Jirachi: Wish Maker (or, in Japanese, Wishing Star of the Seven Nights) is the first Pokémon movie that we paid no attention to while it was in development. We didn't check the prerelease material, and we didn't watch it when it did come out. In fact, we didn't bother watching it for 15 years. And by when we did, we didn't know anything about it beyond the fact that Jirachi would be in it, and that Absol would be in it (since Rosy has a plush of Absol that was made as merchandise for this movie).
We weren't alone in our disregard for the movie. This was the first Pokémon feature film to skip the theaters in the US and instead go straight to video. The movie also wasn't aired in Italy until 2012, and it was on a pay channel. Think about this: when the movie came out in Japan in 2003, Rosy was starting high school. When it finally aired in Italy, Rosy was about to graduate from university. Nine years had passed. Maybe Italy was still sore from the portrayal of Venice in the previous movie.
Our lack of interest in this movie is in itself indicative of the time when it was coming out. Those were dark days for Pokémon. For context, at the time of this movie, Ruby and Sapphire were new, and they were made as reboots of the entire series, which deeply betrayed us. We'll write in much more detail about this another time, but briefly: they're not bad games, but they're terrible sequels. They changed things in a way that seemed to deny what we loved about the earlier games. You couldn't revisit the previous regions, there were no old Pokémon except for Pikachu and a few others, there was no Team Rocket, there was no backwards compatibility, there was no night and day mechanic, there were no Espeon and Umbreon, there were no sprite animations. We're lucky we got a female playable character.
Although, we did not want the new female playable character to destroy and replace Misty. We don't hate May, but it's sad that she could only join the anime through sacrificing Misty, another character that we cared about. Because there can only be one girl following Ash at the same time. So, in this movie, Misty is gone, replaced by May. May herself is saddled with Max, her younger brother who is not yet of age to become a Pokémon Trainer, and who was made up for the anime and does not have a game counterpart.
The fact that Max is not yet of age is very important with regard to this movie. He wishes to have a Pokémon partner of his own, but he has to wait. But, in this movie, Max strikes a special relationship with a Pokémon. Namely, Jirachi.
Ash and his friends are stopping in the desert for a festival centered on a comet that shows up only once a thousand years. While they're there, they see a magic show put on by Butler and Diane, and Max hears a strange voice talking to him in his mind. He makes a bit of a scene, but it's okay, because Butler was looking for the boy who would be able to hear the voice of Jirachi and be its special companion. Jirachi is currently sleeping inside a rock that Butler and Diane are in possession of, and with the help of Max, it will awaken for the seven days that the comet is in the sky.
And so it does. Max and Jirachi become friends, until shit goes down and Butler turns out to have manipulated the situation to be able to use Jirachi for some nefarious plot. Diane helps them escape, and they go on a road trip to bring Jirachi back to its home. But it's a trap! Butler catches them and uses Jirachi to revive Groudon. But it's not Groudon! It's some creepy tentacle Groudon that destroys everything! They manage to stop it, and Jirachi uses the power it collected from the comet to give life to this forest, and goes back to sleep for a thousand years.
If this sounds haphazard and badly written, that's because it is. We tried our best to sum it up in a way that makes some sense, but this is what we had to work with. We have some things that we're going to discuss in more detail, but we're doing to do so theme by theme. This couldn't be the kind of article where we go through the plot and talk about it in order, because the plot of this movie is just a mess.
The millennium comet festival
The festival that the twerps are visiting only happens once every thousand years. That means, if you are alive for it, wow, count your lucky stars. But that means, assuming the Pokémon world is anything like our world... It's happened... maybe... three times before?
How would they have had the opportunity to develop a traditional festival for something so infrequent?
But anyway, Ash and company arrive to the desert, mentioning that the comet will show up tomorrow, and they find a big empty spot in the desert where they thought the carnival was going to be. They go to sleep disappointed, thinking they are in the wrong place. Then the carnival arrives in the night and sets up, so the twerps can wake up surprised and be all "uuuh".
Brock has been following a guidebook to know that this is the spot of the festival. Why wouldn't Brock's guidebook state the exact days the carnival was going to take place?
