Pokémon: The First Movie

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon...and we succeeded."
Dr. Fuji, last words

The very first movie in the Pokémon series of films.

A team of scientists creates Mewtwo, a superior clone of legendary Pokémon Mew. Angry at having been created and used by humans, he decides he's Gotta Kill'Em All.

It should be noted that this Pokémon movie is the only one that has real plot significance to the series, having plot elements set up throughout the first season of the show. Furthermore there is a made-for-television sequel called Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns that continues the plotline and themes.

Tropes used in Pokémon: The First Movie include:

  • All There in the Script: The three other trainers who made it to New Island (Corey, Neesha and Fergus) go unnamed throughout the whole movie.
  • Angst Nuke: Twice within the first ten minutes.
  • Anti-Villain: Mewtwo is dead-set between Types II and III.
  • Apocalypse How: Mewtwo tried to do this in a self-produced global hurrican with the eye around his own island. He even creates clones of some of the strongest Pokemon that he could find, just to make the world as human-free Pokemon world. Eventually, MewTwo changed his mind.
  • Apocalyptic Log
  • Badass: Several
  • Beta Test Baddie: Mewtwo.
  • Big Bad: Mewtwo, who starts off a Tragic Monster, but becomes a villain thanks to Giovanni's influence (Not that Giovanni ends up benefiting from this at all.) In the end, Mewtwo pulls a Heel Face Turn, though.)
    • However, it's possible that the real villain of the movie may be the original Mew.
  • Bowdlerize: The intro was severely shortened to remove references to death and human cloning. Also a case of Executive Meddling, as the original part of the intro dealing with baby Mewtwo and Amber was actually completely dubbed by 4Kids at the time of producing the American version of the movie, but was forced to be cut out by Kids' WB. It was later put as an extra in the Mewtwo Returns DVD.
    • Also, the complete meaning of the movie was changed.
    • This creates an odd moment at the end of the movie. While the American version goes with the "fighting is wrong" Aesop, they forgot to change Mewtwo's dialogue, so the moment where he learns his lesson, he states that it doesn't matter how you're born, but how you live your life that matters. If they were willing to keep that line of dialogue in, why not just keep the original Aesop altogether?
    • In the original, Mew believed that all clones are inferior to the originals. The dub changed it into a speech about how real strength comes from the heart (basically, just "We can take you!" rather than "You shouldn't even exist!")
  • Big Damn Movie
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Not a good idea to physically punch a psychic-powered clone, Ash...
  • Broken Ace: Mewtwo was designed to be the strongest Mon ever... unfortunally, he had some issues with the "designed" part.
  • Call Back/Continuity Nod: Both Mewtwo's fight with Gary Oak and his escape from Team Rocket's base happened in the TV series.
  • Captain Ersatz: Dr. Fuji to Dr. Tenma, the Astro Boy creator/father.
  • Cloning Blues: The main reason for this movie.
  • Conspicuous CG: Several examples, but the most conspicuous is the huge door to Mewtwo's arena. The original Japanese theatrical cut was almost wholly hand-drawn; the CG was added to the Japanese video release and that cut is the one that was adapted internationally.
  • Cultural Translation: Songs by American pop bands were inserted into the dub.
"We also rescored the entire movie with all new music that would better reflect what American kids would respond to."
—Norman Grossfeld
    • The English dub also throws in a Minnesota Vikings joke between Ash and Brock.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Mewtwo's first three clones (of the three Kanto starters' fully evolved forms) easily beat the real starters (Ash's Charizard lasts the longest, but then, he only lasts about a minute as opposed to 10 seconds like the others).
    • Footage is shown of gym leader Giovanni using armored!Mewtwo against several trainers in the anime, including Gary Oak.
  • Cut and Paste Translation: The English dub, especially when compared to later movies and the regular series. Even the dubber's DVD commentary has them admitting to having trouble during translation. There is quite a Broken Base as to how this affects the film's enjoyability.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the TV show. Human characters die and Pokémon are cloned and forced to fight to the death.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Ash brought back to life by Pokémon tears in the original version. At least the dub gave it a set-up early on.
  • Disney Death: Ash gets caught in a crossfire trying to stop the fighting, and is turned to stone.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Marill and Snubbull (in the tie-in short movie), and Donphan. Mewtwo's Signature Move (in this movie, at least) Shadow Ball. Corey (the Pidgeot trainer) may also count, as he greatly resembles the Cooltrainer design from Pokémon Gold and Silver.
  • Evil Counterpart: Mewtwo to Mew. However, it's revealed at the end that Mew isn't really good to begin with.
    • Almost all the clones to the originals, the only exception being Meowth.
  • Fantastic Racism: In the Japanese version, Mew believed that all clones are inferior to the originals The dub changed it into a speech about how real strength comes from the heart.
  • Floating in A Bubble: How Mew and Mewtwo fight.
  • Freak-Out: When told in the beginning of the movie that he is nothing more than a science experiment and/or a tool for the humans who created him, Mewtwo doesn't take the news very well.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Mewtwo
  • Gone Horribly Right: The page quote is a scientist's last words as Mewtwo destroys his lab.
  • Gratuitous English: The pirate trainer who challenges Satoshi (Ash) in the Japanese version speaks with this mixed into his Japanese, complete with a hilarious "Oh my God!" when he loses.
