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Friday, May 16, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pokmon's fifth is no classic

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review


*
"Pokmon Heroes," with the voices of Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, Rachael Lillis and Maddie Blaustein. Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama and Jim Malone, from a script by Hideki Sonoda and Jim Malone. 72 minutes. Rated G for general audiences. East Valley 13, Meridian 16, South Hill Cinema.

Here's a question to test your movie knowledge. Can you name a film series that has made it to episode five and doesn't feature a maniacal killer or someone named Skywalker? How about a children's film series that has achieved that status?

An answer to that question arrives today at selected theaters with the release of "Pokémon Heroes," the fifth in the series of animated adventures of Ash Ketchum and friends.

After a brief prologue to explain the world of Pokémon to the uninitiated (as if there's anyone under the age of 10 still in this category), the film begins in a canal-filled city, where Ash, Misty and Brock have come to participate in a sort of jet-ski race with their Pokémon ("pocket monsters"). But something is afoot. Mysterious forces, both human and Pokémon, are trying to manipulate the race.

The two villainesses, Annie and Oakley (!), are trying to discover the city's source of power, while the winged Pokémon Latias and Latios attempt to help the good guys. We later learn that Latias and Latios are legend in the city and previously prevented a major disaster.

Annie and Oakley are a pleasant diversion from all this silliness. They are the sort of bumbling villains who try to be mean and nasty, but keep messing things up.

Kids may like the Pokémon characters, but I found Latias and Latios a little annoying with their constant seagull-like cawing. There are some interesting computer-generated images here, but nothing you wouldn't find in a high-end computer or video game. After a lot of nonsense about "sight sharing," defense mechanisms and evil Pokémon fossils coming to life, I was more than ready for the film to end.

If you still have Pokémon fans at your house, I suppose there's no harm in taking them to see this movie; but with Pixar's "Finding Nemo" set to open in a couple of weeks, surely you can find something better to do this weekend.

Doug Knoop: dknoop@seattletimes.com

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