Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns




Pokemon: Giratina & The Sky Warrior

Universal // Unrated // March 31, 2009
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Cornelius | posted April 13, 2009 | E-mail the Author
I don't dislike the Pokémon franchise so much as I merely ignore it: I've learned over the years as the father to a raging Pokémon fan how to properly tune out such things. The original TV series and the first few movies - which my daughter discovered in rerun form, changing her childhood forever - never clicked with me, what with the thin stories and mediocre animation. But as someone who grew up studying the arcane details of G.I. Joe and the Transformers, I know there's something special when a kid can discover a vast fictional universe all her own, with the details completely lost on the grown-ups.

But apparently I should've been paying more attention. Somewhere over the past decade, the Pokémon franchise evolved (no pun intended) into something surprisingly interesting. The eleventh film in the series, "Pokémon: Giratina & the Sky Warrior," might still be a pinch too thin on story, but the animation is vastly improved, allowing for a greater canvas for the imagination.

The second in a new trilogy of Pokémon movies, "Giratina" takes us into the Reverse World, an alternate universe built to counterbalance things in our own world. Here, gravity is sort of optional, growing and lessening depending on where you step, leaving the whole place looking like an M.C. Escher fever dream. The animators get playful here, allowing characters to float through wondrous landscapes. It's a marvel of invention, and I could stay there for hours.

Ah, but then there is the story, which is better than the clumsy stuff in "Pokémon: The First Movie" and its initial sequels, but still a bit too iffy to live up to the fantastic visuals. Ash (voiced in the English dubbed version by Sarah Natochenny) and pals discover Shaymin (Amy Palant), a telepathic, flower-like Pokémon who's been whisked far from home following a battle between the Pokémon titans Giratina and Dialga. (Parents: If names and notions seem foreign to you here, be assured that the first few minutes of the film contains a handy recap that works hard to explain it all.) There's something about how Shaymin needs to return to his (her?) meadow and rejoin all the other Shaymins, but as our heroes attempt to make the journey, they keep getting pulled into the Reverse World, where Giratina is repeatedly assaulted by the wicked Zero (Bryan Ferguson), the former assistant to the kindly Professor Graceland (Marc Thompson).

It's all part of Zero's plan to control the Reverse World, you see, although even if you don't, don't worry. The story sounds far more complicated than it actually is, mainly because the writers toss out a heap of ideas onto your basic heroes' quest story, but the clutter never keeps things from being relatively simple. Even if you get lost (like I did, despite my daughter's guidance) trying to follow all those characters, you'll still do well enough following along with the plot. Your kids, of course, will be clear on every beat.

What's really impressive about "Giratina" is its look. The film blends traditional animation with CG effects, creating a Pokémon project that looks simply amazing. Backgrounds shine with glorious detail, landscapes dazzle with pristine beauty, and monsters and spaceships (or, you know, the Pokémon equivalent of both) crackle with imagination. The character animation benefits as well, revealing a greater depth and improved detail. Have other recent Pokémon movies looked this good? Should I have been paying more attention to these newer features?

I think so. I'll have plenty of chances to catch up: a twelfth movie is already on the way, completing this trilogy; I can't doubt a thirteenth will follow soon, too. For a franchise built on video games and collectible cards, Pokémon has grown creatively as well. Who knew? (The kids, that's who.)

The DVD

Universal has released the English dubbed version of "Giratina" on DVD; this is the same version that premiered on Cartoon Network earlier this year. The original Japanese soundtrack is not included here, and I'm not sure if any edits were made to the original Japanese version. (I'd like to think not, but don't have any information one way or another.)

Video & Audio

"Giratina" looks simply stunning in this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The detail is superb, the colors are crisp, the black levels are deep, all showing off the eye-popping animation. Compared to earlier Pokémon titles, I'd never even have guessed it's the same franchise.

The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack also does a solid job, bringing a nice depth to the effects and music without overwhelming the cleanly dubbed English dialogue. A lesser but still impressive stereo mix is also included, as are English SDH subtitles.

Extras

None. A commercial for the latest Pokémon video game plays as the disc loads.

Final Thoughts

The high quality of the transfer is enough to make up for the lack of bonus material, although the real treat is the film itself, with all its unexpectedly imaginative moments. Fans of the series will enjoy enough multiple viewings to make "Giratina" quite Recommended.
Buy from Amazon.com

C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Recommended

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews
1. Fast Charlie ... the Moonbeam Rider


Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links