A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel is a 2016 Japanese anime film that's part of the Pokémon franchise. There's so much going on with so many different characters that only those who already enjoy Pokémon will be able to follow along. Somewhere in the movie is a message about humanity's indifference to the harm it has done to the planet. There's some cartoon violence: fighting, explosions, battles with lasers, fire, magic spells.
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What's the story?
In POKÉMON THE MOVIE: VOLCANION AND THE MECHANICAL MARVEL, Ash Ketchum (Sarah Natochenny) is on a quest to become a Pokémon Master. But this quest is thwarted when a giant Mythical Pokémon named Volcanion appears, and Ash now wears an electromagnetic belt that forces him to magnetize to Volcanion. Stuck together against their will, Ash must accompany Volcanion to the Azoth Kingdom. The Azoth Kingdom is a centuries-old society designed by a great scientist named Nikola. Nikola's greatest creation was an Artificial Pokémon named Magaerna. A corrupt councilor named Alva is trying to steal the "Soul Heart" of Magaerna and use it to conquer not just the Azoth Kingdom, but also Volcanion's Nebel Plateau home. Ash, with the help of Pikachu (Ikue Atani) and his other friends, must find a way to convince Volcanion that he should trust them, despite Volcanion's distrust of humanity, and work together to stop Alva and save Magaerna.
Is it any good?
This movie has a very wordy title, and may be confusing to kids. Also confusing is the number of characters: Unless you happen to be an obsessive fan of Pokémon, you need a chart listing all the characters, where they're from, and what their powers are in order to make heads or tails of this cast of thousands. It's easier to keep track of all the characters in the David Foster Wallace 1,000-plus page novel Infinite Jest than it is to keep track of all the characters swirling around Volcanion and Ash. The storyline isn't much help. Trying to separate all these characters by only their appearance and the varying degrees of annoying voice-overs and bad acting makes the challenge that much more daunting.
There's a quest, but that's derailed for another quest, and then there are flashbacks with steampunk overtones, and a message shoehorned in about humanity's damage to the environment and how it's wrong. And Pikachu sometimes says, "Pika! Pikachu!" when fielding questions from the other characters; there are times when this makes more sense than everything else. Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel quickly becomes a headache-inducing mess. For rabid fans only.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the connection between toys and movies. How do you think movies like Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel help sell toys to kids?
How does this movie compare to other anime?
Did you find this movie easy to follow or difficult? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: July 16, 2016
- Cast: Ikue Otani, Adolfo Moreno, Sarah Natochenny
- Director: Kunihiko Yuyama
- Studio: OLM-Animation Studio
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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