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Back in the early days of the Pokemon Franchise, when the original 151 Pokemon were all we had to collect to have officially caught them all. We all waited with bated breath for the first-ever Pokemon movie and after a long wait, we are finally granted our wish. We were treated to an incredible, epic story involving Mew and the genetically engineered super Pokemon, Mewtwo. This movie would serve as an incredible finale/continuation of the anime series and to this day, is still arguably the best Pokemon movie ever produced.
Since then we have been able to enjoy twenty-five Pokemon movies including a mainstream, live-action epic starring huge names such as Ryan Reynolds. A fact that is a testament to the longevity of the Pokemon series, with each movie telling a unique story that only adds more value to this already phenomenal franchise. However, not all of these movies are brand new stories.
We have compiled a series of guides that aim to walk you through every single aspect of the Pokemon Movies, giving you all the info you could ever ask for. In this Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution Movie guide, we take a look at Pokemon back in time.
A 2019 movie that is a re-imagining of the 1998 classic movie. Bringing this movie into the modern era and introducing a younger generation of Pokemon fans to the quintessentially epic Pokemon story. Without further delay, here is our Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution movie guide.
What is Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution?
Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution is a Pokemon movie that is based on the first-ever Pokemon movie ever Produced, Mewtwo Strikes Back. This movie was the 22nd Pokemon movie ever produced and was released in July 2019. This movie was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, produced by Yosuke Nagafuchi and Satoshi Shimohira, and written by Takeshi Shudo.
This project was aimed at newer members of the Pokemon fanbase and older fans alike. Offering a gateway for younger fans to enjoy a modern rendition of an old storyline. Whilst offering a nostalgic and polished version of the movie for fans that were around for the first movie to enjoy.
Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution Plot Synopsis
The story of Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution begins with some exposition, where we find out that Dr Fuji and his team of Scientists have been contracted by Team Rocket leader Giovanni to conduct a series of experiments. These experiments were being conducted in the hope of cloning the legendary Pokemon Mew, harnessing this creature’s sublime power, and genetically modifying this Pokemon to create a new superweapon in the form of Mewtwo.
Years pass and the experiments have been successful, as the scientists have indeed created a sentient superpower which they have named Mewtwo. Mewtwo awakes from a long hibernation period and asks Dr Fuji about his origin and how he came to be. Dr. Fuji suggests that Mewtwo is nothing more than an experiment that deeply aggravates Mewtwo, leading him to unleash a wave of Psychic powers. The laboratory on New island is destroyed and the scientists including Dr. Fuji are presumed dead.
Giovanni was not on site for this and witnesses the carnage from afar. Then makes haste to the scene of the action to convince Mewtwo to work alongside him and hone his skills. This lasts for a short period but when Mewtwo becomes aware of his purpose as a superweapon, he returns to New Island once again and begins to plot his revenge against humanity as a whole.
This is where we join Ash, Brock, and Misty who receive a hologram message, much like several trainers in Kanto. This invites them to battle the world’s greatest trainer on New Island.
So naturally, the trio is keen to take on a new challenge and plans to head to New Island. This proves to be tougher than they initially planned as Mewtwo creates a huge storm, rendering boat travel useless and forcing skilled trainers to find another way. Plenty make their way via flying Pokemon or large water-type Pokemon but the gang doesn’t have such a resource to call upon.
However, in another hair-brained scheme, Team Rocket arrives in a boat that is disguised as a Lapras and they offer to take the gang across the water. All the while planning to steal Ash’s Pikachu as they often do. This plan also comes undone as the storm picks up but with the help of their Pokemon, they reach New Island.
Upon reaching the island, Ash and the rest of the invitees are taken by a hologram figure taking on the form of Nurse Joy to the inner sanctum. Here is where they encounter Mewtwo and after some explanation that he is in fact the best trainer in the world, the challengers battle Mewtwo, each losing to the legendary powerhouse.
As each Pokemon loses to Mewtwo, he confiscates the trainer’s Pokemon and uses them in the lab to create Pokemon replicas that will form his army. Ash’s Pikachu eventually falls to the fight of Mewtwo and they too are confiscated.
Ash doesn’t take this laying down and decides to follow Pikachu to where the Pokemon are being taken. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is exploring the laboratory. During this time, Pikachu, Team Rocket’s Meowth, and various other Pokemon are cloned, adding to Mewtwo’s army of replicas.
Ash finds his way down to the laboratory and locates the cloning machine, smashing it to pieces. Then leads the captured Pokemon to the battlefield once more to fight Mewtwo once again. They prepare to do battle once again when Mew shows itself and Mewtwo challenges the other Legendary Pokemon to prove its superiority.
Meanwhile, all the other clones pair up and battle one another as a grand battle ensues. This rages on for a while with most battles ending in a tired stalemate. However, Team Rocket’s Meowth and Ash’s Pikachu refuse to fight their counterparts.
Eventually being able to make peace with their clones. Thanks to this change in dynamic between the clones and the original Pokemon, plus the frustration of not being able to best Mew, Mewtwo launches a psychic blast into the fray, dooming the Pokemon below. However, Ash in an act of passion steps onto the battlefield to protect the Pokemon and gets hit with the blast, turning him to stone.
