Anime Review | Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 29.10.2016

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Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages (UK Rating: PG)

Pokémon popularity is once again hitting the heights of its heyday, with trainers out there anxiously awaiting their upcoming holiday to Alola while also keeping phone batteries empty with Pokémon Go. Therefore, now is the perfect time for a new instalment in the long-running series of Pocket Monsters movies, right? Ash and crew find themselves between legendary Pokémon once again. This latest anime movie is out from Manga Entertainment has just launched across the UK and Cubed3 has the final say on how good it is…

It's unbelievable, but this is the 18th Pokémon movie! They have come an awful long way since Mewtwo Strikes Back in 1999. Since then Ash and Pikachu have travelled across many lands, gained and lost many companions - both human and monster - and, of course, has lost every… single… league. Maybe if he'd stop giving away his most powerful Pokémon he might stand a chance!


 
Back to this movie, though: the story begins over 100 years ago, when Hoopa appeared in its true form - a gargantuan Djinn-like Pokémon that took up residence in a small, simple town. Hoopa uses the rings adorning his six arms to open portals to anywhere in the world. He and the villagers there lived happily together, until the villagers introduced Hoopa to Pokémon battling. Hoopa became obsessed with showing he was the strongest and used his powers to summon the most powerful Legendary Pokémon to battle against, and then proceeded to take them all out in the blink of an eye...

Each of the anime movies has been based around each of the Legendary Pokémon, and this entry continues the trend, with the Legendary Pokémon from Pokémon X & Y taking centre stage this time. The problem, of course, with introducing more and more powerful Pokémon with each movie is it's difficult for power levels to make much sense after you've introduced Pokémon who can control space, time, and creation. Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages continues the trend, having the new Legendary, Hoopa, set up as someone who can take on many of the most powerful Legendaries at the same time! Kyogre and Groudon - one shot and they are done. Reshiram, Regigigas and Zekrom? Taken out in moments… Lucky that a deus ex Pokémon trainer appears who has been gifted with powers from the Legendary Pokémon Arceus… This trainer takes a special bottle - fittingly for the Djinn-type Pokémon - and sealed most of Hoopa's power within, leaving just the cute small version of Hoopa.

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Jump to present day, set during Season 5 of the cartoon series, covering the X & Y show, Ash is still travelling through Kalos with his new companions Bonnie, Serena, and Clemont - and Pikachu, of course - when they stop off in a Desert Oasis for some R&R. The group is then suddenly whisked away by Hoopa who summons them to him for… no good reason, really. Hoopa is being looked after by the grandchildren of the man who sealed its power and, through a strange series of events, ends up having its power unleashed.

What follows is an absolutely baffling story, which basically equates to a Pokémon story if made by Michael Bay. Random legendary Pokémon appear out of nowhere just to show off some big moves and then disappear. Ash and Pikachu stand on the sidelines and honestly may as well have not been there at all, other than to give a random pep talk. It's all muddled and frankly ends up feeling forgettable and rather pointless. There are some positives in that the movie looks good, with fantastic representations of the Pokémon and very smooth animations. Hoopa is one of the few Pokémon able to fully speak and he's done well as a happy but mischievous character that is bound to be popular with the kids - however, the voice actor's performance is nails on a chalkboard levels of annoying. Team Rocket even appears and gets a few almost funny moments.


 
4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Pokémon has been a staple part of children's cartoons in the West for over seven years and has had plenty of ups and downs along the way. Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages is definitely a low point. It may entertain children in the audience looking for some impressive big action pieces between Legendary Pokémon, but it's completely insipid. At least Pokémon fans have plenty of other things to look forward to this year.

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