invisible on most players because it is placed in a fade to black between the end of the movie proper and the denouement.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English and German, both in Dolby Digital 5.1. Plus there's an audio commentary in English in Dolby Digital 2.0. I listened to both English tracks.

    The dialogue is clear, and comprehensible (if you don't count what the Pokémon say). The animation sync is rather good.

    The music is credited to Shinji Miyazaki (no, I don't know if he is related to Hayao Miyazaki). It's decent stuff, and well suited to events on-screen.

    There is some excellent surround work in this soundtrack, with a few really good directional sound effects.

    The subwoofer doesn't seem to get anything from the LFE track — if your subwoofer is active it's probably getting bass redirected from the mains. I think this is really a 5.0 soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The main menu is animated with the theme music. It's easy to operate.

Audio Commentary: director, et al

    This commentary includes a lot of people. It is introduced by Norman Grossfeld, one of the executive producers. He introduces Mike Heigney, who has written (in the sense of writing the English-language script) a great many episodes of the TV show, plus some of the movies. Jim Malone, who directed this movie (in the sense of directing the English language voice actors), and a great many of the TV show episodes. There are several of the actors, too. We get to hear from Veronica Taylor (who voices both Ash and Mom), Rachel Lillis (who voices Jesse and Misty — one bad, one good!), Maddie Blaustein (who voices Meowth), and Eric Stuart (who voices Brock and James — one good, one bad!). These people have been recorded together, and they clearly get along really well.

    This is an excellent commentary, entertaining, and very informative. They confess to changing the story quite a bit in adapting it from Japanese to English. They explain that they feel a need to cover lapses in logic in the Japanese story (which they re-explain as "differences in story-telling style and culture"); this time they even got the animators to add extra scenes to make the denouement clearer (read, a bit more obvious!).

    My only regret is that the commentary is shorter than the film. It stops about 51 minutes into the film.

    This is not a screen-specific commentary, but it's really interesting. Strongly recommended for adults and teens, but maybe not for children (don't spoil the illusion for them!).

Game: Pokémon 4 Ever Trivia Game

    This is a rather simple game, where we're asked a question and must choose one of three Pokémon as the answer. When you select the correct answer they show a grab from the film to back up the answer.

Animation Progressions

    Very cool: we get to see four sequences in several stages of development (5 stages for the first three, and only 4 stages for the last one), shown as different angles. You get to use that magical Angle button on your remote. The last three sequences are quite short, but you can show them over and over. The sequences are:

Theatrical Trailer

    The English language trailer (0:54), plus multiple unsubtitled Japanese trailers (1:37 in total), including one that looks like it's a trailer for the Pikachu short that we didn't get (sniff!).

Sneak Peek (1:40)

    Japanese trailers for the next Pokémon movie. No subtitles. Umm, try to guess what's going on...

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie was released on DVD in Region 1 earlier this year. The R1 release has all the extras that we get on this disc, plus an additional short called Pikachu's Pikaboo (or Pikachu's Hide-and-Seek) — that's the missing short (it's 20 minutes long). The transfer on the R1 is reportedly as good as the one we get on the R4, except that it is a pan-and-scan release.

    Apparently this movie was screened in US cinemas without the short, so the R4 disc is accurate to what was screened there. But the R1 disc has the short.

    What a dilemma! The R1 has the missing short. The R4 is in the correct aspect ratio. I'm going to call it a draw (two discs, both flawed) — looks like the only way to get the whole thing is to get both discs, which is really annoying.

Summary

    An entertaining Pokémon movie on a DVD that's very good, except for one serious omission.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are very good (love the commentary), but the usual Pikachu short has been omitted, which is a real shame.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE
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