Pokemon: The First Movie

  • Review Date: March 7, 2004
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Cooperation message buried under lots of violence.
  • Review Date: March 7, 2004
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

More arcane knowledge about Pokemons and their powers.

Positive 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.

Positive 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.

Violence & 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.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

 

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

 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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. Excruciating as it can be for parents to endure, this film will appeal to kids. 

Families can talk 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? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 10, 1999
DVD release date:March 21, 2000
Cast:Eric Stuart, Philip Bartlett, Veronica Taylor
Director:Kunihiko Yuyama
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
Run time:75 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Pokemon: The First Movie was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Parents, back off! Pokemon has a eartfelt message, YOU should listen to!

I'd like to start off by saying that i, myself, am a 12 year old boy. One that happens to be a HUGE fan of Pokemon. To start, i've read your Parent reviews for tis feature, and i persnally see them as completely untasteful. Is the fact that animals fight so horrible that you must enforce lies upon your children? I bet, if you were to turn on Animal Planet, you'd see some sort of documentary with, guess what, lions killing gazells, wolves hunting rabbits, ect. How good of a parent are you if you have to lie to your kids t have a sense of security among yourself. It's not like kids don't think, "Hey, maybe that Tiger I saw as the Zoo yesterdy killed a wild deer for food.". Pokemon only fight each other becase they want to grow strong. You may have heard the old saying "You cn only truly aprreciate one through battle"? I'm not sure which, but there was an episode of Pokemon in which two pokemon characters fought and fought, and then when Ash and Co. meet up with the two, they realize they only have a rivalry to make each other better people. Sure, there are bad people in Pokemon (Team Galactic, Team Rocket, ect.) But there is always a message of truth in Pokemon, how many times has team rocket gotten punished for commiting wrongs such as stealing Pokemon? There have even been episodes in which Tam Rocket has tried to be good, and had much more success in doing that then being bad. So all i ask of you Parents out there is that the next time to review a show, watch not with your eyes, but with your soul. Sincerely, Shiny_Pinsir
Kid, 11 years old December 10, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Nell Minow stinks!

Whoever wrote this review obviously was asleep for the whole movie and only heard about it from the drunk 80 year-old hypocrite sitting next to him. Pokemon is awesome. Many people grew up with it and if you don't understand it than don't bother.
What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bywhyamiusingthissite September 5, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

What's hideously annoying?

Pokemon is a Plural and Singular noun. Where in this did anyone use sexist treatment of girls? The child didn't appear dead he WAS dead, then the Pokemon used their magic healing tears,(I don't get it either) and he came back to life. Why is consumerism not an issue here when it is everywhere else in the Pokemon series? If I ever find the guy that wrote this thing I'll really give him something excruciating to endure. A five-hunded word essay on why Pokemon rocks, that he has to write, with a pencil, not a keyboard.
What other families should know
Great role models

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