Giratina and the Sky Warrior Review
Although I use the English name of the movie and its characters, I was watching the Japanese version subtitled rather than the English dub while actually writing the review. If I'm not using the correct official translation of some term or something, I'd appreciate a correction.
Thoughts and Synopsis
Blessingly, though this movie is a sequel to one, this is not a Legendaries Randomly Fighting™ movie. There are legendaries, of course, and in fact they do fight somewhat, if not as much as in your average Legendaries Randomly Fighting™ movie, but the big difference here is the lack of "randomly". This time the legendary fighting pretty much makes sense for the story and their motivations! Fancy that!
Anyway, one of the central concepts in this movie is the Reverse World, home to the Origin Forme Giratina. Though that part of it is distinctly reminiscent of the Distortion World seen in Platinum, it's quite different in practice; the Reverse World is supposedly a kind of twisted mirror image of the real world that supports it and keeps it stable. Though it doesn't appear as a mirror image of the real world, reflective surfaces in reality are represented by floating bubbles in the Reverse World that grant a window from there into the real world. Giratina, alone among the creatures of the world, can traverse the barrier between the real world and the Reverse World at will, but others can also pass through special portals which, again, are connected to reflective surfaces in the real world when they're open.
So the movie proper begins with one of the featured legendaries, Shaymin, shuffling through a grass field towards a lake. As she starts drinking, Dialga appears on another bank of the lake, but unlike the last movie, it seems relatively peaceful and just wants a drink like any interdimensional lord of time would. At the same time, however, Giratina is watching from the Reverse World through the reflective surface of the lake, and without warning, it creates a portal in the lake and emerges from it to attack Dialga and pull it into the Reverse World. Shaymin is caught in the suction from the portal and is dragged in with them.
Dialga wrenches itself loose and tries to get back out through the portal but Giratina pulls it back down. Dark, purple smoke emerges in the path of the two legendaries' chase, but Shaymin sucks it in. A Hyper Beam blasts Shaymin into the air, and Giratina approaches her, but she releases a Seed Flare, which produces a powerful enough explosion to create a new portal back to the real world. Shaymin is sucked back through it, and Dialga follows, intending to escape through this new portal; yet again, however, Giratina drags it back down. Dialga releases a strange ball of energy which immobilizes Giratina, and after that Dialga manages to get through the portal.
Giratina attempts to follow, but the portal closes. It opens another one, but as it flies towards the new portal, it is warped back to where it was before: Dialga has trapped it in a time loop, rendering it unable to escape the Reverse World. Giratina cries in anger at Dialga's reflection in one of the floating bubbles and attacks it, breaking it; this causes an explosion over in the real world, but Dialga shrugs it off with relative ease and disappears.
I suppose the writers realized their mistake in not using Dialga's abilities more in the last movie, hence its inclusion here (Palkia, meanwhile, is nowhere to be seen). Most importantly, Dialga actually got to do something timey that's not just making a clock spin backwards. That said, I can't say this supposed time loop makes a lot of sense to me. Time looping should not be equivalent to a convenient barrier; Giratina should be stuck flying up towards the portal forever while the time loop lasts, and once it's no longer active Giratina should be able to go wherever it likes. But hey; at least it's something, and I have the whole next movie to complain about the wonky Timey Wimey Ball time travel mechanics, so on with the movie.
Shaymin gets carried on the river current towards a city, where of course Ash, Brock and Dawn happen to be at the moment. Covered in dirt, she sneaks up onto the lunch table and begins to eat their pancakes before shaking herself and getting dirt all over everybody, after which she jumps onto the barbecue so that it explodes, absorbs the pollution, and uses a Seed Flare that creates a huge explosion and ruins all the food for everyone. Nice job, Shaymin.
Understandably, the Pokémon are mad, but Dawn just decides to wash Shaymin (she shakes herself vigorously again, spraying water all over Ash). Shaymin rambles incoherently through telepathy and Brock realizes she has a fever, so they bring her to the Pokémon Center and get her healed. Instead of being thankful, she insists she was just fine and that they should be grateful to her and burps black smoke in Ash's face before demanding that they bring her to the "flower garden".
For some reason they agree to it, likely because Dawn seems to have taken a bizarre liking to the most unlikeable legendary Pokémon of all time, but shortly after they set off, Shaymin starts screaming frantically and jumps out of Dawn's arms, and Team Rocket capture her. Dawn quickly gets Shaymin back, but Team Rocket are then promptly sucked into a portal that has just opened on some reflective sculpture in the garden they're traveling through; Dawn gets sucked in as well, and of course Ash jumps in after her.
