American Movie 4:
"Celebi the Voice of the Forest"
Japanese Air Date:
July 7th, 2001
American Air Date:
October 11th, 2002
Vicious (The Iron Masked Marauder), Yukinari (Sammy), Miku (Diana),
(Diana's grandmother), White-san ("Man")
The Forest of Ubame (Ilex Forest), Ateno Village (Arborville), The Lake
of Life (Lake of Life)
the God of the Forest, was being chased by a hunter. It
itself and a young boy named Yukinari into the present, where an elite
member of the Rocket-Dan, Vicious, is searching for it. As
searches, Satoshi-tachi come across the young boy and Celebi and help
nurse the little pokemon to health. Satoshi becomes friends with
Yukinari and Celebi before Vicious finally arrives. Using his
Dark Ball, a Monster Ball that turns the captured pokemon evil, Vicious
manages to catch the God of the Forest! Vicious uses the pokemon
to wreak havoc on the forest as Celebi uses the various leaves and
in the forest to create a giant monster! The Legendary Pokemon
wards off the giant monster while Satoshi catches up with Celebi to
it. He reminds it of the fun times they had before, and Celebi
out of its spell. The vine monster is destroyed and the forest is
saved, but Celebi is severely wounded. Satoshi and the others
get any reaction of the pokemon and, thinking it to be dead, start to
for their fallen friend. Suddenly, a bunch of Celebi appear and
heal the Celebi in Satoshi's arms. The pokemon are ready to
Yukinari to his own era, so Satoshi bids farewell to his friend.
Well, here we are
Monsters movie number four. Even if it's obvious that
Kunihiko Yuyama saw Princess Mononoke before starting on this
it's still an enjoyable film. In my opinion, this is the first
to have a comprehensible plot--movie one's plot was pretty minimal and
kinda fell apart after they got to Myuutwo's island, movie two's plot
too incredibly predictable, and movie three's plot was just
In addition, other than a few CGI parts that I'll mention later, the
and artwork in this movie are really well-done. I wish Kasumi and
Takeshi had a bigger role (other than Takeshi battling with Vicious'
he really doesn't do much in the movie at all), but those two always
the shaft in the movies. Anyway, this movie and the next one are
my favorite Pocket Monsters movies so far, and I can't wait to
what kind of movies they'll give us next.
So, what about
Well, a lot of interesting things are going on here. For
Miramax took over from Warner Brothers as distributor of this movie,
meant that the movie got a super-limited theatrical release. The
movie would rotate from theater to theater, never staying at any one
for more than two weeks, making it very difficult to keep track of
It also didn't help that there was no advertising or list of where the
movie would be playing, so fans who wanted to see the movie had to
play detective in order to find it. The movie was seen as a flop,
but given the circumstances of its release, it made a pretty nice chunk
of cash ($717,061 on opening weekend).
This movie is
because it's the first Japanese animated movie (that I know of) to
animated and added to the film by the American distributor. 4Kids
actually went and spent the money to have three scenes, totaling at
minutes and 26 seconds altogether, storyboarded and animated by OLM all
to drive home a major plot
in the film. Since it's by the same animators, the new scenes
look out of place at all, but it must have cost 4Kids a ton of money to
get done. Other than that, though, 4Kids did a good job with the
movie. To the surprise of everyone, they actually kept the
score! It feels really good to hear that music in the dub, and I
hope that all the future Pocket Monsters movies keep their
Suicune keep their
Japanese voices, because legendary pokemon are special like that.
The whole "World of
featurette, which has been used as an extra on the DVD's in the
wasn't present in the Japanese version. I think it's kinda
myself, since only the really hardcore fans would even be watching the
movie in the first place, but whatever. I'm kinda surprised that
Miramax didn't put this as an extra on the DVD or something, so
you watch the movie you have to fast forward through this introduction
before you get to the real movie.
Yukinari away, we go to the scene with the hunter being interrogated by
Vicious. Well, when the scene does the transition from the past
the present, there's a subtitle that says "40 years later" in the
version. This subtitle is absent in the American version.
sure 4Kids was just given a copy of the film without the subtitle (the
same way they get creditless opening songs from the Japanese
so they could have easily slapped on a subtitle in English. I
with as much trouble as the dubbers go through to dumb down the movie
make sure little kids get every single plot point, you'd think they'd
the chance to alert kids that the setting has changed. Ah
I also wanted to
that the Iron Masked Marauder's (God that's a terrible name) voice is
really bad. Give me Shirou Sano any day of the week.
