Pokemon 3: Spell of the Unnown - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 4 - Australia / South America
  • Released By: Madman Entertainment
  • MSRP: 36.95 AU
  • Running time: 88
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Pokemon

Pokemon 3: Spell of the Unnown

    December 29, 2001


Pokemon 3: Spell of the Unnown
© Madman Entertainment


What They Say
Fall under the SPELL OF THE UNOWN!
Get set for an action-packed adventure unlike anything you’ve seen before! A crystal catastrophe is unleashed upon Greenfield-and Ash , Pikachu and friends must figure out how to undo the damage to the once beautiful town. But the unthinkable happens when Ash’s Mum is kidnapped by the powerful Entei, a Pokemon thought to have existed only in legend. Now Ash must go to her rescue, uncertain of what he’ll uncover when he unlocks the real secret power behind the unbelievable turn of events: a young girl whose dream world is being turned into a nightmarish reality by the most unstoppable Pokemon ever – the Unown!

PIKACHU & PICHU
It’s double trouble in the big city! Pikachu is lost, and the Pichu Bros must help their new pal get back before Ash notices his Pokemon missing. It’s a race against the clock that has the duo dragging Pikachu into one disaster after another! Dozens of Pokemon make their animated debut in this hilarious adventure.

The Review!
A 3rd Pokemon movie arrives, and as the franchise fades into history, they’re now direct to video releases. Like the second Pokemon Movie, Australia gets lumped with another annoying “single version for all PAL using nations Double Sided disc” and studios like Warner wonder why people think they don’t put as much effort into markets outside North America…

Audio:
All the language options you could possibly want, excluding Japanese of course, with a whopping 6 Dolby 5.1 tracks. Due to the fact my knowledge of French, Dutch, Italian, Greek and Hebrew are even more questionable than my Japanese, I stuck to the English track and the English audio commentary.
The hefty volume of audio tracks is what required the use of a single layer, dual sided disc, with both English tracks, and the French and Dutch tracks on the A side, with Italian, Greek and Hebrew on the B side. Technically there appear to be no problems, but the 5.1 track isn’t as earth shaking as I expected. The music this time actually seemed to suit the proceedings instead of being at odds as in the pervious movies.

Video:
Best summed up as bright and colorful, what you’d expect for Pokemon. Technically this is pretty much perfect for what is single layer movie. To match the audio options, this disc features subtitles upon subtitles, all in an easily read white sans-serif font with a fine black border. Both sides just repeat the same video footage, only the audio options are changed.

Menu:
Like the previous discs, this one has a static, pastel hued menu based on the cover with the opening music playing in the background. As is the standard with most Warner releases, the movie auto-plays if left at the main menu for a time. Both sides use the same menu, just with changed “Please flip the disc to access this language” options. Transport between pages is okay, but sometimes the cursor seems to get lost and requires a few key presses to reappear.

Extras:
In keeping the other Pokemon movies, this disc features a reasonable amount of extras, and once again they’re eerily familiar. The high point is audio commentary with the English Language producers, vaguely similar to that on the first Pokemon movie disc. It covers much the same ground, mentioning the major script changes they made, pretty much throwing out the Japanese script and just trying to translate the general tone and themes. Pretty good for what it is. Beyond that there is an interview with the newest group to supply music for a Pokemon movie, a rather old-ish looking Spice-Girl-alike group who mouth the usual hollow sounding words, and the Johto Poke-Rap clip seen at the end of the Pokemon TV episodes. While there is a DVD-ROM content on the disc, it’s just another themed InterActual Player, IMO one of the worst software DVD players in existence, with links to various official Pokemon sites.

Packaging:
As is the default Australian DVD standard, we get a clear Amaray with a double-sided cover. The front has the lion like Entei in pride of place atop a crystal outcropping, with a blurred shot of Ash and Charizard flying from the upper right side. The rear takes its cue from the previous Pokemon movies cover, but differs in providing separate blurbs for both the main feature and short. Thankfully this time they realize that dual sided discs don’t necessarily mean flipper and avoid that heart stopping flub from the second movie’s cover.

Facing inside cover has the stock chapter list, split into two sections for the main feature and the short.
Disc side once again just has the DVD insignia titled, showing that Warner still haven’t gotten the hang of the Australian use of double sided covers means extra space to fill.

The disc itself is a double sided disc, which provides the endless joy of trying to avoid smearing your finger prints all over the disc when trying to remove it from recalcitrant keepcases. With no help from the cover, you then have to figure out which side is the correct one. I’d hate to think how little kids would handle getting this disc into the player without parental assistance.

Content:
While falling into the rather predictable format of Pokemon movies, this one is slightly darker in tone, which is not saying much with the sugary sweetness you can expect from Pokemon.

Like the pervious two Pokemon movies, this is split into throwaway short and then the main feature.
This short see Pikachu separated from Ash and linking up with the Pichu bothers, evading killer dogs, knocking Mewoth for six, playing with and introducing new Pokemon, eventually making it back just in time.

The movie proper sees 5 year old Molly and her father reading up on legendary Pokemon, until her gets called away to a research dig and disappears. Now with no mother or father, Molly encounters the cause of her father’s disappearance, the alphabet soup noodles like Unown. The Unown, pronounced in the dub as Unknown, can hear sub-conscious thoughts and turn them into reality. They pick up on Molly’s dreams, ranging from a crystal palace to undefeatable Pokemon, but primarily to have a Mama and Papa. Using her real father’s playacting as the legendary Pokemon Entei and a photo of Ash’s mother as a base, Molly creates an Entei as her Papa, who then kidnaps Ash’s mother to be Molly’s new mother. Of course Ash and friends stage a rescue attempt, while Team Rocket turn up looking for more new Pokemon to steal and much predictable Pokemon battles ensue. Of course what can’t be defeated through fighting can’t defend against good moral values like looking after your family and everything turns out okay in the end. Awwww.

Yet another Pokemon movie arrives, and yet again it’s eerily familiar. As the popularity of Pokemon finally begins to wane, this volume neither raises the bar, nor drops the standard. More of the same for fans.

Features
English 5.1 track,French 5.1 track,Italian 5.1 track,German 5.1 track,English subtitles,French subtitles,Italian subtitles,Dutch subtitles,Arabic subtitles,Spanish subtitles,Portuguese subtitles,German subtitles,Italian for the hearing impaired subtitles,English for the hearing impaired subtitles,3 music videos,Making of the soundtrack featurette,Theatrical trailer,Pokemon 3 teaser trailer,DVD-ROM content

Review Equipment
JNL-7001 DVD Player, Commodore 1802 PAL Color Monitor

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