My quest to watch all of the Pokémon movies continued with Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai, a 2007 film that is the first of 4 films set in the “Diamond and Pearl” era. This is the 10th Pokémon film overall and, to my knowledge, is the first to begin a storyline that is continued in a followup story (the rest of the films thus far have been standalone features).
Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai is a weird one, even by Pokémon standards. The closest thing I can compare it to is the third Pokémon film with Entei and the illusory world created by the Unown. Actually, in hindsight, that’s not a bad comparison at all, since the Unown are spotted in the dimension where Dialga and Palkia are fighting. But I digress…before all of that, the story begins with Ash, Brock and Dawn (no more May and Max, I’ll miss them) traveling to Alamos Town for, what else, a Pokémon tournament. Predictably, their plans become disrupted when strange occurrences begin disrupting the town, occurrences that appear to be caused by a mysterious Pokémon known as Darkrai, though not everything is as it seems.
I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until I watched this film that I learned what Darkrai looks like. Right up until today, I thought Palkia was Darkrai (in my defense, I’ve never played Pokémon Diamond & Pearl so there’s no way I could’ve known). That being said, Darkrai freaked me out just a little bit, though I’m hard pressed to say why. Something about his appearance is just unsettling. You know what else was unsettling? The extended nightmare sequence where the ghostly Pokémon are floating around. That’s when things really got weird in my opinion. I get that things can get strange when you have two massive Pokémon that can manipulate time and space respectively, but still, weird is weird.
One thing I did enjoy very much was Baron Alberto, which is to say I loved to hate him. Actually the entire situation with Alberto and Alice reminded me quite strongly of Gaston and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Alberto seems to think he’s entitled to Alice’s affections and he also doesn’t seem to be able to take no for an answer. But the biggest similarity? He’s determined to blame Darkrai for everything, he even rallies the other Pokémon trainers to take down Darkrai in an almost identical manner to Gaston rallying the townsfolk to go after the Beast. Quite an interesting parallel if you ask me.
But the thing I liked most about Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai is the role that music plays in the climax. It was already awesome enough that the Space-Time Towers are shaped like a massive musical instrument (they vaguely remind me of a lyre), but then to have the power of music be what it takes to get Dialga and Palkia to stop fighting, that just blew me away. I feel like music doesn’t always get its just due when it comes to storytelling, and to have a story not only acknowledge but emphasize the power that music can have, that’s just something special. I loved the sequence where ‘Oracion’ plays from the Space-Time Towers; it was beautiful and so, so well done.
While Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai did weird me out at times, I did enjoy the overall story. More than that, I’m eager to see where the story goes, since I know now that the next two films continue the story that was begun here. If you haven’t seen this one, I do highly recommend it. I’ve still yet to see a Pokémon story I didn’t like.
Let me know what you think about Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai in the comments below and have a great day!
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