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Pokemon: The First Movie Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Plays a little like a pacifistic variation on Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon."

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It's just a sound-and-light show, linked to the marketing push for Pokemon in general.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 5+

Cooperation message buried under lots of violence.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pokemon: The First Movie is almost nonstop cartoon action from start to finish, and is not a good choice for kids too young to understand the difference between real and pretend violence. Dark, suspenseful music accompanies many scenes with explosions, storms, fire, falls, hand-to-hand combat, and what may be the deaths of important characters. Yet the film does contain some plainspoken messages about how destructive it is to fight, about slavery, and how "life is a great miracle and a great mystery." Because all of the Pokemon and their trainers in this film are tied to games, trading cards, action figures, and more, this first full-length movie appears to have two purposes: to entertain and to serve as a marketing tool.

  • Families can talk about the movie's theme of cooperation. What are some examples of how it's better to work as a team instead of alone or in competition with one another?
  • How does this movie compare with other Pokemon entertainments, like the TV show, video games and apps? 
  • Why do you think Pokemon has reamined so popular for so long? 

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: More arcane knowledge about Pokemons and their powers.

  • message true3

    Messages: Several humanizing messages are interspersed with cartoon battles and the overarching threat of the planet's destruction: Fighting to the death is a fight no one can win; the real strength of the Pokemon (and others) comes from the heart; it's not your origins that count, but what you do with your life that determines who you are; and would-be enemies should focus on what they have in common rather than on their differences.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Ash, the human Pokemon trainer who is the leader of the community, proves to be wise, courageous, compassionate, and loyal. He risks his life to stop a war that could destroy the world. Female characters fight alongside their male counterparts. An effort is made to provide background and motivation for the principal villain, who  is ultimately shown the error of his ways.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence and scariness: Continuous cartoon violence. A laboratory is destroyed by explosion and fire as the screams of those trapped inside are heard. In addition to vicious one-on-one struggles, fire, explosives, laser beams, and electrocution are used as weapons in various battles. The villain uses his psychic power to thrown characters from great heights, smash them into walls, knock them down, and capture them. Great windstorms and rainstorms with raging waters threaten the Pokemon team. For several minutes the central human hero is thought to be dead.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false5

    Consumerism:  Pokemon: The First Movie is tied to a vast franchise of products -- games, toys, apps, trading cards, action figures, etc. 

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue