Ash Ketchum, his loyal pet Pokemon Pikachu and several others travel to an island in search of Celebi, a rare species of Pokemon. The creature is thought to be able to travel through time. However Vicious is also looking for Celebi.
The fourth Pokémon
feature follows the pattern set by the previous three--and falls into the same traps. The TV series depicts the modest adventures of Pokémon trainer Ash Ketcham and his friends Brock and Misty as they roam an imaginary world, fighting matches and making friends. The features add elaborate CG effects that don't mesh with the flat, drawn characters, and over-scaled threats that feel beyond Ash's abilities to resolve. Forty years ago, Sam, a young trainer, meets the 251st Pokémon, Celebi (it looks like Tinkerbell with a goldfish for a head). To escape a mean hunter, Celebi brings Sam to the present day, where they meet Ash & Company. They also meet the evil Iron Mask Marauder who's supposed to be a member of Team Rocket, but who's much nastier than the comically inept Jessie, James, and Meowth. The Marauder corrupts Celebi with a "dark ball" and forces it to create a monster out of trees, branches, etc., that is blatantly copied from the Night Walkerin Princess Mononoke
. Ash and his friends eventually save the day, the Pokémon, and the forest--but it all feels like we've been there/done that. --Charles Solomon