Pokemon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened Review
By Alec R. Lee
I’ll start off by saying that this was not what I originally intended. I was originally very content with posting my Movie Snobberys on Facebook. They were concise and clear and people seemed to like them. All of that changed when I saw this movie last week when it premiered. I had this urge to rant against this movie in a long tirade, longer than a Facebook post. Initially, I was going to make a video with me interlacing an audio track over clips of the movie (a la Rifftrax). However, the clips that I could get off the internet could not work well with my software so I had to abandon the idea. That was annoying. I had a whole script written and all of my audio was recorded, only for it to go to waste. But, I did recall this invention called a “blog.” I had never had a blog before but now seemed the perfect time to create one. The idea stuck and now we shall see where it gets me in the future.
I found this movie to be both awesome and horribly enraging at the same time. As an on/off Pokemon fan I can say that the movies are not Oscar material, they don’t even deserve to be called “good.” They’re simply a distraction for even the most ignorant Pokemon fan to turn off their brain and see the colors fly by. But this movie was different. This movie did have some cool moments, and for me to say that about a Pokemon movie is a rare thing, especially when the last “good” Pokemon movie (in my opinion) was released 6 years ago (Arceus and the Jewel of Life, to be exact). I think that my opinions will be equally shared with Pokefans so I’m not really worried about pissing anyone off (like anyone will read this post anyway….) I will make a note that because I originally intended to make a review with some humor injected here and there, I will continue to use the same tone in this written review. Most likely my future posts about movies will not have such a focus on humorous content but it was simply unavoidable in this case. Prepare yourself for hurt
Pokemon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened was the most disappointing thing since my last hooker. It’s not like these movies should be hyped up to start with but there is the fact that this movie had once factor that makes all Pokefans pants tingle: Mewtwo. Oh yes, Mewtwo. How could we ever forget? This Pokemon is generally considered to be one of the most epic of all Pokemon, in both the games and the anime, for its reputation as one of the strongest Pokemon in the series and that it has a cool voice (props to Dan Green and Philip Bartlett for that). If none of what I said made any sense, come back when I post another review, this isn’t for you. But why is Mewtwo in a Pokemon movie now? It’s been more than 10 years since its last major appearance in Mewtwo Returns. There is really no reason to bring it back other than to showcase the Mega-Evolution mechanic that is present in the new Pokemon X and Y games. So, Mewtwo is in this movie then? Shouldn’t this movie be more awesome then I’m letting on? Um, no.
The problems literally start within the first minute of the movie. We see Mewtwo flying around whichever part of the Pokemon world we’re focusing on now (I haven’t been paying attention to the last few games). Mewtwo is joined on its flight by a couple of bird Pokemon, and Mewtwo, wanting to test its power asks, “Do you think you can keep up with me?” Now this is one of the reasons why I initially wanted to do a video review. You can’t see anything wrong with this sentence, right? That’s because you needed to actually hear what they did to Mewtwo’s voice to understand why I am talking about this part. No, Andy Dick is not doing Mewtwo’s voice, think odder. Mewtwo is now voiced by a woman. Huh? That don’t make a lick of sense. What happened to that deep, masculine voice? Pokemon cannot get a sex change, so what the hell, movie? As the movie goes on, it turns out that this Mewtwo is an entirelly different one from the first Mewtwo. No, that sentence wasn’t worded poorly. There are apparently two Mewtwos in this universe. At this point I had to pause the video so I could find my gin so that I would be in a more favorable mood for the rest of the hour.
First, let me level some science at your heads. The concept of having two Mewtwos that look exactly identical, by the way, is impossible. If you ever took a biology class in your life (or flunked it, in my case), you might have touched on the topic of cloning. Now how does cloning work? Cloning is simply a process that replicates the DNA from a host and then is used to create a living being. That being would have the same traits and chromosomes (in theory) but this does not mean that the clone will look identical. What is even more confusing is that Mewtwo was cloned from a Mew. But its DNA strand was altered to create it, otherwise another Mew would have been cloned. Altering DNA exponentially increases the differences in the organism being cloned so it is scientifically impossible for another Mewtwo, identical in every way albeit the voice, to exist in this universe. Furthermore, the movie never reveals who cloned this Mewtwo. Was it Team Rocket? Team Plasma? We never find out. Realistically, if the process was repeated, the Pokemon being cloned could have looked a lot like my ex-wife. What they should have done is create another Mew evolution, the much touted MewThree concept, for example and just left it at that. But I just spent a whole paragraph talking about scientific accuracy in a Pokemon movie…I’m doing something wrong here.