If they already knew the comet wasn't going to appear until tomorrow, then why not think, the carnival isn't going to start until tomorrow?
But then, why is the festival so lame? It's like a standard carnival, not bad or anything... but this is a once-in-a-multiple-lifetimes opportunity, and they're just having a basic carnival. Go big or go home.
This movie came out in 2003. The year two thousand had just happened. That's as close to a millennial festival humanity could possibly have. The writers of this movie had a real reference for a real millennial festival that had already happened. It was HUGE. It was a BIG DEAL. People thought the world was going to end. There was pandemonium. It wasn't just... the standard Fourth of July Carnival in the desert.
Also, the comet Hale-Bopp had just happened (in 1997). They had a real-life reference for an actual super bright comet that was in the sky for months. It was HUGE. It was a BIG DEAL. Cults were committing suicide. It wasn't just... the standard Fourth of July Carnival in the desert.
On the night the twerps arrive, May looks up to the clear sky and doesn't see the comet, and the rest of the group says, duh, it's because the comet only appears tomorrow and for seven days.
This is not how comets work!
Once again, the comet Hale-Bopp had just happened. Pretty much everyone watching this movie in 2003 would have been there in 1997, only six years before, to know that this was wrong. Leading to its brightest moment, the comet had to approach the Earth, and therefore started becoming visible with binoculars, then brighter and brighter until, in the peak, it was visible with the naked eye even before nightfall. If we are to think of the seven days as the peak time of this comet, which is drawn even huger and brighter than Hale-Bopp, then the day before it would have been still pretty fucking bright.
If the point of this line of dialogue was just to allow for a big reveal scene, they could have dodged this whole problem by having it just be cloudy on the day they arrive, and the characters could say, we hope it clears up in time for the peak of the comet tomorrow. Solved. In fact, the big reveal of the comet the following day does happen when the clouds clear and the comet becomes visible. So just make it be that it was cloudy the day before, too. Easy. And an easy way to make it be actually accurate.
And why did they need to have the carnival in a specific spot? The way they drew the comet, it was obviously something that would be visible around the world. Maybe it's because it's away from all the light pollution for the bestest experience. But, shouldn't this comet be celebrated all over? In real life, there would be lots of events and carnivals everywhere, but, in the Pokémon world, everyone is talking about this festival as if it's the only one.
But if they picked having this carnival in the desert for the sake of no light pollution, then there should be a lot of stars visible. But no, there's like five stars in the sky with the comet, and that's it. Either they ruined it with all the lights of the carnival, or else they didn't have enough budget for more than five stars.
The weirdest thing, though, is that, during this festival, no one seems to even be paying any attention to the comet itself. There are rollercoasters at day, fireworks at night, and then everyone goes to bed, and only May seems to be giving even a passing glance to the comet. If this is all about the comet, why aren't there more people spreading out picnic blankets every night to just look up at the night sky and watch the millennium comet. Isn't that why they're out in the desert anyway? It's like specifically going to the path of a total solar eclipse to play arcade games. This doesn't make any sense.
Jirachi is not a wish maker
Other Legendary Pokémon have something that is special about them, or something that they rule: embodying the raw power of an element or time travel or something. But Jirachi is the god of nothing. Most notably, despite its hamfisted design and "wishmaker" reputation, Jirachi doesn't grant wishes. When Max wishes for candy, all Jirachi can do is teleport the junk food from the festival stands to the trailer where they currently are. Jirachi cannot create candy from nothing, and it doesn't even seem to be able to teleport things all that well. As soon as Jirachi does the feat of teleporting the junk food from a few meters away, now it's out of energy and falls asleep, leaving the twerps with the task of returning all that food manually, offscreen. Thanks Jirachi. What a legendary. A legendary narcoleptic.
How did Jirachi even get the reputation of granting wishes if it's only been out and about for seven days every thousand years, and it can't grant wishes? The only wish that Jirachi grants is to be Max's Pokémon friend. By coincidence. Which is not even really addressed by the movie. Those watching the show would know that Max really wants to have his own Pokémon companion, but this plotpoint isn't even stated once in this movie... that's centered on... Max befriending a Pokémon.
