Pokemon: The Power of Us Review: It’s not the very best, but has plenty for Pokemon fans to love.
It’s pretty undisputed that Pokémon has become one of the leading franchises that continues to tightly grasp the world’s attention time and time again. However, its last couple of animated movies have gone by with mostly whispers and have been basically swept under the rug as a whole. It’s frankly a shame, to me, as the last animated film, Pokémon: The Journey Begins, was one of my favorites as it not only was a retelling of Ash and Pikachu’s first adventure together, but brought some great lore to the story. Its sequel, Pokémon: The Power of Us, has some great moments, but, ultimately, feels like a straightforward outing for Ash and Pikachu.
The film has viewers join Ash (Sarah Natochenny) and Pikachu (Ikue Otani) as they travel to Fula City, a wind-powered city that is highly known for the strong relationships between people and Pokémon. Every year, the city holds a festival where the legendary Pokémon Lugia is said to come and deliver winds that can power the entire city. Ash, Pikachu, and a slew of other characters are suddenly dragged into various plots and problem that, left unsolved, could jeopardize the survival and safety of everyone in Fula City.
While Ash and Pikachu are usually the main characters that viewers will follow, and that’s not too different with The Power of Us, they actually feel like side characters and viewers are mostly with issues involving completely new characters. This kind of change is somewhat something to appreciate and it’s interesting to see a Pokémon film attempt to tackle issues like self-confidence, being honest, and dealing with losing someone without completely surrounding these issues in Pokémon (for the most part).
Now, I’m not going to say that Pokémon eventually don’t come into the mix, as these issues need to prove a point that Ash makes about when you have a Pokémon, you can basically do anything, but they are relatively enjoyable to see.
However, all of the plot points and characters pretty create the film’s biggest problem – there’s way too much going on and these new characters just make themselves memorable. It’s kind of odd to say that a Pokémon movie could have too much going on to follow, but with The Power of Us it’s the best way to describe it. Frankly, none of the new characters are that interesting and can basically be described like this: Risa (Haven Burton-Paschall) is your generic anime girl that screams a lot, Harriet (Masako Nozawa) is your typical crotchety old lady that hates Pokémon, Callahan (Billy Bob Thompson) lies about being an excellent Pokémon trainer to impress his niece, Toren (Eddy Lee) is your typical social awkward nerd, and Margo (Erica Schroder) is the mayor’s daughter who is harboring some secret Pokémon.
Throughout the film, I constantly found myself to be so much more interested in the Pokémon they were paired up with than anything that was going on with the people. Now, this wasn’t a total loss as the Pokémon had much more personality this time around and actually brought some unique plot threads. It’s actually interesting to see Pokémon be volunteers for a festival catch race, actually desire to be with a trainer and deal with similar issues with them, and even die. Not in like a bloody or gruesome way, but just like its predecessor The Power of Us continues to add interesting lore and personalities into the Pokémon world.
Now even with the unique plot points, The Power of Us basically feels like everything you would expect to see in a Pokémon movie. Ash and Pikachu arrive in a new town and have to help the town solve a big issue caused by Team Rocket and run into some legendary Pokémon – in this case two. So The Power of Us definitely isn’t the freshest or most original Pokémon adventure, but, even with all of this said, it’s a Pokémon adventure on the big screen so there’s still plenty of fun to be had.
So even while The Power of Us isn’t trying to be the very best, like no Pokémon movie ever was, it still has enough going for it to put a smile on anyone’s face. It’s definitely not as great as to what Pokémon movies originally were and was a little disappointing compared to its predecessor, but the film definitely has a strong message about the strong bond between people and Pokémon that can be felt from anyone watching.