Back to the movie. Mewtwo is apparently doing a Top Gun routine, try to push its powers to the limit by flying up into space. During this sequence, I can’t help but get “Highway to the Danger Zone” in my head. It decides that it doesn’t like space and goes back to earth. After the title crawl we are immediately (like, 1 second after) introduced to the Genesect (boy, these time slots sure are getting tight). These Genesect are trying to locate their home after escaping from a Team Plasma laboratory. As they were initially cloned from fossils, the world has vastly changed and is unfamiliar to them. The five Genesect appear to be looking for a rock formation in the middle of the lake but end up in the Andes. Guess they should have used a Garmin. Through the demands of the plot, Mewtwo chances upon the Genesect because one of them keeps begging to go home. Its voice is also annoying, I guess it is supposed to be a young Pokemon due to its high pitch. I just can’t stop tearing my headphones off every time it opens its mouth. Mewtwo learns that the Genesect are clones and offers to help them find their way. However, the leader of the Genesect, the Red Genesect, mistakes Mewtwo’s offer for an order and attacks it. Seems like an unreasonable fellow. Was he on a power trip to something? I can probably relate if I looked like a Happy Meal toy and was stuck in the mountains with a cassette player taped to my back.
After that diplomatic bumble, we are finally introduced to our infinitely young protagonist: Ash. Joining Ash have to be his most boring companions in the series thus far: Iris and Cilan. These characters suck, Iris is just an annoying character, has no personality, and has crazier locks than the famed “penis hair” meme from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cilan is even worse. This guy dresses like a gay hipster all the time, is blander than a sack of hammers, and always introduces himself as a Pokemon connoisseur. What kind of kid refers to himself as a connoisseur? How stuck up do you have to be? I just want to punch him in the mouth every time he introduces himself like that, it’s that grating.
So what are Ash and the others doing in New York City? Oh wait, it’s not New York City is it? That’s the real world. Sorry. I’ll go check on what the real name is.
*Some time later*
It’s called: New Tork City……….Fuck it, I’m just gonna call it New York City for the rest of the review as the writers didn’t give a shit. So anyway, the gang is there because they apparently are previewing a Pokemon reserve in Central Park before it opens to the public. Using this opportunity to shave off extra dialog sessions, Ash and co. let their Pokemon out to play in the reserve while a shitty pop song is playing in the background. During this sequence, Ash is shown to have his Charizard back. What? When did that happen? What have I missed? Since that question just goes unanswered throughout the movie, I skipped the rest of the sequence until we could get the plot going again.
Oh, in case you were wondering, Team Rocket is in this movie. No, they contribute nothing to the plot and their screen time amounts to less than 2 minutes. No? You weren’t wondering that? Sorry, Jesus.
After a couple minutes of plotless banter, Ash comes across the whiny kid Genesect, who, along with the others, had traveled to the city to find its home. The Gensect transforms into some kind of shell mode and Ash thinks that the Pokemon is hurt. What does he do to check if it’s all right? He stands on it. Just a heads up, idiot. If I was going to perform CPR on a person, I wouldn’t stand on the person I was trying to save. Because standing on an organism generally is not considered a warm act, even for Pokemon, the Genesect zips across the lake, with Ash still standing on it. Now this scene is ripping off the hoverboard sequence from Back to the Future 2. The tone of the scene suggests this is supposed to be a charming moment so it continues to let Ash surf on its back (the kid does have impeccable balance, I must say). The Genesect eventually reveals itself to Ash as a talking Pokemon and starts spouting to him that it wants to go home. Seriously, this thing never shuts up about going home.
