After the massive success of Pokemon: The First Movie, and the ever increasing popularity of the franchise overall, Toho continued to produce more Pokemon films, though these would see limited release outside of Japanese theatres. Pokemon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown, was the last Pokemon movie to get a theatrical release outside of Japan until Detective Pikachu, but also received a hugely popular theatre release in Japan, coming in third that year to The Green Mile and Mission: Impossible 2, but only came to the UK via video a year later.
The film is set during the events of the third season of Pokemon: The Johto Journey’s, which focuses on the monsters and region from the second generation of games. The story sees series lead Ash (Veronica Taylor), Misty (Rachael Ellis), and Brock (Eric Stuart) travel to the town of Greenfield, where scientist Professor Spencer Hale has created a device to study the elusive Pokemon Unown.
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After discovering a series of ruins connected to the Unown, Professor Hale is sucked into a portal to their realm, which leaves his young daughter Molly alone. Searching for clues to her father’s whereabouts Molly accidentally summons the Unown, who use their powers to make her wishes come true, transforming her home into a giant crystal palace, and summoning the legendary Pokemon Entei to become her companion and protector. Investigating into the Professor’s disappearance, and the arrival of Entei, Ash and his friends end up being sucked into a series of illusions and warped versions of reality as the Unown and Entei try to protect Molly from outside interference.
Pokemon 3: The Movie- Spell of the Unown is definitely one of the strangest entries in the Pokemon movie series; a franchise that’s always been a little odd. Much of the marketing for the film was based around the inclusion of Entei, one of the three legendary beasts from the second generation of games, but when it comes to actually watching the film viewers get the odd twist that this creature isn’t really Entei, and that it, along with most of what we see happen in the film, are all illusions and constructs created by the Unown. Because of this the film has a very disjointed and dream-like quality to it; though it still proved to be hugely popular with fans, who actually praised it for having a more complex plot than the previous two films.
The film also came with an animated short, that aired before the movie, called Pikachu & Pichu, which saw the series’ mascot being left alone in the big city whilst Ash and his friends go off to organise a surprise. Pikachu, and the other Pokemon, meet the Pichu Brothers, a pair of Pichu, and end up getting into a series of misadventures across the city, before ending up back at their hotel in time for a surprise party Ash and the others arranged for them. This short proved popular amongst the fans, and the Pichu Brothers would make other feature film appearances further down the line, as well as getting their own mini-series, Pichu Bros. in Party Panic, on the Pokemon Channel; which was only viewable via the Nintendo GameCube.
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Whilst only hardcore fans of the franchise would continue on to watch future Pokemon film releases Pokemon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown proved to be the final time the feature films would get much notice outside of Japan until the release of the live action Detective Pikachu, and as such has stuck around in the memories of many fans as the last time they got to see Pokemon in the cinema.
Pokemon 3: The Movie was released in the UK on 13th July 2001.