I skipped ahead slightly in my exploration of Pokémon films and next went to Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, the ninth Pokémon film. Notably, this is the first film in the series to feature an all-new voice cast (no Veronica Taylor, no Eric Stuart, etc.) and boy does it show. After listening to six straight films with the same general voice actors it was jarring beyond belief to hear these different voices. But I digress, on to the story!
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea follows Ash, May, Max and Brock as they find themselves teaming up with Pokémon Ranger Jack Walker as the latter seeks to return the mythical Pokémon Manaphy to the legendary Temple of the Sea all while attempting to prevent a dastardly pirate from claiming the equally legendary Sea Crown. (On a side note, I couldn’t help but think about how much Misty would’ve loved Manaphy and the Sea Temple given her affinity with Water-type Pokémon).
Jarring voice cast aside, I really like this story. Water-type Pokémon have been among my favorites and this film is full of them. Plus, there’s some fantastic CGI animation of coral reefs and various sea life that is really well done. And of course I have to mention the Temple of the Sea is beautifully rendered as well. This is a place that I wish existed in real life and as crazy as it sounds, it was kind of giving me Castle in the Sky vibes with the architecture (that’s a good thing).
At last, after several films of wanting more Team Rocket, I finally got my wish!! Naturally Jessie, James and Meowth are after Manaphy once they learn of its existence, being the implacable treasure hunters that they are. They briefly manage to get their hands on the creature but the consequences are hysterical. I love Team Rocket so much, they always make me laugh.
And then there’s Phantom the Pirate, the big antagonist of the story. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not (I have a hard time gauging humor sometimes) but this guy made me laugh so many times. The way he talks, the way he acts, I just could not be scared of him because he’s so over the top. To be honest, the first time I saw him, I was reminded of One Piece (you know, cause he’s a pirate?). He also has the shortsightedness typical of most Pokémon movie villains, in that he’s so focused on acquiring the Sea Crown he’s completely ignorant of the consequences that come with seizing it (either that or he doesn’t care). On the flip side, maybe it was Jack Walker’s English voice actor but he kept coming across as super gung-ho from time to time (mostly when he called in to headquarters to give status reports). Let’s just say he had his own over the top moments that had me rolling my eyes (it’s a kids movie though so I’m not going to nitpick that much).
I will say also that the Sea Crown is probably not what you’re expecting it to be. I know I was taken aback by what it actually was (how IS one supposed to “wear” it??). That being said, I can’t really say anything bad about the story, it was fun, it was tear-jerking (yet another Pokémon film that made me cry), and if you’re looking for a good time you’ll definitely find it with this story.
Let me know what you think about Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea in the comments below and have a great day!
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