A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In POKEMON: THE FIRST MOVIE, human scientists have figured out a way to create a bigger and stronger clone of the most powerful Pokemon ever, Mew. The result is a sort of Maxi-Mew called Mewtwo. Mewtwo decides to go after that goal of all movie bad guys worth their salt, total world domination, by capturing and cloning all the Pokemons. Mewtwo lures the best Pokemon masters to his island for the ultimate battle. He points out that the Pokemons are slaves to the humans. Then each of the Pokemons must fight its clone in a sort of existential crisis. Then it all ends happily -- if hypocritically -- with everyone in favor of cooperation instead of fighting.
Is it any good?
Excruciating as it can be for parents to endure, this film will appeal to kids, especially Pokemon fans. Anyone who has ever seen the Pokemon TV series, played the game, or bought the cards knows what to expect here: The characters usually undergo some transformation or make use of a secret to attain power. This theme is interesting to kids who can feel overwhelmed by a world built on a scale that is often too large for them.
Kids, especially those ages 6-10, also love to memorize and sort endless facts. It gives them a sense of mastery, especially because they can do so much better than adults. And it becomes an important part of their social development, creating a shared language with their friends. This can be particularly meaningful for kids who are insecure about talking to other children.
Talk to your kids about ...
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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.