For several years, Pokemon was the biggest thing in gaming, expanding from two original Game Boy games (red and blue) in 1998, to other consoles, a trading card game, and even a TV series. And that’s not to mention the hundreds of types of Pokemon toys that children (myself included) were constantly nagging their parents for. I embarrassingly remember being such a Pokemaniac that my username in the game was Pokejon (lame, I know). About a year after the first game’s debut, Pokemon released its first movie, “Pokemon The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back,” which was an absolute hit at the box office, where it became the highest grossing anime film in America. It still remains uncontested in the box office after almost a decade. Two other Pokemon movies have been created, but neither have generated even close to as much hype as the first. I would assume because they were released while Pokemon’s popularity was on the decline. After 100 more Pokemon were added to the original 151, people began to rapidly lose interest, probably because they were all too lazy to memorize 100 more Pokemon. I know that was the case for me, at least. After selling my Pokemon card collection for 200 Kuwaiti Dinars (around 650 bucks?), I officially quit Pokemon. My mom eased the transition by breaking my Game Boy, throwing it against the wall.
Pokemon’s first movie was so successful because not only did it grab the attention of all Pokemon fans, but it also attracted non-Pokemaniacs to watch. It’s kind of like how everyone watches the “Harry Potter” or “Lord of the Rings” movies, whether they read the books or not. The movie, itself, was not what you would expect from a Game Boy game. The plot was deep and meaningful and it was evident that a massive amount of work was put into the script. For those of you who haven’t watched the movie, it’s about Mewtwo and his creation. A bunch of scientists employed by Giovanni (the equivalent to Voldemort and Sauron, for you Harry Potter and LOTR fans) seek to create a genetically enhanced super-clone of Mew, probably the rarest Pokemon. The result is Mewtwo, who’s so powerful he could probably one-shot Godzilla. After discovering that he is an experiment and a clone, Mewtwo goes berserk, killing all the scientists, destroying the laboratory, and escaping in search of the purpose of his life. He decides that all Pokemon and their masters are evil by nature and plans to kill all of them and repopulate the world with cloned Pokemon. He rebuilds the lab and creates his own army of clones and the action begins. Thankfully, the ending is a happy one, but I would rather not spoil it.
The movie reflected the Pokemon game effectively, by showing in many scenes the essential concept of how Pokemon can be “caught” or “captured.” The movie was also deeply influenced by the Pokemon TV episodes. Some people go far enough to say the movie was simply a longer Pokemon episode with a more elaborate story. I agree somewhat, as the animations and voices of the characters were exactly the same. It can be a good or bad thing depending on who the viewer is. But, either way, I believe it’s safe to say that the Pokemon movie represents the game it comes from a lot better than most other movies based on games. It was a great movie to watch again and I strongly recommend it to all of you who haven’t watched it before.
So much time has passed that I think we’ve all forgot how prominent Pokemon used to be. Here are some interesting facts (from http://pokemonaholic.com/pokehistory.html) that help remind us how dominantly Pokemon took over the gaming industry:
Six of the industry’s 10 top-selling video games in 2000 were Pokemon titles.
Seven Pokemon titles were responsible for 10 percent of all software units sold in year 2000.
As of February 2000, there were 12 Pokemon games for both Nintendo 64 and Game Boy.
By the beginning of 2000, nearly 27 million Pokemon games had been sold in the United States and more than 74 million Pokemon games had been sold worldwide.