So, Jirachi doesn't have any special power. Jirachi falls asleep whenever you need it. The star of this movie could have just as well have been an Abra. At least it would have had the decency to shut up.
Yeah, Jirachi is a Psychic-type Legendary Pokémon, so the movie is able to cheat and make Jirachi able to speak, handwaving this ability as telepathy. However, for all the benefit of Jirachi being able to have lines, we don't think any of Jirachi's dialogue needed to exist. Everything you needed to know was conveyed through body language already. 75% of what Jirachi says is just "cutely" repeating whatever Max just said anyway. Actually, 75% of what Jirachi says is dub-only.
As will be revealed by the end of the movie, it turns out that Jirachi's power or function is to be a glorified fuel cell to power one particular ecosystem. For this movie, the animators presumably went on vacation to China, and they based this part of the Pokémon World on Wulingyuan, a place of bizarre rock spokes and lush forest. The way the place in the movie works is, Jirachi emerges from its dormant state when the comet appears, it absorbs energy from the comet, and then returns underground where it gives that energy to the forest over the next thousand years.
However, Wulingyuan is a real place that really has this amazing habitat and amazing landscape, which, like Venice in the previous movie, was just lifted directly into the Pokémon World, and is depicted in ways that are somehow less amazing and fantastic than reality. We could maybe believe that Jirachi provides energy for some magical forest that otherwise couldn't possibly exist, but Wulingyuan does exist, presumably without any magical assistance, and hell, the place we see in the movie doesn't seem like it would have any trouble flourishing without such magical assistance either. So, it is both insulting to Wulingyuan to imply that it needs a magical fairy sleeping beneath it for it to be such a wonderful place, and it is insulting to Jirachi that it doing this whole routine for something that could be just fine without it. Because yeah, we really can't think of any reason why this valley would need Jirachi so much? And why can Jirachi only give its power to this valley, and not to any habitat it visits?
We could have believed that Jirachi was responsible for giving power to the whole planet, but why would it be the god of... this one valley in China. How did this even happen that the ecosystem of this place is dependent on energy from a comet, transmitted via Legendary Pokémon? Should we congratulate every other forest for managing to make do with just sunlight? Maybe if this place was in a cave without any light, and so Jirachi would be bringing the energy of the comet to the forest in the dark... but there's the sun beaming down and what exactly is the problem?
Another similarity this movie has with the previous movie is the unglorified stakes. In the Latias movie, the stakes were, "Oh no, they are going to destroy... this town." It wasn't a movie where the heroes had to save the world, no, just one town. This movie, similarly is, "Oh no, they are going to destroy... this valley." No disrespect to the town or the valley, but it sounds really weird for the heroes to be using their momentous hero voices when talking about saving... this valley.
Max and Jirachi
The whole point of the movie is that Max is forging a beautiful friendship with Jirachi over the course of seven days but... we don't... see that? Jirachi seems to... mostly be annoying - when it's even awake. And they run around together? And that's the most beautiful friendship ever?
This movie is centered on Max, and Max is such a non-character in the anime, we guess they didn't have any character to work with. Maybe that's part of why this movie sucks so hard.
An important theme of this movie is that Jirachi is only going to be awake for seven days, so it can only be with Max for seven days. At first it's all fun and games, but then Max realizes that this limited time is running out. On the side, May has bought a wishing charm that counts down the seven days of the comet; Max gets upset because she is essentially counting down the time he has left with his new friend. The way we are saying it, this sounds like an interesting way to further this theme, but, in reality, this one scene is the sum total of the development of this theme.
Max is supposed to be forging his special friendship with Jirachi over the course of their roadtrip together. But all we really get to see hammered home is May doing her wish dream catcher thing counting down the days. Which at the end of the movie she then doesn't even finish and throws away.
By the way, why is this movie portraying their roadtrip as such a wonderful and unique experience? Their entire lives as Pokémon trainers is that of a road trip!!! Is it so very different when wheels are involved?
