Originally a Japanese anime film, which was dubbed into English, Pokémon the Movie 3: Spell of the Unown is a companion piece to the Pokémon anime series, distributed originally by Toho. Ash (Veronica Taylor) and the gang arrive in Greenfield, only to find that the town is being coated in crystal by the psychic energy of a number of Unown, who have invaded the mansion of Spencer Hale (Dan Green) and his daughter Molly (Amy Birnbaum). Spencer is missing, and the Unown are responding to Molly’s imagination, and in doing so created an Entei (Green) to be a father to her. Entei later kidnaps Ash’s mother (Taylor), so Ash and the gang set out to rescue his mother, and stop the Unown.
- While it was ultimately just fan service, the return of Ash’s Charizard (Shin’ichirō Miki) is a welcome aspect of the narrative. This is because the showdown between Charizard and Entei is one of the most epic battles that the franchise had ever seen up until that point, with some quite exciting moments and fast-paced action.
- The infiltration of the crystalised mansion emphasises well the franchise’s core themes of family and teamwork, as Ash, Misty (Rachael Lillis) and Brock (Eric Stuart) use a number of their Pokémon, and work well together as a team.
- At this point in the franchise’s Johto saga, the quality of the anime took on a lesser quality, and likewise the animation quality of this film is noticeably lesser than its two predecessors.
- Yes, there were a lot of Unown to animate, but the fact that they were made with CG was not the way that they should have been made, with the CG Unown standing out like a sore thumb, a fact that infuriated me even when I first watched this film sixteen years ago at aged nine.
- Sure, the battle between Charizard and Entei was pretty exciting (if a little short), but the full six-on-six battle in the opening credits between Ash and Lisa (Lisa Ortiz) is easily one of the worst battles the franchise has ever had. It is very rushed, and the various Pokémon are all defeated with ease, making it a frustrating experience for fan and critic alike.
- Credit where it is due to the screenwriters for showing some imagination, but ultimately they have far too many ideas for the film’s seventy minute running time, with a considerable amount of ideas needing fleshing out and being quite rushed.
- The screenwriters clearly were unsure what they were doing with Molly, as she is written to be a character to be sympathised with, despite the fact that she is created to be an antagonist, the end result being a weak character whose presence in the film is simply irritating.