4Kids leaves in all the liquor bottles left on the floor of the
trailer when I was so sure they'd paint them away.
The narrator starts
off with a seemingly harmless remark:
find our friends waiting for a ferry that will carry them to yet
Pokémon Gym as they continue their Johto League Journey."
None of the
ever mention Pokemon Gyms, ever. That would connect the movies to
the TV series, which they haven't done since the first movie (I'm
sure that the allusions to the other movies in the TV series are dub
In the Japanese version, the narrator just said they were going to the
I mean, there's
that this movie doesn't take place between any two episodes in the
For one thing, Satoshi has already visited the Forest of Ubame before,
back before he even had his Waninoko and when his Chicorita was still a
Chicorita. For another thing, throughout the entire movie,
never once thinks about the time he saw Suicune in the very first Jouto
episode. Surely with as many times as he sees it in this movie,
would have made the connection at SOME point, right?
opening song was redone. In the dub it's the fourth American
"Born to be a Winner." Also, like in the first movie, the dub
some dialogue during the song. In the Japanese version, before
sends out its Thundershock attack, we can see Satoshi's mouth move but
don't hear anything. In the dub, he says "Thunderbolt Attack!"
4Kids can't have anyone move his mouth on-screen without SOME sound
The reason this
so special is because of some redone/added scenes. 4Kids, in an
to make absolutely certain that little kids got the point that Sammy
Professor Oak are the same person, actually went to the Japanese
and got them to animate some new scenes for them. The new scenes
basically serve one purpose: to drive home the fact that Sammy
are the same person.
with Oak in the movie, 4Kids completely threw out the Japanese scene
had the animators redo it. Originally, Orchid-Hakase identifies
pokemon in the book as Suicune and tells Satoshi that there isn't a
lot known about it. He tells him that it's the reincarnation of
northern wind and has the ability to cleanse contaminated water.
Satoshi says he wants to see it again while Orchid-Hakase makes up a
about Suicune. Then Satoshi's Betobeta comes onto the scene,
smothering Orchid with affection, and an embarrassed Kenji (who's been
standing behind Orchid-Hakase the entire time) bids them goodbye before
cutting off the monitor.
version is a
bit different. Here's the dialogue that goes with the scene 4Kids
there's one more possibility. Did it look anything like this?"
All that was
They used the music used in the Japanese equivalent of the scene, but
with the Man's (White-san in the original) line and until the end of
scene, generic dub TV music is played.
Oak: "It was
of Pokémon is it, Professor?"
the legendary pokémon, Brock, and not very much is known about
And according to folk tales Suicune personifies the north wind and it's
believed to have the power to purify tainted waters."
[shows a picture
Ash: "Wow, I
I get to see Suicune again. It sounds like it's a pretty cool
me, kids, those tales are definitely true."
How do you know that for sure, Professor? Have you ever seen a
Oak: "Yes, I
have, but only one time."
on! We've gotta go!"
bye, Professor." [hangs up phone]
[cuts to Prof.
I should've told him before he hung up. Hmmm"
There are several
between both versions. For one thing, Kenji is in the background
of Orchid's lab in the Japanese version, but he's nowhere to be found
the dub. Geez, what does 4Kids have against
Kenji anyway? Also, White-san (the movie's random tour guide
for Satoshi-tachi) is sitting there on his bike watching the entire
but in the dub he doesn't come into the picture until he calls Ash to
to the ferry.
Here's another added
this time involving Team Rocket. Here's what happens:
"Don't you worry. We'll find Celebi."
While the last added
a purpose (to get kids to start thinking about Oak and Sammy being the
same person), this one doesn't serve any. It's just a random
scene, and basically exists to show off how 4Kids has made so much
off of Pokémon over the years that they can afford to blow all
money like this.
find some lunch."
a peach tree]
"It's a peach
tree! Grab that big one there Meowth!"