Towards the end of the Japanese version of the movie, Max has a moment where he says that, if he and Jirachi needed to part after seven days, it would have been better if they hadn't met. Then, after the whole Groudon hullabaloo, Max instead says to Jirachi, I'm glad we met. There was absolutely no development or explanation for his change of heart. This was supposed to be the plot, right? It was two lines just said without anything to connect them.
The writers didn't establish either Max or Jirachi as characters, they just had them run around and noogie each other as the barest signal to the audience of friendship - like the friendship version of a villain kicking a puppy.
Why did Jirachi need Max to hatch anyway? We almost want to say it was a lie Butler made up, but then why would he be doing the whole charade of incorporating Jirachi's rock into his magic act with the hope of finding the one who would resonate with Jirachi? It must be true. Though how did Butler even know the rules of Jirachi's awakening?
Whatever the rules are, it doesn't seem like it necessarily needed to be Max in particular to bond with Jirachi, but rather just a "pure boy". Though we're not sure how much of a "pure boy" Max is, since his main character traits in the anime is that he is snarky and insufferable. How does no one burst into laughter when Butler reveals the rules of Jirachi and refers to Max as a pure boy? Especially his sister?
Considering that Max wasn't alive a thousand years ago, and won't live for the next millennium either (hell, he's dropped by the next Generation of the anime), Jirachi presumably had different "pure boy" companions in the past, and will have others in the future.
Jirachi tells Max that it will never forget him. We can presume it said the same things to the other boys that had come before. But it never mentions them or communicates in any way that they mattered or that they ever even existed. Hm. Well, it would be in bad taste to talk about its exes. Unless Jirachi is doomed to forget, and Jirachi is lying to Max as they say goodbye.
Why does Jirachi work like a unicorn? Or like some sort of little boy parasite? It wakes up to see the face of the new boy it will spend its week awake with, and then that boy is its entire world for the short time it is awake, and then it goes to sleep for a thousand years, and that boy will be long dead by the time it wakes up again. When it wakes up, there's a new boy for it to play with, and it doesn't seem at all sad that it will never see the previous boys ever again - if it can remember them at all.
What does Jirachi get out of Max anyway? Does it need "pure boy" energy in order to awaken? For simply entertainment? To be able to absorb the energy of the comet? Are we sure the energy comes from the comet?
The writers clearly didn't think about the creepy implications of these plot points...
Butler and Groudon
Butler is the epitome of man pain.
Okay, so Butler was giving a secret underground demonstration for the head honchos of Team Magma - the villain team that wants to summon Groudon in order to create more land. Butler had a scheme for resurrecting Groudon from a strange rock, and he thought Team Magma could fulfill their ambitions that way. Butler throws the switch, but didn't realize that Team Magma is cheap and didn't give him the good surge protector, and they blow a fuse. Rather than simply replacing the fuse, the Team Magma members all laugh, waggle their tongues at Butler, and tell him to get the hell out.
So, that's Butler's motivation for the movie. Wah, a few strangers made fun of me in private! I was so embarrassed, I now must devote my entire life to revenge!
Butler wants to resurrect Groudon, but not for the sake of resurrecting Groudon. He just wants to prove that his idea would have worked if they had paid the electricity bill. He just wants to get Groudon, march to that secret underground Team Magma hideout with Groudon in tow, and laugh and waggle his tongue back at them, see, I was right all along! And now Groudon will stomp you!
Maybe he should have tried joining Team Aqua and resurrected Kyogre for them instead, and then laugh in the face of Team Magma in that way.
By the way, how did Butler get mixed up with Team Magma in the first place? He was a magician as a kid, he is a magician now, and then somewhere in between he got all about resurrecting a primordial monster for the evil gang. Woah. What happened?
And if Team Magma wants Groudon so bad, why didn't they give Butler the resources he needed in order to resurrect Groudon? They seem like they are reluctantly listening to him, and looking for any excuse to shut him down, because his plan of resurrecting an elder god through a rock is somehow more bullshit than their plan of resurrecting an elder god through a meteor ✽. But if that is the case, how did Butler even get on this path and get an audience with them?
