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The First Pokémon Film Being Remade in CGI

Jack Gardner

Mewtwo Pokemon Evolution.jpg


Mewtwo returns to the spotlight in an upcoming reimagined take on the original Pokémon film, Pokémon: The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back. Released in 1998 in Japan and 1999 in North America to immense commercial success, its $30 million budget bringing in over $160 million. This spurred the creation of an ongoing film franchise of which the upcoming remake will be the 22nd. 


Pokémon: The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back tells the story of Mewtwo, a clone of the legendary Pokémon Mew. Armed with immensely powerful psychic abilities, the creature is used by Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, to absolutely obliterate anyone who stands in the evil organization's way. That is, until Mewtwo goes rogue and decides to take over the world. He lures trainers from all across the land to participate in a Pokémon tournament. Of course, it's all a ruse to use cloning technology to create his own army of powerful Pokémon. Ash Ketchum, the long-time protagonist of the Pokémon anime series finds himself and his friends caught up in Mewtwo's schemes and takes it upon himself to stop the Pokémon's ambitions.    


We don't know a whole lot about the upcoming remake, Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution, though the trailer posted today on the official Pokémon YouTube channel gives a feel for what the CG of the film will look like. Many fans have been comparing the cleaner, smoother look of the animations against the upcoming Detective Pikachu film's darker and more grounded visual approach to Pokémon. So far, there doesn't seem to be a consensus as to whether this is a better or worse direction to take CG Pokémon. 



With both Detective Pikachu and Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution releasing in 2019, we're about to have a year full of Pokémon. Thankfully, the two films won't be competing against one another as Detective Pikachu releases on May 10, 2019 and Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution will be hitting theaters in July. However, it will certainly be interesting to see how audiences respond to two very different visual approaches to the traditionally 2D anime series. 


I won't lie; this certainly scratches a nostalgia itch I didn't know I had. There was a lot of potential for the original Pokémon film that got muddled in its North American adaptation with cut scenes and altered dialogue that made Mewtwo more clearly into a villain than the morally ambiguous antagonist presented in the Japanese release. Also, the original film only had a runtime of 75 minutes due to the Pikachu short that showed before it in theaters. It's more than likely that Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution will expand on that story and better able to deliver on the original vision of the film than the version North American audiences received in 1999. Color me cautiously optimistic.


Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution will release on July 12, 2019.


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