This leads to a touching scene where Pikachu runs to Ash and tries to revive him by shaking him, calling him, and eventually thunder shocking him. However, he remains encased in stone. This somber event causes all the Pokemon including Pikachu to cry and the energy of all these Pokemon feeling for Ash releases him from the stone casing and heals him, much to the joy of his friends and partner, Pikachu.
After this moment, Mewtwo realizes that he may have been hasty in judging the entire human race based on the actions of his captors. So he decides to repent for his actions, turning back time to a moment before the trainers were invited to New Island and wiped the memories of any event ever taking place.
How Closely Does Pokemon Mewtwo Strike Back: Evolution Stick to the Original Script?
While this movie is a step up in terms of animation quality, visual details, and musical stylings. The actual content is almost a shot-for-shot remake of the original movie. This is perhaps the most recognizable movie aside from perhaps Detective Pikachu or the Pokemon 2000 movie.
It was deemed too risky to change the storyline drastically and instead the directors and producers decided to make this movie with the original script still intact. The only difference of note between the two movies is that in the original movie, the opening scenes show a series of failed Mewtwo experiments that presumably perish as failed attempts to create a super Pokemon. In the new adaption, this part was left out.
Who Was In The Voice Cast?
Aside from the Pokemon cries which have been lifted straight from the original movie and anime. Plus the return of Rodger Parsons for the US narrator role and Rika Matsumoto reprising his role as Ash in the Japanese version, there were no other returning cast members for the new movie.
For example, the trio of actors in the new adaption who would play Ash, Misty, and Brock were Sarah Natochenny, Michele Knotz and Bill Rogers. Instead of the original actors, Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, and Eric Stuart. These new actors were able to offer decent performances throughout but it is widely accepted that the original cast would have been preferred as the original movie offered much more nuanced vocal performances.
How Was the Movie Received?
In terms of the critical reception for this movie, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. For many fans of the Pokemon series and newcomers to the world of Pokemon movies, this was either a burst of nostalgic fun or newfound excellence.
However, many struggled to get past the change from 2D anime-style animation to computerized and realistic 3D animation. Many thought that this dramatic shift was jarring, unsettling and did nothing to push the series forward. The film was ultimately given average reviews as a whole, with many praising the attempt to bring this great story back into the spotlight. However, the execution left a lot to be desired.
The average score for this movie was 44% based on nine professional review outlets and at the box office, this movie grossed $27 million. Which is a disappointment when compared to the original movie which managed to gross a staggering $172.7 million.
How Much of a Visual Upgrade is This Movie?
In terms of the visual charm that comes with this new 3D animation, while it there is an adjustment to be made for older fans. There is a certain appeal to this new style. The environments, battle animations, facial expressions, lighting, and various other aesthetic aspects of this movie are leaps and bounds ahead of their 1998 counterpart. Serving as a means of delivering a much more modern visual edition of this story.
The only slightly underwhelming aspects are that some characters have facial constructions that aren’t in line with the original models. Plus, at times, this animation can almost feel like a clay stop motion picture. However, if you come to this movie and view it with an open mind, it is easy to see the positive aspects of this excellent visual display.
How Long is Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution?
The movie has a runtime of about ninety-eight minutes or an hour and thirty-eight minutes if you prefer. This is slightly longer than the original movie which has a runtime of seventy-five minutes or one hour and fifteen minutes. This extended runtime is down to the extended scenes, several elongated establishing shots, and other trivial aspects. This is not down to any content which has been added to extend or add to the original plot.
Which Pokemon Play Starring Roles in Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution?
There are a number of Pokemon that play a vital role in Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution. So much so that it would be difficult to name all the Pokemon that participated in the film with at least a cameo role. So below we will list all the Pokemon that had extended screen time within the movie:
How Does the Musical Score Differ From the Original Movie?
In the original Pokemon movie, the musical score was widely praised for its mix of songs and themes synonymous with the Pokemon franchise. Whilst still offering musical stylings from some of the most popular musical artists of the time such as NSYNC and Britney Spears. However, Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution would take a different approach when trying to create a soundtrack.
The original theme originally composed by Billy Crawford was adapted and performed by Ben Dixon, which was dubbed Pokemon Theme Mewtwo Mix, and other tracks such as The Sad Truth and Keep Evolving also made a return. This score was much more in line with a conventional Pokemon soundtrack and leaned into the nostalgia factor without the need for any big names within the music industry to fill the void.
Conclusion: A Story Retold For Modern Audiences
Overall, this movie was a bit of a flop when compared to the lofty standards set by the original movie. However, it has to be said that this movie sticks to the original script which is excellent, tries to offer a new, modern visual style, which it does reasonably well, and in terms of capturing the magic of the franchise, this is still very much a well-produced Pokemon epic.
It allowed younger audiences to enjoy a classic Pokemon tale in a format that is familiar and comfortable to them and for that, we commend all those involved. This may not be your cup of tea but for the nostalgia alone, we say give it a try.