Naturally, they're in the Reverse World. For some inexplicable reason Team Rocket landed somewhere totally different, and of course they will do nothing of worth in the rest of the movie. Giratina flies past them and Shaymin screams that it wants to eat her, so they try to attack it, but then a guy comes up and tells them they shouldn't make Giratina angry. Instead, he leads the way out of the open area through a warped corridor with lower gravity than usual, just one part of the generally freaky landscape of the Reverse World. Once they're safe, he introduces himself as Newton Graceland, a scientist who's been researching this place for five years. He explains the Reverse World to them and tells them he'll take them to a portal back to the real world. On the way, they come to a dark purple dust cloud in their path, and he explains that when a space-time disturbance occurs in the real world, those poisonous clouds form in the Reverse World as a way to counteract it. And naturally, the events of the last movie didn't go unnoticed in the Reverse World - with all the space-time disturbances then, the Reverse World was severely polluted. And that's why Giratina was so angry with Dialga - Dialga and Palkia's conflict had been disastrous for the Reverse World. Since Shaymin's Seed Flare allowed Dialga to escape, Giratina is seemingly angry with Shaymin too.
Giratina appears and Shaymin jumps on Ash's head to try to steer him to run away, but since he can't see a thing, she just steers him towards an edge and he falls - thankfully not far. Giratina lunges to snatch Shaymin, but she creates a Substitute that it catches instead; while Giratina is confused, they run towards the portal and conveniently emerge in the same sculpture garden where they came in, right in front of Brock. Newton doesn't come, but he sees them off with a warning to watch out for reflective surfaces, since Giratina can use them to see into the real world.
They move away from the garden as instructed, but are instead attacked by a group of Magnemite and Magneton that circle them. A mysterious white-haired man, Zero, who we've been seeing watching Giratina and the goings-on in the Reverse World on a computer screen, appears on a weird flying scooter thing and seems to be the one commanding them. He demands to have Shaymin, but they have Pikachu attack the Magnemite and run for it. They manage to get on a train where they seem to be safe, and Shaymin demands food and casually insults Ash. And Dawn defends her. What the hell.
Anyway, one way or another it seems to turn out the train is actually going somewhat in the direction of that flower garden Shaymin wants to go to, and they talk to some people on the train who tell them how to get there. One guy happens to have a bouquet of Gracidea flowers, and when their pollen falls on Shaymin, she transforms into Sky Forme and suddenly becomes much less obnoxious. She explains that all her friends will be in the flower garden and that's why she has to get there. Zero's Magnemite, Magneton and Magnezone burst in at this time, but Shaymin, Pikachu and Piplup work together to fight them off.
As instructed, they get off at a train station to take a boat, and there is the obligatory lengthy scene with cute Pokémon playing and pretty landscape. However, as the sun is setting, a portal to the Reverse World opens in the water, and of course they all get sucked in again. Worse, Zero and his Magnemite/Magneton/Magnezone follow, but again, they magically end up in a different place in the Reverse World for some unexplained reason.
Giratina appears, and Shaymin starts to fight it, but then the sun in the real world disappears behind the mountains, and as you may know, Shaymin can only be in Sky Forme during the day. So Shaymin transforms back into her scared, obnoxious Land Forme. She sits on Ash's head (because then he'll get eaten with her if it catches up, she explains nonchalantly), and they run for it, thankfully running into Newton Graceland again to take them to a safe place. Meanwhile, Zero admires the Reverse World, waxing poetic about how he's now back in his perfect world at last.
As Ash and the gang think they're safe, Zero's Magnemite come along and capture them, and Newton explains that Zero used to be his assistant. Zero tells them he's there to claim the Reverse World as his own and that the real world just keeps damaging the beautiful Reverse World. He then uses a machine to direct a poison cloud towards Ash and company (the Magnemite are of course not affected, being Steel-types). To save them, Shaymin sucks in all the pollution of the cloud, but it turns out that's all part of Zero's plan, because now he orders Shaymin to use Seed Flare (which it can only use after absorbing pollution) to open another portal to the real world so that Giratina can get out again. Which is kind of bizarre; how can that "time loop" render Giratina unable to open portals but perfectly able to go through a portal created by something else? Maybe the time loop is triggered when Giratina does what it did at the beginning of the first time loop, namely creates a portal? Either way it really doesn't make sense as a "time loop".
