Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution has just finished its opening weekend here in Japan and the theater was filled to the brim with Pokémon fans, both young and old.
This isn’t so much a review of the movie, rather a write-up of my personal thoughts, feelings, and observations about the movie. Let’s begin!
The movie is almost a perfect CGI recreation of the original Mewtwo Strikes Back, released in 1998. At first, the new CGI look did feel a little odd, but much like Detective Pikachu, it felt perfectly normal after a few minutes adjusting.
Many (all?) of the scenes from the original movie are visually recreated, titivated and given a sense of grandeur that 2D animation often can’t achieve. Attacks look powerful, completely overtaking every inch of the theatre screen, creating beautiful plumes of smoke and energy.
Once again—like Detective Pikachu—Pokémon models do feel strange at first; they’re given highly semi-realistic textured models, but still keep their cartoon-ish appearance. They look great though and two particular stands-outs to me were Gyarados, with its glistening scales, and Pikachu’s adorably fluffy face (sound familiar?).
All of the characters look impressive as well and their faces are super expressive, something fans seemed to have been a bit indifferent about when early trailers were released. Team Rocket look particularly great, but are hindered by a lackluster storyline for their characters. It’s always fun to watch them when they’re on screen.
Evolution really hits hard in the sound department, with sound effects to match the stunning visuals. Once again, attacks feel powerful and the booming bass of the audio system in the theatre literally shook our seats during some of the action scenes. The scene in which Mewtwo escapes his pod is outstanding.
An orchestral score is present throughout the entire movie and really makes things feel more polished than they were 20 years ago. I’m far from a movie music expert, but I thought everything sounded wonderful and every track felt like it was perfectly in tune with the on-screen action.
The ocean traversal scene was probably one of my favourites in the original movie and it definitely still is. It looks and sounds amazing like the animators really wanted their work to show the effort that they had put in.
It’s probably worth throwing out that the voice acting in the movie is also pretty great. Mewtwo has always sounded better with his original Japanese voice acting to me and its voicing is excellent this time around too.
The Other Stuff
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It’s every bit as good as the original, even with the minor changes that were made (additional/slightly altered scenes). There still isn’t much of a plot and stuff still happens in the same ways. I will say THAT scene is perhaps even more tear-inducing than ever and there were at least three fully grown, male adults sobbing and sniffing around me.
One of the most obvious scene changes was with Team Rocket and their Viking-esque boat. This time around they hijack a Lapras pedal boat that runs from the dock and end up losing control of it after activating some sort of auto-boost system. I actually prefer this new version of the scene; it looks, sounds and feels better than the original. It’s also much more… melodic… at the start.
The end credits are beautiful and feature what I assume are a bunch of layered concept arts featuring Ash, Brock and Misty.
Fitting all my thoughts about the movie into an article of reasonable length has been difficult. Evolution is a great movie and a perfect example of just how much The Pokémon Company really cares about their franchise, something fans seemingly need to be reassured about as of late.
If you have any questions about the movie feel free to drop them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them!