‘Pokémon’ is a huge franchise now – as well as the games, the TV series, the toys, the cards, and the app, we’re now on the 19th movie, ‘Hoopa and the Clash of Ages’. I was praying that this would improve after the last couple of films and show me that Pokémon in movie format was still worth watching, and not just regurgitating the same old content.
‘Hoopa and the Clash of Ages’ follows Ash, who is still on his quest to become the ultimate Pokémon master (come on Ash, you really should have got there by now), and his friends as they visit the new destination of Dahara City. Whilst resting at the local Pokémon Centre they encounter a very strange Pokémon, Hoopa, who seems to have a bit of a penchant for playing practical jokes. They soon find out that Hoopa is actually the smaller, contained version of the giant ancient Pokémon that the town’s history is based upon and, after Hoopa’s power is accidentally unleashed again, the team have to do what they can to stop Hoopa succumbing to the power and destroying everything around him (again).
My favourite Pokémon movies have always been the ones that focus less on the battling and more on the character development and interesting plot lines. ‘Hoopa and the Clash of Ages’ is definitely the former – super exciting if you’ve been waiting for a showdown including several legendary Pokémon, but if you want a bit more depth than that then it’s really not that great. The story seemed rather complex compared to the other ones as well, despite being the main part of the plot being the only thing that we ever get a glimpse of. It all just seemed a bit forced if I’m honest, as if the only thing that mattered in the film was getting to the end scene.
I also found the voice acting a lot more annoying than usual – although the regulars such as Ash and Team Rocket were done well (as always), the rest of the characters just got on my nerves. Sadly the most annoying one of all was Hoopa with its irritating “Were you surprised?” catchphrase (I still don’t get why some Pokémon can talk and some can’t), and so I found it very hard to feel any empathy towards it at all, which kind of made the story less meaningful.
The animation was really good though – there were some great CGI effects included that are probably the best ones yet. I still find Pokémon animations magical after all this time, as there’s just something about them than makes them better than your average Japanese anime. A lot of detail had gone into the landscapes of this particular film, which was a great touch to add. Extra points are also gained for having a scene filled entirely with Pikachus (some even in fancy dress)… No matter what you say, Pikachu is still so frickin’ adorable!
I definitely don’t think this was anywhere near the best of the Pokémon movies, and compared to the anime it’s frankly disappointing. It may still be entertaining for kids that aren’t perhaps quite so captured within the world of Pokémon as us adults that grew up with it, but if you’re a die-hard fan then I suggest you go back to watching the original ones again. 2/5
Hoopa and the Clash of Ages at CeX
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