Because we wasted enough time with talking scenes, we need to get some conflict into this picture, fast. Thankfully, the Red Genesect shows up and assumes Ash is an enemy and attacks him. It is shown that the Red Lego figure can control the other Genesect through a psychic link and they all attack en masse. This attracts Mewtwo who arrives to save our heroes from what would have been a minor flesh wound (anime violence, that sort of thing). Predictably, being the idiot that he is, Ash cannot recall seeing a Mewtwo before, or at least does not question why this one sounds like a woman. Do recall that in the special Mewtwo Returns, Ash had encountered Mewtwo a second time and his memory was not erased by choice, therefore he should have remembered seeing it before. This writing is so lazy it makes Transformers 2 look like The Empire Strikes Back. Mewtwo then proceeds to be a bitch and reveals that it was only trying to save the Pokemon in the fight: Pikachu. Wow, the humans just thanked you for saving their lives and you just reject their gratitude because you hate humans. Just learn to accept their thanks whether you like it or not, you whore! To bring Ash up to speed, Mewtwo outlines why the Genesect are here and in the process, mentions that it, along with the Genesect, was a Pokemon fabricated by humans. This causes a reaction from all of the humans present including Ash. Oh come on! He should have known that already! Human fabricated Pokemon is not a new concept, they had it in the first generation, for God’s sake? Wait, why is there all this Kool-Aid on my desk?
Cut to later that night. It seems that the Genesect are unruly squatters at the preserve and are looking to drive all of the Pokemon out while they work to build a nest within the preserve structure. It looks like this property wasn’t obtained with a mortgage for the Genesect but that’s something that I can straighten out later. Wait….why are they taking over the park specifically? I guess it either wasn’t mentioned or I was too busy drinking while the characters were talking. Sorry, I’ll put away my gin now. This nest has some design flaws as it shows that some of its roots extend down into the basement where there is a power generator for the whole city that is located under the preserve, cutting off the power supply. Who builds a preserve over a power generator, and did this movie just rip off Metroid Fusion?
So, of course Ash is the only person willing to do something about the situation. It’s not like anyone else can help him right now because Mewtwo, at this point, is busy having a flashback on the Brooklyn Bridge to its creation. In reaching the generator, the whiny Genesect appears to Ash and offers to help him. During this scene, the Genesect appears entranced by water lilies growing in a nearby pool. Oh dear, I can’t imagine how that will come into play in the future. The lead ranger of the preserve heads to a control panel and deduces that because the roots of the nest are damaging the generator, the whole area could explode and potentially wipe out the city. How did he know that? Surely that computer couldn’t have told him. Did he read the script ahead of time? I guess he was reading the script off the computer screen, makes sense.
Mewtwo finally snaps out of its drunken haze and challenges the Genesect to a battle. I guess it made eye contact or something. The Red Genesect squares off mano y mano against Mewtwo in a visually appealing sequence through New York City. This is the part where it starts getting good. Unfortunately, one of the Genesect’s stray energy beams strikes a skyscraper. “Hey!” Mewtwo says, “People live in there!” What? 20 minutes ago it didn’t give a shit about the welfare of 3 puny humans but one little building blows up and suddenly you’re Clark fucking Kent? They continue to battle without any more continuity errors (for now) and then Mewtwo cheats by reverting to its Mega-Evolution Y (I call it cheating because I think it’s a dumb mechanic) in an effort to beat the bug. Incredibly, this still does not help with the fight still drawing to a stalemate.
While that’s going on, the remaining Genesect soldiers face off against Ash and the reserve’s Pokemon. This offers a chance for several different Pokemon to showcase their abilities (much prominence is given to a Feraligater v. Genesect fight) and it is animated quite well. This is another moment that separates this movie from most of the Pokemon movies, an emphasis on battles, and it almost makes watching this movie worthwhile, almost. But then the Red Decepticon gets bored of fighting Mewtwo and wants a piece of the action. Ash, like a doofus, steps in front of the fight in what is probably meant to mirror a scene in the first movie. But since killing off a major human character would require another scene of Pokemon crying, the whiny Genesect takes one for the team and throws himself into the crossfire, saving Ash. For a minute there it looks like they killed the bug, which would have been wonderful. Could the writers really have taken that step into making the Pokemon universe a little more darker by killing off a Pokemon that…..oh, it’s only fainted. Son of a bitch. These damn creatures can survive just about anything, can’t they? I mean, forget 1st degree burns, drowning, major head trauma, or being blown up, spend a night in the hospital and everything’s A-OK.
