Director: Kunihiko Yuyama
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
When the movie was released in 1999 critics shredded the film and disregarded it almost completely out of hand. We kids scoffed at them for simply not trying to understand it and for being too stuck up in their own ways to understand how good the movie was. Now I sit, watching the screen, the inner child in me cheering at the outcomes of the battles while the critic fully understands why the franchise took a real artistic beating from the release of this film. To be sure, “Pokémon: The First Movie” is a well animated movie with lots of fun action sequences and all of the key players playing parts in the overall structure of the story. The problem is the script is completely nonsensical to me now. Even as someone who grew up with this franchise, has seen seven or eight of the movies, and probably more than 400 episodes worth of the TV show I can’t put together what the producers were thinking.
P.S. I wouldn't be doing my job fully if I didn't mention the "Pikachu's Vacation" short that plays before the movie. This short film (such as it is) contains no artistic merit, joy, or fun to be had. It is annoyance at its highest form. I didn't like it as a kid and I REALLY don't like it now! On DVD this is worth skipping altogether regardless of age.
Parents, despite the G rating bestowed upon this movie, it would probably be wise to preview the movie before kids see it. There are many scenes of violence which include beatings, explosions, on screen death, bombs, biting in the neck, throwing against the wall, and...yeah, all the film needs is some red for this to be a blood bath.
It should be noted that most kids upon the initial release was unaffected by all of this (as well as the dark nature of the story), so maybe our faith in kids ability to handle more back then was justified. Recommended for ages 7 and up.