[Sidebar] April 5 - 12, 2001
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Pokémon 3

The Pokémon phenom forges ahead with its third feature film, which is sure to inspire its initiates -- and baffle everyone else. After "legendary Pokémon" researcher Spencer Hale disappears, his orphaned tyke Molly is abducted by the 26 mysterious "Unown" Pokémon, who resemble the letters of the alphabet in form and a sort of psychic fairy godmother in function. Sensing Molly's yearning for family, the Unown recruit the Pokémon Entei for her Papa and human Delia Ketchum for a makeshift Mama. Problem is, Delia already has a child in the young Pokémon trainer/ hero Ash Ketchum, who, armed with his Pokémon buddies (including Pikachu, whose own 22-minute short, "Pikachu and Pichu," kicks off the film), must infiltrate Molly's impenetrable palace and bring his mother back. Subsequent Pokémon battles give Nintendo the chance to showcase a few new characters, but equal effort is not made in the psychological arena, where the trainers spew pat one-liners in a half-assed attempt to bring the deluded Molly back to earth. The film never quite explains why her illusion is so dangerous, but maybe that's just as well: given the infinite stores of merchandise yet to be marketed, the movie's advice -- to abandon the world of fantasy -- is one that Pokémon promoters would probably rather fans not follow. At the Apple Valley, Flagship, Holiday, Hoyts Providence 16, Showcase, Swansea, and Tri-Boro cinemas.
-- Rachel Inerarity
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