Time for the first film with the new Digidestined. Apparently I gave this film a solid 7 the last time that I saw it. Well, it’s going to be the opposite of the first Digimon Adventure film, which I gave a 6 originally, but bumped up to a 7 after re watching it. While it’s possible that the dub could maybe get a 7 due to all of the high energy action, the extra 30 minutes didn’t do it enough favors and I feel like another 6 is pretty fair for this one. It drags on quite a lot and Willis is easily one of the worst Digimon humans in the entire franchise. Yes, I just went there!
The plot actually changes depending on the version so let’s go with the subbed for this one. The original Digidestined have been systematically defeated (sound like Tri?) by a new Digimon that has come into being. Granted, it wasn’t a fair fight as this Digimon moves very quickly and can quickly vaporize any human that it wants into a digital space. Davis and friends find out that something is wrong when TK and Kari have a face to face encounter with the monster. It all traces back to this American kid named Willis who likes to remind the others that he’s American as often as possible. That sounds pretty realistic, but he’s unfortunately a terrible character who never knows when to stand down. He annoys everyone to no end. Still, can Davis and his friends really stop this powerful fiend!?
So, like last time, the sub takes a more serious tone than the dub. Willis is surprisingly a little more annoying though as he constantly flirts with Kairi over and over again. Davis does a good job of putting the kid in his place though. Willis is able to speak in Japanese and American, but in an interesting moment, he speaks to his mom in Japanese. Sorry writers, but in America, you would never speak in Japanese. It’s just not happening. It would be like me living in Japan and speaking to my parents in English for the lolz. I just don’t see it happening. The original version of the film is significantly longer than the dubbed cut. In some ways this is good as the Digidestined being defeated was cut out of the dub and that wasn’t a cool move. I want to see Tai and friends even if they looked terrible and supreme amounts of plot hax got in the way of them doing anything useful to help out their friends. One issue that hurts the sub and may be impossible to get around at this point is that the soundtrack is just not exciting. I’m not sure how the franchise plans to get around that, but maybe it’s just for the Adventure films. I’m interested to see what themes they chose for Tri and I’m hoping for some fast paced tunes. If not, the rest of the film being solid enough can negate that, but it would still be an added bonus.
In the dub, there are more one liners and epic moments from Davis and friends. Some sad moments mixed in there of course and the dub doesn’t mind keeping in the romance with Davis. It’s one of the things that really brings the film down. Without that, the film could have been strong enough to hold its own with a 7, but that’s definitely not happening now. It’s a true shame if you ask me. So, while the dub was more exciting, it does come at the expense of about half of the film, which you would miss otherwise so it’s a tough call. Hardcore fans will likely prefer the sub for that reason. I’m going with the Dub, but it is a little closer than with the first two Digimon Adventure films. I still remember how the dub music got so sad for the fight scenes in the show. Even if they would simply be slow paced and more subdued in the sub, that would probably beat those insert songs from the anime.
Willis is the new kid and I’ve already hinted that he’s a terrible character. He doesn’t represent the average American all that well if you ask me. It’s good that he’s so close to his mom, but that’s his only good quality. He openly flirts with every girl that he meets and he also doesn’t want to own up to his mistakes. He’s even fine with letting his friends get beaten up or rolling over and dying instead of facing his old friend. When a friend goes down the wrong path, then it’s time to help them see the error of their ways. It’s not time to get stomped into the ground with no resistance. Terriermon had the right idea from the start and you feel bad for him for having such a sad trainer. That Digimon actually steals the show and I’d say that he’s easily the best creature in the film. He’s not afraid to fight when necessary and he’s got a lot of spunk. Reminds me of the Terriermon from the third season and I have a feeling that this one inspired the new version. Willis is just not a decisive character and he’s certainly not a very brave one. He will go down in history as one of the weakest willed tamers in all of Digimon and that’s a good thing. In fact, I may have to introduce him to the battle section of this site, but that’s neither here nor there.
Davis is a character who’s typically very likable since he’s headstrong and determined. Unfortunately, his infatuation with Kari holds him back. He’s not even subtle about it in the dub although he’s a little better in the sub in that regard. He’s a solid trainer and while Davis can get overly emotional, he can fight like Terriermon and doesn’t back down like Willis. For the most part, Davis is a good leader for the group and probably the only one who’s qualified for it. Kari likes to mess with Davis and while that is only apparent in the Dub, I’d say that it seems to be in character. Her vague visions continue to not be very useful, but at least it helped everyone get into action. TK was mostly a spectator here like the rest of the Digidestined members, but at least he was around for moral support.
I definitely didn’t like Endigomon though. He’s not my kind of villain at all. He wants the good ole days to return, but he needs to get his eye sight checked if he can’t recognize his best friend after just a few years. Cmon…this guy can’t be that bad right? Also, the point of finding his friend was to turn him into a kid again, not to destroy him. Endigomon’s plans were just terrible and he didn’t think anything through. That’s why I didn’t like him. A plan should at least make sense and if I’m to sympathize with a villain, then he can’t contradict his goals. If he didn’t try to hurt Willis, then that’s a different story since I’m okay with him trying to deage Willis without consent. That’s legit for a villain and it’s a goal that you can sympathize with, though mileage will vary for each viewer of course. The other Digimon like Veemon were cool though, but as mentioned earlier, Terriermon is the best by far.
The animation is pretty solid here. It’s not using the slippery movie style from the first two films so the explosions are less flashy and the energy attacks don’t look as good, but the actual characters look much better. It’s a trade off like that. The fight scenes can still hold their own against the average film’s though and it’s times like this where you can sometimes tell that it was from Toei like DBZ. Veemon’s fire form made for a good battle although he should have easily won that battle. If you ask me, the heroes have fought way stronger opponents than Endigomon so this whole mission should be a breeze for them. I know that we have to give the villains some hype, but it was too much. The film also shouldn’t have had Angemon and Angewoman evolve because by all accounts, they should be virtually unbeatable. Magna Angemon was taking on Black War Greymon in the show. His Mega form should be able to utterly annihilate Endigomon with a simple energy blast or maybe a punch if he wants to go medieval. Seriously, throwing those guys in just wasn’t worth it. Especially if it was to give Willis some more hype in the end.
Overall, This film is a perfect example of how filler characters can really hurt a film. We’ve seen it many times before in other franchises so it’s no surprise, but this is the example that you’ll want to use when in a debate about filler characters and what they bring to the table. This film would be an easy 7 without Willis and his shenanigans. He’s just such a poorly written character. The fight scenes and soundtrack (dub) are solid and the animation holds its own. When you think about it, this is still a solid film in its own right even if it made some mistakes. I’d still recommend it to any anime fan who wants a quick adventure with some fights and excitement. I don’t expect we’ll ever see these guys outshine the original Adventure cast though and that’s a good thing!