Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi – Voice of the Forest[a] is a 2001 Japanese anime film directed by Kunihiko Yuyama and based on the television series Pokémon. It is the fourth official Pokémon film. It was released in Japan on July 7, 2001. The film was directed in Japan by Kunihiko Yuyama, and written by Hideki Sonoda. It stars the regular television cast of Rica Matsumoto, Ikue Ōtani, Mayumi Iizuka, Yūji Ueda, Megumi Hayashibara, and Shin-ichiro Miki. The events of the film take place during the fourth season of Pokémon: Johto League Champions.
Japanese film poster
|Japanese||劇場版ポケットモンスター セレビィ 時を越えた遭遇（であい）|
|Hepburn||Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā Serebyi Toki o Koeta Deai|
|Literally||Pocket Monsters the Movie: Celebi A Timeless Encounter|
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Produced by||Yukako Matsusako|
|Written by||Hideki Sonoda|
by Satoshi Tajiri
|Narrated by||Unshō Ishizuka|
|Music by||Shinji Miyazaki|
|Edited by||Toshio Henmi|
|Box office||$40.8 million|
The English adaption of the film was released on October 11, 2002 in the United States, produced by 4Kids Entertainment and distributed by then-Disney subsidiary Miramax Films, which would take over from Warner Bros. starting with this film. The English dub was directed by Jim Malone, and written by Norman J. Grossfeld. The English adaption stars the regular television cast: Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, Rachael Lillis, and Maddie Blaustein.
Optimum Home Entertainment re-released the movie on DVD in UK on May 9, 2011. Studio Canal also re-released 4Ever along with Heroes on Blu-ray in the UK as a double Pokémon movie pack on April 2, 2012, a week before Pokémon the Movie: Black—Victini and Reshiram and White—Victini and Zekrom was released.
In a forest in the Johto region, a Pokémon trainer named Sam is warned by a woman named Towa to be wary of the “Voice of the Forest”, actually Celebi, a Pokémon capable of time travel. By chance, Celebi is being pursued by a Pokémon hunter and is injured. Sam protects it from the hunter, but Celebi uses its powers to travel forward in time, taking Sam with it. Forty years later, the elderly hunter is confronted by the Iron Masked Marauder, a cruel and sinister member of Team Rocket, who seeks to enslave Celebi.
Meanwhile, Ash Ketchum, Misty, and Brock arrive in the neighbourhood of Arborville, spotting the legendary Suicune on a riverbank. Speaking to Professor Oak, the trio learn he encountered Suicune himself many years ago, but they have to depart before he can explain how. The group are taken to the forest by a local named Mr. White, but encounter the elderly Towa and her granddaughter Diana, warned of the Voice of the Forest. Celebi and Sam appear from the past, but the former hides, while Sam comes to term with his time displacement. Ash, Sam, Misty, and Brock find the wounded Celebi and decide to take him to the Lake of Life, said to have healing waters.
Team Rocket pursue the children, joining forces with the Marauder. The children are guided to the lake by wild Pokémon, where Celebi is healed. That night, Ash and Sam bond, hoping the latter can return to his era. The next day, the Marauder confronts the group, using a unique Pokéball called a Dark Ball, to brainwash Celebi and uses its immense powers over nature to encase it in enormous draconian-like armour made from the forest. Jessie is captured; the Marauder admitting he plots to overthrow Team Rocket’s leader Giovanni and conquer the world. Ash, his friends, and Suicune battle to rescue Celebi from the Marauder’s influence.
Ash, Sam, and Pikachu breach Celebi’s armour and convince it to resist the Marauder, regaining his memories and is freed from the Dark Ball’s influence. The Marauder and Jessie tumble in the lake as Celebi’s armour collapses.
However, upon taking Celebi to the lakeside, it dies in Sam’s arms. The group attempt to revive it when Suicune purifies the lake, but it fails. Just as all hope of reviving Celebi is lost, the Voice of the Forest, which is actually each Celebi from across time, materializes in the sky and magically resurrects their brother. Suddenly, the Marauder appears and kidnaps Celebi, using a jetpack to escape, but Ash and Pikachu rescue Celebi, the Marauder crashing into the forest and is confronted by Towa, Diana, White, and the angry wild Pokémon.
Celebi takes Sam back in time, who promises to reunite with Ash in the future. Team Rocket reunite in the lake whilst, the Marauder’s freed Pokémon go their separate ways. Ash, Misty, and Brock speak to Professor Oak of their adventure, Ash saddened by Sam’s departure. However, Professor Oak reassures him that friendships can withstand the test of time and he and Sam will remain friends. However, upon ending the call, the trio are perplexed about how Professor Oak knew Sam’s name, having never mentioned it. In his laboratory, Oak owns Sam’s sketchbook, revealing he is the same character. During the end credits, Tracey Sketchit discovers Oak’s sketchbook and inserts it into a bookshelf for safekeeping.