With that potentially touching scene now ruined, the Genesect start charging up their final attack in formation. You can tell that by the long time it’s taking them to charge their attack that everything will be all right for our heroes. It completely saps the tension away. And to nobody’s surprise but the main characters, Mewtwo comes in and blocks the blast, resulting in another battle between the two (still a highlight). But it seems that all of this fighting has caused the Genesect nest to burst into flame, trapping 3 of the Genesect grunts. The whiny Genesect takes this opportunity to convince the others to switch sides and help put out the fire. This does not please the red overlord who continues to fight. But before it can continue, Ash steps in AGAIN between the Red Bionicle and Mewtwo in an effort to stop the conflict. Amazingly, for the first time in this series, this actually works, with all of the Pokemon joining Ash in the middle. Now even though the Red Genesect is hopelessly outnumbered and outmatched at this point, it still tries to be the biggest dick in the room and attacks everyone, causing Mewtwo to cheat again by using its Mega Evolution form to block the blast (isn’t that impossible since you can only use a Mega Evolution once per battle?). Mewtwo finally does what it should have done at the beginning of the movie. It grabs the Red Genesect and drags it into space. Wow. That was actually kind of epic. I can’t believe that Mewtwo actually killed another Pokemon in such an…….oh, wait. It’s not dead? Horsedick. I guess the writers reverted to the Jimmy Neutron school of physics when you don’t need an oxygen supply to survive in space.
Then this is the scene that really kills the movie. Mewtwo takes the opportunity to tell the Genesect about the world and how it differs from the one the Genesect inhabited. And because they’re in space, the Genesect cannot attack so Mewtwo has all the time in the world to talk to it. But then George Lucas snuck into the Pokemon studio and changed the words of the script so that Mewtwo says to the Red Genesect, “On this planet, all Pokemon are friends. You are my friend.” And the Red Genesect replies, “Everyone on this planet….is my friend.” It was that easy. This was sooooooo contrived in every sense of the word. It was obvious that the writers could not come up with a decent ending without not killing a Pokemon so they just did a rush job for the reduced hour and a half block that Cartoon Network would allow. (I wonder if the Japanese version was just as stupid?) Wasn’t this convenient that the main conflict was resolved in such a short amount of time when the antagonist was actually in a listening mood? You think that we could have bypassed the destruction of a major city and hospital bills for several injured Pokemon? I hope you’re happy.
Mewtwo and Genesect then return to earth but then an attack of the plot causes Mewtwo to lose consciousness on the way down. Despite Genesect having the ability to fly, it coincidentally is not able to slow the descent of the both of them. Even efforts by the remaining Genesect soldiers, Charizard, and Dragonite fail too. That’s when Ash, after raiding my gin, has the mother of all stupid of ideas. His thought process must have been like this: “Well, we need a cushion to halt their descent. Hey, water is soft, right? Why not create a cushion of water?) Um. No. That cannot work. Falling into a body of water from that height and at that speed is like running into concrete at the same height. Regardless of the medium, the two Pokemon should end up as chunks of flesh regardless. At least a mess on concrete is easy to clean up. There’s no way that it will work.
Now everyone’s all right and friendly with each other. Ash uses that scene of the flowers with the whiny Genesect to connect the dots and find its original home because that type of flower was abundant where they used to live. Mewtwo then congratulates Ash on finding the Genesect a home, completely missing the part when Ash hastily shoves the script into his pocket. He also left a few pages on the ground but Mewtwo doesn’t notice. Before leaving, Mewtwo evolves into its Mega Evolution for no good reason other than to use up the remaining animation budget, Show off. Wait, Why didn’t Ash mention that there was another Mewtwo to her, it, whatever?
This movie was just one big continuity error, especially when Mewtwo was on screen. The very existence of this Pokemon ruins the continuity of the series and of the laws of science. This isn’t the worst Pokemon movie, but it most certainly isn’t the best. I can’t really say that I recommend this to anyone but if you are willing to remove your brain and not think, you can enjoy this movie just because Mewtwo is still a cool character, even if it’s written horribly. You might need to do that for the next movie as well. And the next.
Final Score: 30/100
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