Hello, friends in time, and welcome to a regular feature on Cinema 52 where I put my weekly viewing of Back to the Future on hold and watch another movie featuring time travel for comparison. It may not keep me sane, but it will probably always involve one guy shouting, “This doesn’t make any sense!” And that’s good enough for me.
For Threequel Weekquel, I made sure I’d seen all the films leading up to each time travel-y third installment. In the Fourquel Morequel Edition, however, there are only two franchises that desperately resorted to time travel as a way to renew interest, and both of them are eye candy cash-grabs for kids, so fuck it. I’ve only previously seen the first movie in each series. Let’s proceed.
POKÉMON 4EVER (2001)
Oh God. No. Nooooo…
Does it matter? And I don’t mean because I have zero interest in watching this. Like, kids don’t see these movies for the narrative, right? I had two raging Pokédorks, John and Adam, along for the ride, and all they did the whole time was shout out the name of every goddamn made-up animal on the screen.
It’s like Where’s Waldo?, except there are 4 million species of Waldo, none of which I intend to purchase. And I’m not saying you can’t have fun with the video games or card games or whatever the hell you can buy now, but you can’t honestly tell me anyone gives a shit about what Ash does with his life. The plot is secondary to the cartoon zoo.
Ash could run into frame and just whip it out. Nobody would notice.
But okay, here’s what happens, as near as I could tell with John and Adam yipping, “Fluffernutter! Tumbleflurp! Scrotagon!” throughout. There’s a Pokémon named Celebi (Kazuko Sugiyami) that can time travel, and it brings a boy named Sam (Tara Sands) forty years into the future, which is where Ash (Veronica Taylor) and the gang are now. The only thing I found even remotely interesting (but still not necessary) about this time trip is getting to see an old school Pokéball.
Aaand there it is. Kinda neat, don’t care now.
Like in half of all time travel stories, you find out the mysterious stranger has a connection to the main characters, whoopdy-doo. That would matter if, you know, any of these people seemed like they had complicated histories, but never mind, I think I saw a Blundercunt behind that tree!
Sorry, false alarm, but let’s wait until we see one.
The other plot thread involves Darkballs, which I’ll give you a minute to snicker about. Go ahead. I’ll be right here.
Yes, this S&M clown has Darkballs.
A Darkball can turn a Pokémon eeevil, which is so utterly laughable that I can’t help but enjoy the Saturday morning cartooniness of it. The Iron Masked Marauder (Dan Green) uses a Darkball to turn Celebi evil and forces it to make a gigantic tree demon. Shit yeah.
Quake with fear at a walking pile of Shredded Wheat!
That’s the sort of thing that can only be defeated by… I dunno, a horse made of love and a lake full of time travel? Not that that’s how it ends. Oops. You don’t care.
Not bad for a bunch of stuffed animals that can only say their own names.
It’s super effective.
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS:
Seriously, look at this CGI beast. It’s choppy, but damn, look at it.
I’d buy an action figure of it if only it told me its name.
The time travel is just a weird glow effect that ripples through the trees.
Did I spot a Vulvasplat?
It’s all animated, so… is the whole thing a special effect, technically?
Man, that green screen must have been tough.
OTHER (SPOILERY) STUFF:
- Pokéspoiler, it’s Professor Oak.
THE “NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!” MOMENT:
I’m breaking the rules this week and picking a scene where somebody treats time travel like it’s the most normal thing in the world. No amount of description will make this scene as funny as watching it for yourself, but I don’t care. When the crazy glowing wave starts spreading over the forest, this girl’s reaction is akin to finding an onion ring in your French fries:
“Could that be time traveling?“
I was going to end this article by just saying my own name over and over again, but I don’t have the Pokéballs for it. I at least give the writers of Pokémon 4Ever credit for including a couple of classic time travel tropes, but the movie as a whole is fairly boring. If you like pretty colors with goofy names, enjoy, but it’s not the kind of thing I’d show a kid. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to punch Celebi’s infectiously poppy theme song out of my skull.
Want more time travel? Head on over to the Time Out archive.