At least, Shaymin first doesn't use Seed Flare, but then Giratina comes along, and she uses it to defend herself, still convinced that it wants to eat her. Everyone gets sucked out through the portal except Zero and Giratina, and they end up on the ground near a glacier. Newton explains that Giratina just wanted to have Shaymin use Seed Flare to allow it to get out all along, and they watch Giratina emerge from the portal and transform into its Altered Forme. Zero follows, but suddenly there is a red energy beam that zaps Giratina: the source of it is an ominous spiky airship that we know belongs to Zero from some early scenes. A mechanism comes out and traps Giratina, apparently remote-controlled, and Zero explains he's been waiting for this all along; he could only capture Giratina if it came out to the real world, and Dialga's time loop was just a spanner in the works for him. So he leaves behind his flying scooter for some bizarre reason and goes to his ship instead.
Oddly, the sun is now coming up, which makes no sense, but I guess maybe time passes differently in the Reverse World. Newton tells Ash and company that he's the one who designed the machine that captured Giratina; it's made to copy all of Giratina's abilities (specifically, the ability to travel freely to and from the Reverse World), but Newton discontinued the project when he realized Giratina wouldn't survive the process. Zero was not happy, and as it turned out, even though Newton deleted his designs, Zero seems to have managed to reconstruct them in order to become the king of the Reverse World himself.
Newton, Ash and Dawn take Zero's flying scooter, and Shaymin transforms into Sky Forme again - because they've come to the Gracidea field they were trying to get to all along, and there is plenty of Gracidea pollen to go around. So they fly up to the airship, dodging Zero's Magnemite/ton/zone. (He doesn't seem to be worrying about it and just tells the computer to prepare for entering the Reverse World.) They land on the ship and Newton goes to enter it and stop the machine while Ash and Dawn fend off the Magnemite.
As the battle rages on outside, Newton gets to the computer and starts frantically pressing buttons as the scan gets closer and closer to completion. As always in movies, he manages to stop it when it's at 99%... and then I mean "stop it" as in "stop the entire airship from functioning". The near-dead Giratina falls down into the water while Ash and company escape on the flying scooter and the ship crashes in the forest nearby.
Giratina crawls out of the water and collapses, clearly about to die but still hanging on by a thread. Shaymin sits down on it and uses Aromatherapy to heal it (which I'm sure she wouldn't have done if she were still in her Land Forme, self-centered as she is, so Giratina is lucky it dawned so fast). Giratina is fine and all the forest Pokémon that have gathered around cheer.
The happy triumphant music is interrupted by a splash; a smaller ship that dropped out from the airship as it was crashing emerges from the water and shoots a beam towards Giratina before creating a portal and disappearing through it: Zero seems to have successfully managed to get the power to create portals to and from the Reverse World despite that the process didn't finish. There, Zero sees a bubble showing Ash and company and Giratina, and he attacks it, creating an explosion in the corresponding location in the real world. Giratina gets up to fly through a new portal to stop Zero, and Ash follows on the scooter with Shaymin.
Zero begins to attack large ice pillars in the Reverse World, which are actually supporting the glacier in the real world. As the glacier starts to break, Newton wonders if Zero is trying to sever the connection between the real world and the Reverse World. Meanwhile, however, Regigigas awakens in a dusty temple and begins a slow walk outwards, and a herd of Mamoswine watch from a cliff above as the glacier begins to crawl forward.
As Ash, Shaymin and Giratina battle Zero in the Reverse World, all the nearby Pokémon in the real world that can use Ice attacks use them to keep the glacier in place so it won't destroy everything in its path, but it still inches on. That is, until Regigigas appears over the hill along with all the Mamoswine and they unite their efforts to stop the glacier. Meanwhile, Zero continues to destroy the pillars in the Reverse World and manages to both temporarily bring Giratina down and nearly capture Ash and his Pokémon, but Shaymin comes to their rescue. Ash orders Zero to stop destroying the Reverse World, but Zero insists that it's the real world that damages the Reverse World and that he's protecting the latter (by trying to sever the connection between the worlds). He flies into a poisonous cloud (after closing the cockpit of his airship again; Ash is on the outside of it) but Shaymin sucks in the smoke. Ash asks her to use Seed Flare; Zero tries to shake them off, but Giratina grabs onto the airship at the last moment to keep it still. Shaymin successfully opens a new portal and Giratina blasts the airship out through it with an energy sphere. Zero's ship crash-lands beside the glacier, and Dawn's Buneary and Swinub along with the Mamoswine use Ice attacks to freeze it in place. Inside Zero's ship, the computers shut down and are unable to save Giratina's data.
Shaymin is sucked out through the portal as well and slides along the glacier; the cold transforms her back into Land Forme and she lands in Dawn's arms. Inside the Reverse World, Ash rides on Giratina's back as the legendary Pokémon uses its power to regenerate the destroyed pillars, stopping the glacier from crawling further. Finally, Giratina returns with Ash to the real world and then flies off again - Newton's scientific instruments detect that Dialga is apparently nearby and that must be where Giratina is going...
