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10 Things I learnt from watching Pokemon-The first movie.

I must admit to being a Pokemon virgin - that is, until my son convinced me to take him to see Pokemon-The First Movie, I knew nearly nothing about this phenomenon.

With an open mind, I accompanied my kids to the movies, intent on enjoying the experience of sitting in the dark with complete strangers (it was air conditioned after all, and it was a scorchingly hot day outside). This document will chronicle what I gleaned from the experience...

  1. Evolution is Fact. Life forms evolve (that is, they change or mutate) from cute and cuddly to less cute but more powerful.
    Extending this logic for a moment, it would appear that palaentologists (sp?) have got the museum mock-ups of neanderthals and cromagnons all wrong! You can reason that because we have evolved from them, so they should look cuter, if we are high up on the evolutionary scale, we must be less cute than them but more powerful. It also follows that our cavemen ancestors couldn't have possible biffed each other around with clubs (or jawbones of an ass), dragged their significant others around by the hair or any of those un-cute activities at all. What is still unclear is the mechanism of evolution - I guess they will cover that in the next movie.

  2. Violence is the answer. I am unsure what the question was, but you can justify un-provoked violence by calling it a challenge. The neat thing about a challenge is that no one gets hurt or dies (in the Pokemon world, anyways). It is ok to wander up to a complete stranger and waggle your bulbasaur at them, and you will either win the match (taking you closer to the ideal of being a Pokemon Master), or you will lose the challenge and be free to leave without fear of prosecution

  3. Subservience is justifyable if it is based on friendship. An apparent double standard exists in the Pokemon world where they appear to resent being kept by their trainers (in tiny little prisons called pokeballs ... don't go there!), but enjoy their company as well - this is pseudo-masochistic, and probably not a good thing to model to kids.

  4. Genetic Engineering is simple, but humans should not be allowed to do it. We all know that the ethics of genetic engineering is waaay beyond the average adult Interestingly, kids can see the bigger picture, and have decided it is just plain wrong - mind you, the cloning machine was a fantastic gizmo that sampled genetic material and then synthesised either standard or genetically enhanced critters - I'll go for the enhanced every time.
    It is clear that adults must be really stupid - to create a genetically modified clone of the most powerful Pokemon, tie it up and expect it to be happy, well adjusted and well behaved - der! That is as implausible as the Deep Blue Sea plot of making a shark even more efficient as a killer, then expecting it not to want to eat you. I don't understand how the island that this cloning was taking place could have been destroyed, yet the cloning machine re-appeared later in the movie unbroken, working perfectly? I must have missed it's removal amongst the other action.

  5. Language and Expression are unimportant. When you cast a Pokemon, all they need to be able to say is their name. Scripts for the next Pokemon movie (most likely called "Pokemon - the second movie") should be relatively easy to write, as the main cast members do not need to engage each other in sparkling dialogue.

    Picachu: "Pica?"
    Charmelion: "Char!"
    Picachu: "Pica, piKa, pikA chu!"

    Mere repetitive uttering their name is sufficient to express even the most complex of plot developments and devices. This is reminiscent of the famous Skippy the Bush Kangaroo episodes where "tut tut"ing voice-overs represented existential expression for that famed marsupial.

  6. Girls really can do anything, but it is boys who have all the real adventures. This is possibly a product of the anime/Japanese influences on script and characterisation - the main character was a little boy (I think, difficult to tell with the dubbing) called Ash. Females were relegated to being stewardesses and hangers-on, leaving the real poke-business to the boys.

  7. Schooling is irrelevant. All worthwhile experience begins when you leave home. Our hero, being a primary school student, says his life didn't get interesting until he left home on his Pokemon adventure. Living off the land, and your wits, never looked so attractive. Me thinks kids in the real world might not appreciate the pokeman action they may need to resort to in order to live on the streets (did I just type that?).

  8. Insane Meglomaniacs can't be all bad. I am uplifted to see that something so totally evil could be turned to the good side of the force (oops, better not mix movies here) by a crying boy and a purple dinosaur with something that looks like a bulb of garlic growing out of it's back. I wonder if the UN tried that in Iraq, Indonesia or East Timor? Nothing else seemed to have prevented the large scale devastation.

  9. Greed is Good. To all Gordon Geko fans out there, sorry but I am not referring to his famous speech, rather to the basic Gotta Catch 'em all mentality of Pokemon fans. This manifests itself as school-yard bullying, theft and parent harassment to get the whole set of swap cards (including the rare Mew card). How tempting it is to invent spurious new names of fictitious characters to see who would admit to 'already having that card'
    Looking at the cards, there is a lot of information that basic Dungeon and Dragon players (or more recently, MUD/MOO players would recognise, with hit points, spells, powers etc). Some sophisticated game play would be possible if they got organised and actually read the information, rather than just reguritating lists of names.

  10. It is really hard to find 10 things to write about on a given topic, when the topic concerns something so banal and trite as to almost be comedic (if it were not taken so seriously by so many of our most impressionable minds).

Pokemon is mostly harmless I guess. I must be getting old.

What do you think?

Mail me with your ideas/feedback - I'll post it for others to see if you like.

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