    • Rather appropriate considering the voice actor was an American singer named Raymond Johnson, who usually does Gratuitous English in the Pokemon songs he did later.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Mewtwo's belief. Justified in that he had only really dealt with two humans: the scientist who made him, and Giovanni. He might not have even thought so about the scientist had he not started destroying everything a minute after birth[1]
  • Is That A Challenge: By Mewtwo to Ash.
  • Killed Off for Real: The scientists that created Mewtwo.
  • Kung Fu Sonic Boom: During the Mewtwo vs Mew fight. With Psychic Powers, and it is awesome.
  • Little No: Misty's reaction to Ash's "death" and Pikachu's failed attempts to revive him with electricity is an incredibly quiet, saddened whisper of: "Please no..."
  • Manifest Destiny: Mewtwo's main motivation is that he is searching for his true destiny after two cases of Screw Destiny.
  • Mirror Match: The whole plot of the movie revolved around Mewtwo luring trainers to his island and making clones of their Pokémon, leading to a climax which sees each Pokémon fighting its clone. The downside to this is that, because of Mewtwo making the fight even by suppressing his clones' enhanced strength, that they're killing each other.
    • Well, all except Pikachu, who won't even lift a paw to defend himself against his clone's attacks.
  • Mon of Mass Destruction: Mewtwo.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Mewtwo.
  • Not So Different: Mew in the Japanese version is bigoted to the clones, exactly as Mewtwo to the natural creatures. This was, of course, left out in the English version.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Mewtwo.
  • The Power of Love: It helps win the final battle and bring Ash back from the dead.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the Japanese version: "Discharge, damn machine!"
    • Also, in the Mexican Spanish version, Ash refers to the same cloning machine as a "maldita maquina" ("damn machine," too).
    • It should be noted, though, that in Mexican TV, "maldito/a" is said pretty much all the time, sure its somewhat rude to say but is not considered swearing like its English counterpart.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Mostly played straight with Mewtwo, but averted with Mew.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cute, cheerful Mew in comparison to the badass, angsty Mewtwo. They even share matching force-fields.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The scientists who created Mewtwo did so in the hope that it would help find a way to clone one scientist's daughter.
  • Reset Button: Mewtwo apparently hits one at the end; not only are all memories of his plot wiped out, but the crew ends up back at the ferry station... during the storm. Effectively, he turned back time.
  • Restraining Bolt: Kinda-sorta-not-really. The armor serves its purpose (hey, Mewtwo didn't kill the trainers' Pokémon) up until Giovanni told Mewtwo exactly what his purpose was after Giovanni found him. Then Mewtwo goes Harrison Bergeron on the restraints and blows up Team Rocket's base.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Mew, who also passes for Cute Bruiser.
  • Science Is Bad: How Mewtwo views the scientists who created him. Strangely, this doesn't stop him from creating clones of his own.
    • Actually, his view isn't that science is bad, but humans, in particularly their USE of science, are bad. He is allowed to make his own clones because he will give their lives meaning, while the humans made him for (as was explained to him) pretty much no reason. "You are an experiment and your purpose is to be viewed in a tube."
  • Shout-Out: The subtitles for the movie (it actually has two, both are seen as correct however) are references to The Empire Strikes Back and Char's Counterattack.
  • The Social Darwinist: Mewtwo
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Pikachu refuses to fight his clone. It... doesn't really work. Weirdly enough, Meowth has more success with his.
    • As does Psyduck
  • Stealth Pun: The English dub has Brock say that he didn't know Vikings were still around while Team Rocket (dressed as them) are attempting to ferry them to New Island. Ash responds that "They mostly live in Minnesota!" This went over the heads of more than a few British and Canadians.[2]
  • Swiss Army Tears: The climax of the movie. Ash is brought back to life thanks to these.
  • Taken for Granite: Ash, see Disney Death above.
  • Take Over the World: This appears to have been Giovanni's motive for manipulating Mewtwo. Mewtwo then tries to pull this off himself with his cloned Pokémon...sort of; everyone would be wiped out prior to this, so he wouldn't really be "taking it over" from anyone.
  • Theme Tune Extended: The theme song for the first season of Pokémon receives a remix here, featuring the additional verses of the original theme.
  • Throw It In: The commentary remarked that Misty's "please, no" reaction to Ash's death was originally, jokingly ad-libbed by Rachael Lillis as "my bike!" when trying to find a workable two-syllable reaction to said event.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: "You can't do this. I won't let you."
  • Tragic Villain: MEWTWO is perhaps the most tragic villain in the anime's universe. The short written for it makes it even more tragic, which makes you feel sorry for the poor guy.
  • Turned Against Their Masters
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: None of the trainers or their Pokémon remember the events of this movie.
  • Villain Protagonist: Mewtwo.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • The Worf Effect: The montage of Mewtwo while under Giovanni's control shows him curb-stomping an Alakazam in seconds, and help capture a large herd of Tauros.
  1. Notably, the scientist was only into cloning so that he could find some way to bring his daughter Amber back from the dead. Before all the problems and destruction, Mewtwo had communicated with the attempted Amber clone telepathically, but she wasn't strong enough to survive the cloning process like Mewtwo was. Mewtwo certainly didn't have a problem with her.
  2. The Minnesota Vikings are a team in the National Football League.