Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Pokemon The First Movie: or How I Learned to Stop Hating and to Tolerate Pikachu

I’ve finished listening to the latest episode of The Book Was Better Podcast, after finishing the backlog literally yesterday (remember that whole consuming content thing), and the latest episode was about Pokemon: The First Movie, a movie which has a incredibly strong memory associated with it and I possibly enjoy recounting it more then I enjoyed watching the movie... which we’ll get to along the way.

Cast your memory back to magical far way land called the nineties, where there was a lot of disgruntled teenagers wearing flannel shirts and jeans trying to rebel by being dark and moody; kind of like today just only without the emo haircuts and hipster attitude, because we did that before it cool. Anyway little did we know that a bright and colour pop culture craze from Japan would take the world by storm and brighten up the darkest of our lives... well for everyone else that is, because unlike most of the people I knew at the time, I just didn’t like the show.

Admittedly at that time I was a young ignorant imbecile... just leaving in the pause to supply your own joke there... who decided that I didn’t like Pokemon for no real apparent reason. I think I thought it was just very cheesy and I admit it I just saw it as a cheap marketing ploy, which of course it was, but at that stage I hadn’t watched the cartoon or played the games so it really was just a stupid way of forming an opinion and I’ve changed my attitude since. My first real exposure to Pokemon came in the form of the cartoon and it really didn’t strike a chord with me, if anything I’m surprised I allowed what happened next to occur.

My best friend Evan was big into the Pokemon cartoon and wanted someone to go along to watch the brand new movie on the big screen at the cinemas, and I of course knowing my duty to him as my closest friend steadfastly refused to accompany him. Essentially I think my argument was along the lines of, “I can’t afford to go watch it, and even if I could I don’t want to watch a movie about a giant yellow mouse”, he countered by paying for my ticket, at which point I readily agreed to it.

Now at this time the ‘Senstadium’ was the new(ish) and biggest cinema to go see any film in, because why see it in a crappy small screen when you can just lounge back and watch some a movie that takes up your entire peripheral vision and never have to truly focus on the screen. So of course naturally we always wanted to go see any more in that cinema, and this being the brand new release for the school holidays we of course would watch it in there. Now I’ve mentioned the two single worst words for any movie goer dreads to hear, no not ‘small screen’ but ‘school holidays’.

Unless you are deliberately watching movies kids are not allowed to be in, any sane people would avoid the cinemas during a school holiday, especially watching any ‘kids’ movies, and double especially a movie that was that year's cultural craze, and yet here we were two “grown” “men” going along to see this film, one excited to see it, the other just glad to be out of the house and in air con. So after the usual buying tickets (remember when you used to be able to buy them at an actual dedicated stand and not at the candy bar where you have to wait for all the imbeciles to decide if they want popcorn and a drink with the movie that they still can’t decide to see???) we head into the cinemas and there is no line, and we think this is ace because obviously there wouldn’t be anyHOLY SHIT THE PLACE IS FUCKING PACKED FULL OF THE LITTLE FUCKERS!!!

It was filled to the point where there was literally only one row left that wasn’t crawling (literally in some cases) with the ghastly little bastards... the front row. Now remember what I was saying about this being in the big-big-big cinema? It’s the one where the best seats in the house about middle mid way up, which is by rough approximation about half a mile away. The front seats by comparison can be measured in feet distance away from the screen and you wouldn’t get into double digits. Well even though I knew there was going to give me neck and possibly eye strain, we decided to sit there.

Now I’m not sure how many of you have seen the aforementioned movie, let alone saw it in the cinemas, but before the ‘movie’ started there was a short movie that gets shown before starring Pikachu, who had by now become the symbol of everything I hated about Pokemon; namely an overly cute annoying thing that just seemed to be the most banal thing in history... so you can imagine my literal shock when all of a sudden I’m confronted with a 30 foot tall extreme close-up of Pikachu’s fucking face from less the 10 foot away from me. I actually screamed and jumped out of my chair, and after the shock worn off I think I started laughing my ass off at how dumb I was for being shocked by such an unexpected image. I managed to sit through the short and started to warm up to the furry yellow freak, and in some perverse way I think I preferred the short to the movie; at least it didn’t end in a sappy way (which now would send me bawling).

After that I was introduced to the original Pokemon games for the Gameboy, which I ended up playing on my N64 via Pokemon Colosseum because it was cheaper and I get to play it on my TV late at night, and slowly my hatred for Pokemon turned into a love for the game; although I never got into the franchise really beyond that, Super Smash Bros excluded.

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