Myutsuu no Gyakushuu or Mewtwo Strikes Backwas a box-office hit! It opened during the hight of Pocket-Monster fever and, as a result, recieved more attention and media coverage than any Japanese animated film ever released in North America. It maintains this distinction today (especially with the Walt Disney company's gross mishandling of the Studio Ghibli properties). Released for the first time in 1998, it was highly rated for some time and was sold out for weeks. In Japan, it opened on a Wednesday and many children skipped school to see it. In North America, due to demand, the release date was pushed forward (Opened on a thursday in November, by the way).
As the first Pokémon movie it was in itself new and intriguing. Viewers familiar with the show were enthralled and impressed by the much darker themes and plot. Young children were simply happy to see Pikachu's chipper face eight feet high.
Professional reviewers were of two camps – either they loved it, or hated it. Depending on who you were to ask, it was either “a brilliantly told story, with mind-blowing animation!” or “a piece of mind-sapping trash thrown to the American market”. Either way, it was a smash hit.
No Gyakushuu, when compared to Strikes Back was somewhat darker, a little more eerie and equally enjoyed. It lacked the preppy pop-music provided by 4Kids and boasted more intense insturmental background music. Mewtwo himself came across as a villain in the dubbed film, whereas he was more of a philosopher, and/or victim in the original. All in all, the dub was up-to standards (though not setting any), not the abomination many anime purists would have you believe. Although there are some errors, and the dialogue of one scene in particular rewritten to the point it is unrecognizable, the dubbed children’s film Mewtwo Strikes Back remains enjoyable.
The most enjoyable part of the whole Pokemon-in-theaters experience was most definitely the animation and sound quality. The television show paled in comparison to the bright, vibrant colours and effects. Those in theaters with surround-sound were treated to an awesome sound experience in which Mewtwo’s voice echoed eerily in the theater and inside one’s head. Sadly, this effect is totally lost with the VHS release, as is much of the colour quality, Mewtwo being almost inaudible at times. As the film begins, with the size of the screen, the viewer is given the impression that they themselves are trapped within the amber liquid of Mewtwo's embryonic chamber. If you have a large home entertainment system, or connection with someone in the theater business, call in your favors and give this reel another shot.
Mewtwo Strikes Back, and it’s sequel Mewtwo Returns were both rated PG, unlike “The Power of One” and “Pokemon Three” which were rated G. This is because these films were somewhat more intense and address more complex issues, though not in any sort of depth. The subjects of scientific ethics, identity, and self-responsibility need film's of thier own, and probably have them, somewhere in the bowels of the cinematic world. In other words, although the kiddies will go wild for this movie, some may be a little frightened. Older fans, on the other hand, may find parts cheesy. But nonetheless, Pokemon! The first movie! Mew versus Mewtwo! Mewtwo strikes back! (what a mouthful, you dubbers!) is enjoyable, and received a three-star rating, which it well deserved.
|Mewtwo and Amber||The script from the short film, Mewtwo and Amber|
|Myutsuu's counterattack||the translated script from the original Japanese|
|Mewtwo Strikes Out||The changes made from Japanese to English, and from VHS to DVD|
|Media Reviews||Reviews of Mewtwo Strikes back from published works|