But then, what is that rock he had? Butler thinks that it's a piece of Groudon. But is it really? Butler uses the power of Jirachi and the little rock to create an abomination that looks like Groudon and devours everything in its path. If this rock is in any way related to Groudon, then is the reason why it was an abomination because of Butler's bad intentions causing it not to be the true Groudon? Or, is the rock not related to Groudon at all, and the monster is only in the shape of Groudon because of Butler's wish to resurrect Groudon? But what is it?? We would like something more than the 4Kids answer that it is EVVII~IIL. But there's no explanation in the Japanese version either.
And why was Butler so driven by revenge anyway? It's not like he was destitute, alone, and desperate. He's a successful magician, he has a supportive girlfriend, and everyone likes him. Why is he so fixated on that one embarrassing moment when he has so much more going on in his life? All because they made fun of his feefee.
And his name is Butler. Is it a nickname? Is it a stage name? Or did his parents really name him Butler? Maybe that's what sent him over the edge.
Diane and Butler and dub edits
As we said, one of the reasons why we find it hard to believe that Butler can be so consumed by revenge is the fact that he seems to have a pretty good life. He's got a devoted friend who's following him to hell, even though she knows it's hell. Like, shout out to Diane. The whole movie, she knows that Butler is making a terrible mistake, but she knows he won't stop until he realizes that himself, so she's waiting alongside him for him to give up his stupid idea and just kiss her already.
As much as we shout out to Diane, this level of devotion is not required. We spent most of the movie yelling at her to dump him.
In the Japanese movie, she does dump him. They split after Butler first gets his hands on Jirachi and tortures it, and she runs away to bring the twerps to China and return Jirachi to the forest. Butler's later lines imply that she specifically broke up with him before leaving, and that wasn't in the dub. ✽
After Butler's first attempt to use Jirachi's power, Diane pleads with him to stop. In the Japanese version, he says, he's so close, and disregards her. In the English dub, he insists that he's doing it for her. As if she cares what a bunch of strangers teased him for in private, and as if she had any hand in putting this baby-shaped Pokémon into a torture device. By the way, man, Jirachi screaming is really hard to watch. It's a baby stretched out and being compelled to open its stomach-eye while screaming. Trigger warning: Jirachi.
Midway through their roadtrip, May has a private conversation with Diane about Butler. In the Japanese version, the conversation is about how they've been friends since they were children, and Butler's great ambition was always to surprise people with his magic tricks, and she hopes that when the comet goes away and Jirachi is back in the ground, he'll be forced to give up on this ridiculous revenge and he can heal from all this. In the English dub, the conversation is about how Butler would always find a way to make her smile, and she always knew she and Butler would be together, and after all of this is over, he'll return to be the person he truly is, because it's not really him doing the bad stuff. If he's doing bad stuff, he's not truly himself, and so he can be absolved. Nice. This is the twisted rationalization abusers use and convince their victims of: that they are truly good deep down, and anything bad they do was not really them and so they don't need to be held accountable for anything that the real them didn't do. Good job, 4Kids. You could have kept the dialogue exactly the same, you know, but you had to make it awful.
Then, later, when shit is going down and Diane has been consumed by the Groudon monster, Butler has an idea, but he needs help from Ash, Max, and Jirachi (the last twerps still standing). His idea is to use Jirachi's power again, but this time put the machine in reverse. In the Japanese version, Jirachi's line is, "Butler wants to save Diane, I believe him". Because, after all, it's on Jirachi's skin -- it would have to go back into the torture machine, and who knows if Butler is going to summon Kyogre too since he's at it, but Jirachi believes that he's not betraying them all, and has good motives now. In the English dub, Jirachi says, "Butler can't be all bad, he loves Diane". So, because he loves her, that absolves him of all his wrongdoing. We need a bucket for puke.
Beyond these really gross dialogue edits, the 4Kids dub has another shitty feature. For some strange reason, everyone is constantly grunting and moaning and uh-ing. If the camera shows the character's face, they must make a sound. If they move their head, they must make a sound. If they are about to speak, they must first make another sound. 4Kids, what is up with this UH?
But yeah, Diane and Butler's relationship is complicated but believable in the Japanese version; in the dub version, their love is presented as being wonderful, but it's actually straight-out abusive. She asks him to stop, and he says she's responsible for his actions. She makes up fucked up excuses for him in her head, and the narrative around Butler is that he can't truly be bad if he says he loves her.
