Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back
Synopsis of Movie
“Training is over.”
The call went out to Pokémon trainers in the summer of 1999: Get your Pokéballs all shined up and ready to battle, because the biggest kid phenomenon of the 1990’s is hitting the big screen. And so it did, as Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back stormed into theaters in November of that year.
The Pokémon craze began in Japan in 1996, with the release of a “Pocket Monsters” game on Nintendo’s hand-held Game Boy system. Quickly becoming the most popular title in the company’s history, the game featured tiny, adorable “Pocket Monsters” (or “Pokémon” for short) doing non-lethal battle with each other under the direction of human Pokémon trainers. Each Pokémon had an elemental power (fire, water, electricity, etc.) and could speak only its own name (“Bulbasaur!,” “Charmander!,” “Squirtle!” and so on).
After taking over its native country, Pokémon roared onto U.S. shores, first as a video game, then an interactive card game, then as a hit animated TV series. The show starred ten-year-old Ash Ketchum, who aspired to be the greatest Pokémon trainer of them all. Working alongside Ash and friends Misty and Brock was a powerful yellow fuzzball named Pikachu, a Pokémon with an electric tail and plenty of sass. Together, the good guys faced challenges from Team Rocket and others, capturing and training endless Pokémon for battle.
In Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, a new Pokémon is introduced. Working with fossilized DNA from the rare Pokémon Mew, scientists genetically engineer the catlike Mewtwo, the most powerful Pokémon of them all. Mewtwo isn’t exactly happy about his creation, and he swears his vengeance on both the scientists and the world.
Meanwhile, Ash and friends are challenged to a Pokémon battle by a wannabe trainer. Ash wins easily, natch, and a holographic girl appears to invite him to a grand tournament at a secret, new island, appropriately called New Island. Ash, Brock and Misty take the challenge, as do Jessie, James and Meowth of Team Rocket, who overhear the invite. When they arrive (after braving a dangerous hurricane), the trainers meet their challenger: Mewtwo himself, who has engineered a race of Super-Pokémon to take over the world. It’s an all-out battle for the fate of the planet, and man’s only hope is that rarest Pokémon of all, Mew.
Originally created in Japan, Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back was rewritten, re-edited and rescored (with tunes from Baby Spice, M2M and Christina Aguilera) for American audiences. In its U.S. release, the movie was accompanied by a 22-minute short, “Pikachu’s Vacation.” More importantly, it was accompanied by a clever promotion that gave away a free Pokémon game card with every ticket. Kids, parents and collectors lined up for blocks to get the cards (some didn’t even stay for the movie), and all this Poké-mania resulted in an enormous box office success for Pokémon the First Movie.
The WB television series continues to be a hot draw on kids’ TV, leading to a theatrical sequel, Pokémon: The Movie 2000.
Movie Release History1999 - Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back
2000 - Pokémon the Movie 2000
Movie Sub Categoriesanimated
Movie Studio4 Kids Entertainment, Shogakukan, Warner Bros.
CastAsh Ketchum Veronica Taylor
Misty Williams Rachael Lillis
Jessie of Team Rocket Rachael Lillis
Togepei Rachael Lillis
Brock Harrison Eric Stuart
James Morgan of Team Rocket Eric Stuart
Pikachu Ikue Ootani
Mewtwo Philip Bartlett
Meowth of Team Rocket Addie Blaustein
Giovanni Ted Lewis
Voices Amy Birnbaum
Voices Tara Jayne
Voices Lisa Ortiz