Patient: Pokemon 3: The Movie Profile: The third in this series finds Pokemon trainer Ash and redoubtable Pikachu struggling to save young Molly from the clutches of the Unown, a mysterious, alphabet-shaped life form. The Unown kidnaps the girl's father and creates a strange reality based on her dreams, tormenting her by creating a surrogate father in the person of Entei, a drippingly dressed Pokemon who looks like a Yeti just returned from a joyride in Rip Taylor's closet. Think Pokemon: The First Movie meets Night of the Hunter meets Pokemon: The Movie 2000meets Paris Is Burning.
Symptoms: The movie is intent on serving up a complicated plot at the expense of fun. As with the first movie which dealt with cloning and Movie 2000's apocalyptic center fed by man's disregard of nature, Pokemon 3, which deals with loss and its effect on children, sets up a lot that it can never deliver. Loose ends abound, and logic is nowhere. I mean, why would the Unowns, having kidnapped Molly's father, be so eager to appease her with a fantasy dad? And it's nothing short of ludicrous that Entei, a volcano Pokemon and therefore vulnerable to water, would be impervious against the hydro attacks of such Pokemon as Frowlagator or, perhaps, a surprise rock slide by, say, Onyx. I mean, c'mon! Do we look stupid?
Diagnosis: Entei defeating Charizard? As if.
Prescription: Enough with the complications. People, why not check out your Warner Brother mates over at Looney Toons? They've done okay during the past 70 years on the premise that big laughs always follow a guy with a speech impediment and a hard-on for rabbits. Lets keep it simple and —can't stress this enough—funny! Finally, we don't often get into performance in this column, but it bears saying that the time has come to rein in the histrionics of franchise mainstay Pikachu. His performances consistently have that gratingly sweet and over-the-top quality one normally finds in the work of child TV actors and Richard Dreyfus.
Prognosis: It's a cartoon, not the Upanishads. More stuff falling on people's head and jokes about doody, and everybody's happy.
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