Like last year’s movie, I Choose You, the latest Pokemon movie The Power of Us is a departure from the past 20 years of Pokemon movies. Ash and Pikachu are traveling the world alone without their current human and Pokemon companions, which in this case would have been the class and Pokemon from the Alola region. The only familiar faces are Team Rocket’s Jessie, James, Meowth, and Wobuffet who lurk in the main characters shadows. Moreover, the main focus of the movie is not on Ash and Pikachu but on several new characters introduced in the movie.
Ash and Pikachu travel to Fula City during their annual Wind Festival when Lugia renews the wind power for the city. Fula City uses the wind Lugia gives to run the entire city for the whole year. At the festival, we meet 5 people: Risa, a young teenage girl who has ventured to Fula City to catch a Pokemon for her hospitalized brother, Rick; Margo, the daughter of Fula City’s mayor, who is taking care of an unknown sick Pokemon; Toren, a shy Pokemon researcher who can’t muster the courage to give a presentation of his findings; Callahan, a boisterous older man who bends the truth to impress his sister, Mia, and her sickly daughter, Kelly; and Harriet, an antisocial old woman who hates Pokemon. Everyone eventually meets up with Ash and Pikachu during a series of accidents and sabotages that threatens to disrupt the festival and possibly the city’s relationship with Lugia. Splitting the main plot into 5 separate side stories makes it difficult to keep track of everyone and everything, but it does make sense in the end to reinforce the main theme of the movie as said in the title, the power of us. Each character overcomes great difficulty with the help of a Pokemon friend, which Ash also states several times during the movie.
It’s odd not seeing Ash and Pikachu as the main characters, and the whole movie is difficult to follow despite the message at the end. The movie does reinforce the idea that in the Pokemon world, people and Pokemon are friends and partners and not owners and pets. It’s only when people and Pokemon work together in harmony does everything else in nature be in balance as well. That’s also the main reason Lugia gives Fula City wind in the first place; it had seen the people and Pokemon in the region working together in harmony. It really sends a strong message about the power of friendship as well as nature conservation.
During the end credits (which I’m not sure if Disney XD will show), you get to see stills of everyone after the events of the Wind Festival. At the very end, you also get to see the identity of the mysterious blogger who was covering the festival as well as Ash and Pikachu headed off to another adventure.
Compared to past Pokemon movies, I would rate this one a bit lower than some of them since the locales aren’t as exotic as a few of the past movies and because of the muddled plot. Still, the main message has several poignant moments that made watching it worthwhile.
Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us will air on Disney XD on December 8, 2018, at 7:00 PM EST