Watching 'Pokemon: The Movie' As An Adult — 23 Infuriating Things I Noticed 14 Years Later

To this day, I haven't seen another line wrap around a movie theater like it did when the first Pokemon film came out. It was the zenith of the Poke-craze, and if your mom didn't take you to Hazlet Cinemas RIGHT NOW, there would be hell to pay. My 6-year-old brother and I used double-team, and saw it the first day, proclaiming it an instant masterpiece. Imagine the shock, then, when I watched it 14 years later and realize it's actually, well, not so great.

But I say this lovingly. The lens of nostalgia is eternally forgiving, and I still hold all my Poke-relics close to my heart. Pokemon Stadium, 2.B.A. Master, hell, I've taken the OG Red and Blue version on every vacation from ages 6 to 23. But it doesn't excuse the fact that the heavily hyped Pokemon movie is pretty terrible. Maybe that's because the show was secretly terrible, and Ash was hands down the worst Pokemon trainer of all time. I'm just saying, you gain a newfound respect for Gary Oak when you rewatch the series.

Anyway, let's take this one step at a time and break down (chronologically) the ridiculousness of the film, from Ash's delusions to the nails-on-chalkboard way everyone pronounces Pokemon.

And I'm sure you're wondering, will I do Pikachu's Vacation? No. No, I will not do Pikachu's Vacation, John.


1. This light-hearted children's film starts with a group of scientists trying to play god as they work on an assignment from Kanto's head of the Poke-mafia.

And the massacre that follows.

2. This pirate is looking to challenge Ash.

Probably because he heard Ash is the literal worst trainer ever and thought he could make some quick pocket change.

3. When this little yellow bastard...

...goes up against these monsters...

And murders them, even though Golem is a rock type Pokemon and electric attacks would be like ZERO PERCENT EFFECTIVE.

4. When Mewtwo waves his hands and makes it rain.

5. “It’s more than just rain! The harbor manager thinks this could be the worst storm ever!”

Of all time. In the history of the world. And she would know, because of all that meteorology experience she has from coordinating department business issues.

6. "Well I’m going to New Island anyway! All my Po-kay-mon are water type! We’ll just SWIM over to that palace."

Oh yeah? Your water Pokemon won't fly over there? Well, good luck trying to get a Tentacool through the hurricane, hope you enjoy the inevitable watery grave that awaits you.

7. "She's cute."

"She sure looks familiar."

Yes, Brock, that's Nurse Joy, there's literally one in every town, you would know that if you OPENED YOUR GODDAMN EYES FOR ONCE.

8. "Some trainers have no fear. To them, this is just one more challenge. They follow their hearts. That is what sets them apart and will make them Pokémon masters."

Except, um... except no. Collecting all 150 (151? however many there are right now, several thousand?) Pokemon is how you become a Pokemon master. Let's not try to jazz it up, it's pretty black and white.

8. Obvi Ash and friends gets on a boat with two vikings and their talking cat.


9. "I knew I recognized that face! Aren't you the nurse from the treatment center?"

Brock, literally everyone else on this show has that same face, I honestly don't know how you're able to guess this correctly.

10. The one female trainer in the group has the stereotypically feminine Pokemon.

I want to comment on how that's weirdly sexist, but Rapidash is my spirit animal, Vileplume is my role model, Ninetails is my beauty-spiration, Dewgong deserves all my hugs, Wigglytuff's a bundle of joy, and I still remember the first time I evolved my Wartortle into Blastoise. Sooooo... yeah.



Omg, Team Rocket, who do you THINK it is, get it together.

12. This adorable powerpoint presentation the scientists threw together as they were being slaughtered.

Sweet multi-tasking skills.

13. "Pika, pika pika!"

"So you say I am wrong?"

No, I'm pretty sure he said, "Pika, pika pika."

14. Ash's power move is clearly to break out the most willfully disobedient Pokemon in the series.

"Your Charizard is poorly trained."

Understatement of the century.

15. "You can't do this. I won't let you."

Says the literal 10-year-old.

16. "ALAKAZAM!"*

*not Alakazam, very much a Scyther

17. And then they play "Brother, My Brother" and it's all sad.

I'm listening to this and I'm like, "This is some kind of Counting Crows-esque band playing right here."

Sure enough it's Blessid Union of Souls.

18. "Pokemon aren't meant to fight. Not like this."


19. "You're right, we do have a lot in common. The same Earth, the same air, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what's the same, instead of always looking at what's different, who knows?"

This is a movie that features a character named "Wigglytuff," can we not?

20. Like if we're going to try to take this seriously, then Pikachu is a regular Martin Luther King, Jr.

All that non-violent protesting.

21. When Ash gets blasted by Mew and Mewtwo and then turns into stone because I guess he was made out of clay the entire time?

Pikachu's all, "What the actual fuck happened here?" which incidentally sounded like, "Pika pika, pika pi."

22. Then all the Pokemon cry and it's super sad when you're 8 but absolutely ridiculous when you're 8 and a half.

Like, what is this, how is this resurrecting Ash from his cocoon?

23. But the movie closes on a positive note, with the gang letting a mass murderer roam free.

I love a happy ending.

Images: Warner Bros./Netflix (23)