Then it is suddenly night again and dozens of Shaymin are crawling around in the flower garden (waaah, my poor legendaries-are-one-of-a-kind worldview), and we see yet another day dawning as the Gracidea flowers spread their petals. After Ash off-handedly thanks Shaymin for taking them there since it's so pretty, she actually proclaims herself thankful to him (and all of them) as well. In Land Forme, no less! Amazing. At least, all the Shaymin transform into Sky Forme and fly up among the petals before they head off to wherever they're going. And for some bizarre reason, even though Shaymin's been a complete bitch to him during most of the movie, Ash is all tearful seeing her go and wishes they'll meet her again. What the hell. I mean, sure, she's turned okay the last ten minutes or so, but really not enough to warrant being downright heartbroken about her leaving.
During the credits, we see Newton Graceland, along with some police officers, rescuing Zero from his frozen airship; Newton extends his hand, and Zero takes it with an actual smile, probably implying he's on a path of redemption. Also, we see Gracidea bouquets arrive for Ash, Dawn and Brock's families, and nature is already taking its course with the big airship that crash-landed in a forest, which is being happily eaten by wild Aron and Lairon.
Hm. Well, the pacing in this movie works out pretty well, especially in comparison to the last one. There is action and intrigue at the very beginning and after that there is never very long between interesting and/or action-packed scenes, so it's never boring.
The new characters the movie introduces, in general, also work out nicely. It's kind of fun to see a cute event legendary just being hilariously obnoxious instead of the playful, happy, friendly, childish types they usually tend to be; it's a nice change of pace that's really pretty entertaining to watch. Zero has the advantage of having both a personality, some actual motives and a backstory (fancy that), even if he's still plainly crazy and no paragon of character depth, and Newton being tied into that backstory is nice, plus that he's just fun and dorky and I like the idea of a scientist who's been researching this completely alien place and seems as familiar with it as the back of his hand.
The Reverse World is just very, very cool. The imagery looks awesome, fascinating but slightly creepy, and the gravity distortions are fun. You really understand why Newton ended up spending five years studying that thing.
...And, well, yeah. All in all, it's fun to watch, and that's its main strong point as far as I'm concerned.
Unfortunately, several things. First of all, the treatment of time is just altogether wonky. We see one sunset and two dawns, but both nights get completely skipped over with no indication that anyone went to sleep or anything. It could be time passing differently in the Reverse World for the first time, I suppose, but for the second they came out of the Reverse World in the middle of the day and then suddenly they cut to just before the dawn. I suppose they probably went back to the town, went to sleep and then returned at dawn, but it's really odd in the movie because there's no actual indication of it.
Second, even though I like Shaymin's obnoxiousness, the way the other characters react to it just feels all kinds of wrong. The only person who even seems to notice it is Ash, and even he tolerates it ridiculously well considering the way Shaymin treats him. Meanwhile, Brock never says a thing, and Dawn even kicks Ash in the leg for daring to suggest that their lives might be easier when Shaymin is gone! (Note that this was before Shaymin did anything likeable whatsoever.) How can they all be around such an obnoxious Pokémon and not explode at some point? Brock's lack of opinion especially stands out because he really does absolutely nothing in this movie except flirt with Nurse Joy at the beginning; he spends the whole movie more or less just standing there in the background. That's pretty standard fare for the movies, of course, but normally you don't really notice it because there isn't anything in particular you expect him to be doing other than flirting with random women; here you really wonder why he isn't reacting to Shaymin at all.
Third, it really bugs me how the portals to the Reverse World keep depositing the heroes and the villains in completely different places. Why on earth is this happening? I mean, sure, there's always a short time difference between when they enter, but there is no reason for the portal to suddenly lead to a completely different place ten seconds later. It just really doesn't make any sense.
Fourth, why would Zero leave his flying scooter thing behind for anyone to take? I mean, it's like he goes to a special effort to land it and then make a daring jump onto the airship just so somebody can steal it and follow him. That's just really lazy. I'm sure they could have come up with some better way to allow the heroes to follow Zero.
Fifth... Regigigas? Really? Why is it there? It only gets a couple of minutes of screentime to hold back a glacier along with an army of Mamoswine. It's yet another random appearance by a legendary that has no real place in the movie and just feels cheap and unremarkable.
Though there is quite a bit to nitpick at, none of it seriously ruins your enjoyment of the movie, and all in all this one is really quite fun. I wouldn't call it a favorite, but it's watchable, interesting, funny and just generally entertaining.
Page last modified August 12 2016 at 22:34 GMT