Anyway, at the end, Diane and everyone is saved from Groudon, Jirachi goes back to sleep, Butler gives up with his whole revenge plot, and Diane and Butler decide to stay in China. In the Japanese version, their motivation is to help restore the damage they did to the forest. In the English dub, it's because they're together now. Meaningful glance at each other. That's why they gonna stay together in this remote forest away from everyone else. To do some banging. And, we don't know, live on a paleo diet.
All the other Pokémon in this movie
This is one of those movies in which we forget that these characters are supposedly Pokémon trainers, and so did the writers. Beyond Pikachu (and Torchic for a split second), we don't see a single Pokémon belonging to the main characters. Even when the trailer is stuck in the mud, no one brings out a single Pokémon to help. Does Brock still have Onix at this point?
Because of this strange choice to not have the trainers use their own Pokémon in a Pokémon movie, they instead borrow the wildlife.
As soon as Ash arrives in China, he eyes a local Flygon... the Flygon looks back at him... later, he'll be riding it. Even though Flygon is six feet tall according to the Pokedex, this one looks to be more like twenty feet tall. Is it because of the power of the comet? Who knows.
Speaking of dragons, Butler has a Salamence which he rides while he's running away from the evil Groudon... the animators didn't even try to make Salamence look good. Not even movie glory could save this design. Sorry, but it still looks like a sausage with plastic wings. Salame nce.
Absol is strangely featured, but has no importance in the plot. It showed up to warn about a disaster! So it breaks the mirror and makes a mess. Well, it warned. About the disaster. That IT WAS GOING TO MAKE.
But no, Absol actually wanted to warn everyone about the disaster that Butler was going to make. Sure it could look a little less randomly destructive if it wanted anyone to not just throw it in a cage, as it happens.
But then it just follows the trailer during the road trip to China, and looks cool next to the comet. That's it. Much like in the games, it looks important, but it's just a Pokémon like any other. ✽
It's implied that Absol is friends with Jirachi. How can that be, if Jirachi is only awake every thousand years? Is this Absol a thousand years old?
The freakin' lullaby
Throughout the movie, there is this recurring plotpoint of May humming a lullaby that her mother used to sing to her and Max. They hum this lullaby several times for extended scenes throughout the movie, and it culminates in Jirachi's last wish being to hear the lullaby again, even though the audience never wants to hear May doing those doots doots ever again.
Then, at long last, the ending credits roll... and the ending song is the actual lullaby, not sang in doots doots but in full belted out glory. It's beautiful, and the singer has a hell of a voice, and, even more impressively, she was only 13 years old at the time. We think that what happened here is that, at some point during the production of this movie, they recorded this song, and whoever was in charge of making the big decisions must have thought it was too good to only be in the credits, so it was inserted into the plot itself.
Except, do we need the ending song badly foreshadowed through the movie as doot doots for no reason? Just let it be the ending song! The whole movie, we hated hearing these doots doots, but the song itself is indeed beautiful. Thanks for ruining it. They couldn't have May just belt into song through the movie like that and we get it, but then why product place the thing that is already in the movie?
The First Movie has the beautiful Japanese ending song and Mewtwo doesn't feel the need to hum it throughout the movie. Thank god.
Besides, even in-universe, singing this lullaby to Max is weird. He's seven. Why are they singing lullabies to a seven-year-old?
Because there is this line in the Pokédex:
So that's why Jirachi woke up while May was singing. Was it actually just May's song that woke up Jirachi, and the entire pure boy thing is utter bullshit?
What even was the point of this movie? It took a long time to do what exactly?
They started establishing a lot of things that never went into a full plot. May was doing the wish thing and we'll never know what she was wishing about. It ended up being a thirty-second plotpoint of, Max is sad that she's counting down the days. Ash and Brock were barely there at all. Especially Brock. His only role is to ogle at Diane until he realizes she's taken, which happens in the first ten minutes of the movie. We never know what even was the deal with Team Magma and the freaky Groudon, and why was Butler involved with any of this. We don't even know what was the Groudon at the end, or why did it go so wrong. What was the little rock that he was using?
