Remakes are unavoidable. If something was popular in the past, Hollywood will find a way to cash-in on it in the modern, present-day. And, for whatever reason, Netflix and the powers that be decided that the 1998 original film, Pokemon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back needed to be remade in all CGI.
First, I want to point out that the CGI doesn’t look bad, it’s just that it is all the movie has going for it. There are some subtle differences from the ’98 original in terms of visuals like maybe the viewing perspective but those are negligible at best. And while some of the Pokemon look cool in this way, I would have much rather seen a fresh new movie rather than a remake.
As for the rest of the movie, there are only two things to point out. One- the plot is the same. I haven’t seen the original in a long time, but I am pretty sure that at least 80% of the dialogue is identical between that one and the remake. Whatever was changed, was also, you guessed it, negligible. The other thing to point out was the voice acting performances.
The original movie had all the original cast, which was something that is completely burned into the back of my brain along with all the fond memories of the earlier season of the anime. The new seasons have a completely new voice cast, which all sound so off to me that I just can’t enjoy it (not to mention, the newer episodes seem so much more childish to me, but that could be just because I have grown up). And while the performances in Evolution aren’t terrible, they are with all the new voices and that is just something that hits my ear wrong. This is one of those subjective things (sure, reviews are subjective) that I know should not impact my views on a movie, but they do.
Perhaps the biggest slight against the original, the remake removed the best line and joke from the 1998 counterpart. That’s right, Ash’s Vikings “mostly live in Minnesota” was removed and nowhere to be heard within the 2020 version. Naturally, I was furious.
There is nothing I would love more than to go over the remake scene-by-scene but the fact is, we have been here before with a better version of the movie that came out in 1998. Sure, I think it’s cool that Netflix partnered with the Pokemon Company to make an exclusive for their streaming service, and it is awesome that we are still getting new Pokemon films in 2020 (you know, because they make money), but I remake is the last thing I would have asked for.
The bottom line is this: if you want to see Mewtwo Strikes Back, watch the original and avoid this joyless, charmless, unnecessary remake.