Jessie!" [leaps for the peach]
[all fall off from the Iron Masked Marauder's mecha]
fight each other for the peach, and in the struggle the peach flies
where it's taken away by a flying Pidgeotto]
[hears mecha stomping away]
Come back! Don't leave us!"
chip in for gas!"
[shot of the night
the moon shown to transition to the next scene]
By the way, this
dub music throughout.
As if 4Kids isn't
out enough of the obvious...
"Take it easy,
Ash. You might be hurt."
Ya think? Y'know, he's only lying on the ground, doubled over in
pain, after being falling a good ten feet from the top of a giant
Thanks for pointing that out, Misty. Appreciate it.
Is it just me or did
big entrance look really crappy? It was poorly-done CGI that
blend with the rest of the movie, and it just sticks out like a sore
And while I'm thinking about it, the vine monster (known as "Golem
in Japan), while nice-looking in photos, doesn't look as nice when you
see it in motion. The animators didn't even bother to give it
walking animation--it just kinda moves up and down, as if it's attached
to a popsicle stick and somebody off-camera is moving the stick up and
down. Instead of rendering CGI berries and CGI tree branches,
it have been a better investment to just spent a little more time
Golem Celebi at least one scene where it doesn't look like it's
across the forest floor?
You remember how, in
movie, they shifted a scene from the end credits to an earlier spot
in the movie to let kids know that Molly's dad made it back OK?
this movie has a similar scene with Yukinari. We see him return
original time safe and sound, but it was cut by 4Kids. After
disappears in the Celebi's flash of light, the scene shows Yukinari
at his own time, and he kinda looks around for a bit. Towa greets
him and asked him what happened and Yukinari, with a smile on his face,
tells her that he just had the most wonderful dream. I don't know
why 4Kids cut this, since it basically tells us that Yukinari made it
home alright. I mean, they even had the opportunity to drive the
Sammy-Oak thing down our throats even more by redubbing a few lines,
they didn't take it. Then again, can you imagine what they'd have
him say? "We'll meet again soon, Ash...and then, I'll be an old
with a lab coat and I'll live in Pallet Town, and I'll give you your
pokemon and will give you helpful information from time to time.
And you will call me Professor Samuel Oak, because that is who I will
up to be in the future..."
Here's the long
in the movie. It happens at the end:
were right, Professor. That Pokémon we saw was a Suicune."
Holy crap that was a
This movie basically told its audience everything short of screaming
Professor Oak and Sammy are the same person! THE SAME FREAKIN'
Seriously, we get the point already.
we met a Celebi, too. It even traveled through time!"
it sounds like you saw some very rare and highly unusual Pokémon
out there. Huh? What's the matter, Ash?"
said a single word yet. Didn't you enjoy your little adventure in
the forest, too?"
But, you see, I met this Pokémon Trainer and we got to be
But I...I just don't think I'm ever gonna see him again. He
to go back to where he came from, Professor...to another time."
can withstand the test of time and I have a feeling this one
I'm sure you and Sammy will be friends forever."
heh. Thanks Professor, I think so too."
better get going."
want to miss the boat again. We'll tell you everything when we
to Pallet Town, OK?"
I'm looking forward to it."
[Ash and the gang
Oak know Sammy's name? We never mentioned it to him."
right!" [whistle blows]
[Ash and the gang scream]
"Professor Oak's amazing! He knows everything!"
[Ash and the gang
[cut to Oak's
like it happened only yesterday..."
The ending theme, Ashita
Tenki ni Shite Okure, was replaced in the dub by "Celebi-R-A-T-E"
Russell Velasquez. It was a kinda catchy song, but it really gets
on your nerves by the end of the ending credits.
Well, if it weren't
the added scenes I'd call this the best-handled Pocket Monsters
movie yet. I knew that 4Kids would try to cram the idea that
and Professor Oak are the same person down our throats, but I had no
they would actually take the time and money to animate completely new
to achieve that. I liked the subtle nature of the plot point in
original version, but the fact that 4Kids is shouting that
to its audience really damages the film as a whole. If adding new
scenes that mess up the flow of the story is the price to pay for
the original music back, then I hope they just replace the soundtrack
the upcoming movies from now on.