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Miramax Pictures presents
Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys (2004)

"We may live on a Pokémon planet, but nobody ever said that it's the only one..."
- Narrator

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: February 14, 2005

Stars: Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, Amy Birnbaum
Other Stars: Rachel Lillis, Madeline Blaustein, Ikue Ootani
Director: Kunihiko Yuyama

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Pokémon on Pokémon violence)
Run Time: 01h:38m:20s
Release Date: February 15, 2005
UPC: 786936269024
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ C+AA C-

DVD Review

For a flash in the pan, the Pokémon franchise sure has staying power. The newest movie spin-off of the 300-plus episode series, Destiny Deoxys, premiered last year on Kids!WB, probably because the last Pokémon movie released in theaters made like $6. Once again, the focus is on introducing a flashy new Pokémon (by the way, gotta catch 'em all, that's not a request; that's an order. Don't you have to go out and buy something for your kid about now?). This time, it's Deoxys, a psychic, DNA-based Pokémon (just assume I know what that means) that is apparently from space. As the narrator informs us, there are "dozens, possibly hundreds more" of the cute little guys to be found on Earth, and now we're in space, and I'll just assume the words "pokeball" and "pika pika" will eventually be included in the New Oxford English Language Dictionary.

Deoxys gets a long introduction, during which he comes to Earth to retrieve a small crystal trapped inside a meteorite, disturbing a group of scientists studying the crash site. Another Pokémon shows up and the two fight, injuring a young girl, Tory, in the process, before Deoxys is seemingly defeated. Four years later (and over 15 minutes into the movie), we join heroes Ash Ketchum and his loyal Pokémon Pikachu, who are traveling to the a futuristic city to enter Pokémon battles in a gym that looks like it probably cost about $4 billion, even though there doesn't seem to be any financial reward for participating in or running a Pokémon tournament.

Ash and his friends meet Tory, who is terrified of Pokémon due to her childhood trauma, but just as she is coming around (and 74 endless cutesy Pokémon montages later), Deoxys reappears and starts attacking the city, erects a force field around it, shuts off the power. Trapped inside the city, the heroes must race to figure out what the destructive new Pokémon wants. Not the audience, though, it's immediately obvious to us (hint: the scientists kept that crystal).

Though the more mature story doesn't retain the innocent charm of the TV series (assuming the series is still charming, since I stopped watching it literally 270-plus episodes ago), the visuals are much improved. From the credits, it looks like every major animation studio in Japan played a part in the production, and it shows. Character movement is very clean and computer-generated elements enhance the scenery and action without looking too obvious. The action set-pieces are very well done, even if they do borrow pretty liberally from other sources, including Spirited Away and, especially in the design of the alien Pokémon, Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Technically, this is a pretty nice DVD, with one major caveat: The feature is presented in a cropped full frame transfer, rather than the original widescreen. Of course, the same is true for every Pokémon movie released so far, so it's not unexpected. And the full frame transfer is very nice, with very bright colors, and totally free of color bleeding, motion blur, or serious aliasing/compression problems, even when there are more than 100 characters onscreen. The DD 5.1 mix is also surprisingly active; Destiny Deoxys is full of big battle scenes, and they all take advantage of all channels, with frequent front to back panning effects and a healthy kick from the subwoofer. A French track is also included, for those of you who like to pretend you watching a sophisticated foreign art film. Unfortunately, Pikachu sounds the same. I wanted him to hop around saying "le pika!" like the French cats in Pepé le Pew cartoons.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno
Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 22 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring Chicken Little, The Incredibles, Bionicle 2, Spider-Man: The Venom Saga, Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Sacred Planet, Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Trivia game
  2. Who's that Pokémon? gallery
  3. Japanese poster gallery
Extras Review: Destiny Deoxys is reportedly the first Pokémon film to come out without a companion Pikachu short (probably because it was already so long). I saw the one that was bundled with the first movie in the series, and it was like Merrie Meoldies on acid.

The DVD does include some other kid-friendly goodies, though, including a gallery of information about the new Pokémon introduced in the film (I'm sure all the vital stats, like weight, height, and abilities, are vital to the children whose skin has gone sickly gray from an overexposure to Game Boy-related radiation), images of three cool Japanese posters, and a trivia game that repeatedly, and rather forcefully, told me just how wrong I was for thinking I could ever be successful at a Pokémon quiz.

There is also a two-mnute On Location with the Director featurette, which is basically just footage of the Japanese animators scouting locations for the high-tech Larousse City in that most futuristic of locales, Vancouver.

Also find trailers for Chicken Little, The Incredibles, Bionicle 2, Spider-Man: The Venom Saga, Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Sacred Planet, and something called Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!, which certainly sounds promising.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

The seventh Pokémon movie, Destiny Deoxys isn't going to convert any non-fans, but kids will probably enjoy it. Me, I just watch it because the hypnotic commands from those adorable little creatures compel me. If anyone asks, that's also why I robbed that bank, OK? Because Pokémon told me to.

 


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