Norman Grossfeld, the producer of the English adaption, said that the animation quality in the film was the "finest yet" from Oriental Light and Magic. The animators felt "tremendous pressure" that their adaption, both in the writing and the casting, held up against "this incredible achievement". Grossfeld says they adjusted the casting so that the guest characters did not sound too "cartoony" – "and instead had a larger than life tone to fit in with the epic nature of this story and the craftsmanship of the animation".
In the United States, it earned $717,061 in its opening weekend, ranking #18 on the box office for that weekend. Because the first three films had made $31 million, $19 million, and $8 million respectively in their opening weekends, the film ultimately ended up a box office bomb. However, much like the next film, it was successful upon its release on video and DVD. The film earned a total of $1,727,447 during its run in North America. The film had a 58-day theatrical run, ending on December 5, 2002.
The film also grossed $79,642 in the Netherlands, bringing its overseas gross to US$1,807,089. The film's total worldwide gross was US$40,807,089 (equivalent to $58,921,418 in 2019).
Pokémon 4Ever received generally negative reviews from television critics. Some critics called it "predictable" and "disappointing", while others stated that "the viewers won't be disappointed". The film received a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 32 of a total 37 reviews being determined as negative, the lowest of the Pokémon film series (original), with the consensus reading, "Only for diehard Pokemon fans". It received a rating of 25 out of 100 (signifying "generally negative reviews") on Metacritic from 16 reviews. In a review of the film, Dann Gire of the Daily Herald said that "nothing feels more desperate than a movie that tries to extort emotions from young viewers. That happens in the animated Pokémon 4Ever, in which colorful characters stand around crying over the shriveling corpse of a magical creature called Celebi. The movie has emotional warmth of tin foil, mainly because it never establishes connections among the characters, or between the characters and viewers".
Tenley Woodman of the Boston Herald said that "Fans 4Ever would be a more appropriate title for the film because Pokémon enthusiasts likely will be the only ones satisfied by the fourth big-screen installment of this Japanimation craze". He added that "the story line is solid, with Pokémon's proxy-fighter premise pieced together for first-time viewers. However, the film lacks the spark needed to make it a must-see flick". Robert Koehler of Variety said that the "script by Hideki Sonoda is thin in terms of levels of action and adventure, and suffers from last minute padding with one ostensible ending following another. A clever notion to pop up in the larger Pokémon epic, however, is the suggestion that The Professor (the Pokémon trainers' long-term, reliable guide to all things Pokémon) is actually Sam, now grown up in the present". He then added: "Yank voices – holdovers all from the past films – remain as irritating and overly emphatic as ever".
Loren King of the Chicago Tribune gave the film a generally positive review, saying: "The latest installment in the Pokémon canon is surprising less moldy and trite than the last two, likely because much of the Japanese anime is set in a scenic forest where Pokémon graze in peace. The backdrop provides a welcome respite from the ear-, eye- and mind-numbing Pokémon action. And the time-travel plot, though less than inspired, is still tolerable enough for adults accompanying kids". He added that "like most Pokémon tales, this one offers lots of exposition and clunky dialogue, but also counters the expected mayhem with a sweet-sided story about friendship and peaceful creatures who prefer to live far from the madding crowd". Angel Cohn of TV Guide said in his review that "the story is a bit predictable and the characters given to restating the obvious (presumably for the benefit of very young viewers), but overall this third Pokémon sequel is surprisingly entertaining, and a mystery surrounding Sammy's identity provides an interesting twist. The film's flat, traditional anime aesthetic is perfectly suited to the look of the bold, cartoon-like creatures, though the animators switch to a more CGI-influenced look for portions of the final battle sequence. While well done, these scenes feel jarring and out of sync with the rest of the film. Quibbles aside, children and adults enamored of all things Pokémon won't be disappointed".
- Originally released in Japan as Pocket Monsters the Movie: Celebi A Timeless Encounter (劇場版ポケットモンスター セレビィ 時を越えた
遭遇, Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā Serebyi Toki o Koeta Deai, lit. "Celebi: The Meeting that Traversed Time")
- "Pokemon 4Ever". Amazon.co.uk. May 9, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2017 – via Amazon.
- [dead link]
- "Pokémon 4Ever - Official Website". pokemon.com. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
- Macias, Patrick (2003). Japan's Movie House Masterpieces. DH Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 9780972312448.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for October 11–13, 2002". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
- "Pokemon Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
- "Pokemon 4Ever (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
- "Pokemon 4Ever (2002) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- Duckett, Richard (October 12, 2002). "'Pokemon 4Ever animated by violence". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. pp. A10.
- "Pokemon 4Ever (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
- "Pokémon 4Ever". Metacritic. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
- Gire, Dann (October 11, 2002). "Pokemon 4Ever just as bad as the rest". Daily Herald. p. 40.
- Woodman, Tenley (October 11, 2002). "Movie Review - Pokemon series goes 4th but fails to conquer". Boston Herald. p. 8.
- Koehler, Robert (October 6, 2002). "Pokémon 4Ever Movie Review". Variety. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
- King, Loren (October 11, 2002). "This Pokémon is 4 the fans". Chicago Tribune. p. 25.
- Cohn, Angel. "Pokemon 4Ever: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
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