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Pokémon’s next movie is a CGI reimagining of the first one

CGI Mewtwo is ... not ... great

The Pokémon Company revealed the next feature film in the franchise as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Day — and it’s as strange as fans may have suspected. 2019’s Pokémon movie is called Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution, as teased last week, and its debut trailer suggests that it’s a computer-generated reimagining of the first-ever Pokémon movie.

The 45-second clip shows Mewtwo flying after Mew through the clouds — the glowing, computer-animated clouds — accompanied by the promise that “the legend is back.” Mewtwo (and Mew) was among the first legendary Pokémon, after all. We just haven’t seen Mewtwo look quite like this before, despite its 3D incarnations in games like Super Smash Bros.

Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back came to theaters in late 1998. It seems appropriate that the team would want to do something special in celebration of the recent 20th anniversary, but this project is admittedly jarring to look at for anyone used to the 2D visuals of the anime. There’s something a little off about this animation style, which appears devoid of the same defining aesthetic of the 21-year-old cartoon series. But we’ll reserve judgment until July 12, when it debuts in Japan.

It’s going to be an interesting year for the Pokémon series, at least on the movie franchise front. Not only will July’s Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution likely be the first CGI movie in the series, but Warner Bros. Pictures will release the live action-hybrid film Detective Pikachu stateside on May 9.

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