Then this movie wasted soooo much time with the creepy Groudon eating everyone one by one, when it could have just been edited down to one tenth of that and still show the same things. The only really important thing to establish is, it's bad and destructive, and it ate Diane too. We don't need the blow by blow of, now it ate that particular Poochyena over there.
The main concept of the movie could be very interesting. Max meets a Pokémon that becomes his new best friend, but they can only be with each other for seven days, and Max has to come to terms with that. Give this very same plot to Miyazaki, and this concept could be developed into an excellent movie that will make you cry your face out. But without the establishing of the relationship, this movie doesn't stand.
Denise had one moment in which she was almost tearing up while watching the Japanese version. Ash was trying to explain to Max the value of his time together with Jirachi. Ash was having a hard time expressing himself, but the gist was that a thousand years of sleep might be like a moment to Jirachi, but your seven days together might be happy enough to be like an eternity. The dub, instead, changed Ash's dialogue to have one last posthumous Pokéshipping moment. 4Kids was always really big into shipping Ash and Misty, and they felt that pushing their shipping agenda was more important than having this key moment in the movie.
So, the core theme of the movie is the weight of the time you spend together with someone you care about. The Japanese version even has Team Rocket echo this sentiment at the very end. This theme could have so easily been tied into the plotline with Diane and Butler as well. Butler is doing his whole bullshit, and the point could have been made that, this may seem like a lot of wasted time for Diane, but if you ask her, it's worth it to be with and help Butler. The writers were almost there. Diane has her whole confession while being devoured by the Groudon blob, but it was just, I love you. Bye. And this makes him realize, oh shit, she loves me, now I have to fucking save her. MANPAIN
One of the reasons why this movie doesn't make sense is because it skimps on all the establishing in favor of the long drawn-out action scene that isn't momentous if the stakes aren't appropriately raised. We barely met Diane and Butler. We can't be too sad about them and their tragedy if we don't know them. We have one sepia silhouette of Butler doing a magic trick when he was a kid and that's all the motivation we get.
Beyond the lack of establishing, there is that, in the end, every single plotpoint is a question mark. Why is Jirachi the way it is? Why does it do what it does? Why is it narcoleptic? Why is it even known as the wish maker if it's only around every thousand years and it's mostly asleep even then? Why does it need a pure boy? Why does it only live in China? How did it get there? From space? Why does it turn into a rock? Why does it have the Eye of Truth? Why did Butler do anything? What happened behind the scenes that caused all of this? Why did Groudon matter so much? Was it a corrupted Groudon because of his impure wish, or was it just a wrong rock and a different elder god that took the form of the antiGroudon? Why was Butler with Team Magma in the first place, or rather in the middle of being a magician and then also a magician? But then at the end Butler and Diane become botanists? And in the middle Butler also became an excavator and a necromancer? Is it because he's a magician and he dabbled in necromancy? Maybe that's why he's going to be a botanist, reviving dead plants with his necromantic powers.
It has to be said that this movie is much more watchable in Japanese, since it doesn't have 4Kids' added sprinkle of abuse and uhs, but... one version or the other, this movie still sucks. It's bad. It doesn't make sense, and needs some actual writing of what they wanted the plot to be. This is a first draft full of extraneous shit. If you want this to be a good movie, it still needs a lot of work.
We wouldn't recommend it. This is the first movie so far that we really can't recommend in any way. With some of the other movies, we said the plots had problems, but the movie itself looked good. This movie even looks meh. It's all dark all the time, and the plot is so bad that we're not sure it could look good enough to offset that.
Our greatest wish in this movie is, please never doot that lullaby again. Not that Jirachi has the power to grant it.
- Which is what happens in the plot of Pokémon Ruby (and Emerald).
- In the dub, he just says some slightly deranged but ultimately inconsequential magician lines. Because of how 4Kids decided to present Diane and Butler's relationship, they'd need to remove the implication that Diane dumped him.
- Upon seeing Absol for the first time, Rosy and Denise separately thought it was a legendary. Rosy wasted every ball to catch it... and learn that it wasn't anything that special.