This is by far the best looking of any of the pokemon movies. The blend of CGI and animation is better than it’s ever been. It’s sad that Pokémon is not amongst the US dub of animes that are often thrashed in quality by comparison to their original versions, as well as aired in other countries, viewers of lore who now have to share our adversity and pain in this regard. Darkrai is fighting to save the town he calls home while Ash, Brock, Dawn, and others mistakenly assume he is one of the bad guys. In the end they realize they were wrong about Darkrai and feel regret and a deep sense of loss at Darkrai’s selfless sacrifice on their behalf. As you can read, the themes are a bit more mature and although Pokemon isn’t regarded highly in the states anymore, I think this film was really well done.
Rise of Darkrai represents the point in the Pokemon movie series when the production quality took a dramatic upswing. This movie begins a battle between the Pokemon gods of time and space, Palkia and Dialga that will span the next two movies. The unfortunate city of Alamos Town manages to get swept up in initially unseen conflict unbeknownst to its citizens. Meanwhile the nightmare inducing Pokemon Darkrai is being blamed for strange happenings in Alamos Town. These kinds of movies definitely show that the Pokemon series has plenty of life left in it. All in all, the plot moves a good pace that keeps the action coming, and almost every character and creature that appears helps out and make themselves useful. Any Pokemon fan will love this movie and those coming to Pokemon for the first time will enjoy it just as much.
The good things about this movie are mostly aesthetics. It’s both visually pretty and has quite nice music, at least in my opinion, so it works as eye and ear candy. But there is also a lot of wasted potential. I am primarily speaking of Dialga here; a Pokémon that manipulates time, and the only thing you can think of doing with it is one shot of a clock running backwards? I felt this was a cop out. I mean, Pokémon is hardly rocket science, and basically all this movie does is introduce Dialga and Palkia, two Legendary Pokémon from the “Diamond” and “Pearl” versions of the game. Other than that, the Dialga/Palkia battle is mostly rather uninspired and not that exciting.
Depending on your judgement, this film can go either way for you. As for me, I appreciated the visuals and the storyline but was let down when I started becoming invested in the story. All of the songs are dubbed into English which was a nice touch. The only surprise that The Rise of Darkrai holds is that, after all these years, it is still a worthy franchise and if they continue to make quality films, i’ll keep reviewing them. This is a film that you should see if this interests you and there are no gimmicky Pokemon or cheap plot devices. This film gets a thumb up and one of the strongest entries in the Pokemon franchise.