Picture’s a little fuzzy, but bear with me here folks, the soundtrack image didn’t work for some reason. Well it finally happened, we’re at the first and possibly only bad Digimon film. It all comes down to the main plot with an unfortunate moment of animal violence and a Sleepless in Seattle message about how you should be ready to let go. That’s a knockout punch and one that’s hard to get past unless you’re a super long running show or manga where you can have enough high moments to overcome the lows. In a 30-40 minute movie, there’s not enough time to get past this rather large issue.
Takato decides to head over to his Cousin’s place for summer vacation. It’s time to relax and unwind from the challenging adventures of the TV show. Unfortunately, that’s not part of the game plan here. Omnimon was unable to stop a mysterious new threat and because of that, evil Digimon are showing up all over the place. Takato’s cousin means well, but he is a little outmatched since he doesn’t have a Digimon and his Grandpa pretends to be oblivious to the whole thing. Takato will have to try and win this fight or stall until Henry and Rika show up, but it’s going to be tricky.
Lets get the obvious dragon in the road out of the way first. The part of the film that destroyed it was the sob story that was attached to the original character made up for the film. When she was little, her dog drowned while she was surfing. Boom. The film hits you with this hay maker and there’s no real way to recover from this right? The only way is to bring the dog back and the film couldn’t do that…could it? Well, the film brings the Dog back all right as a Digital Monster. He shows up to be her pal, but she doesn’t like him anymore because he’s not “real.” During the course of the film, she realizes that he is in fact her dog from a while ago. Then the film kills him off.
Wait a minute….why’d the film bring him back then? See, this is possibly even worse than just not bringing him back at all. You’re essentially destroying the dog twice. The film gives you some hope for a second there that everything can be okay and then snatches it back. It was very poorly handled and I was pretty dismayed at the whole thing. See, it ties into the film’s message about moving on. The girl needed to move past her dog’s death so the film got to have her say a final goodbye to the dog again and then watch it get destroyed in front of her eyes. It’s supposed to be calming as she can now be at peace, but it’s just distasteful. That’s why I’m typically not a fan of the whole “moving on” message. You do have to move on in life with a great many things, but not with some and not like this.
Anyway, past the animal violence, this film functions like your average Digimon film. We have some pretty good fights and solid animation for them as well. The opening scene with Omnimon scaring away the villain was pretty cool although I’m calling plot hax on how it just casually outran Omnimon to a portal and that Omnimon could not follow him. If it’s so easy to just make a portal and escape, then I don’t see how any of the villains are ever captured. It’s such an overpowered escape option. I wasn’t expecting to see Omnimon show up though so even if he didn’t look great, it was a nice homage to the rest of the continuity.
The soundtrack isn’t so good, but that’s just the price of subbed Digimon vs dubbed most of the time. Tri did have a pretty good battle theme at the end though so there is always a chance that more Digimon films will follow its venture into greatness. I’ll never get used to the really soft Digievolution theme though, it just doesn’t fit with the action that’s happening on screen. I need hype and intensity!
As always, Rika had a pretty good subplot here. Hers started out with a good amount of action and Renamon continues to prove that she is a very reliable partner to have. Rika’s easily the most likable out of the three main characters of Tamers so I was glad that the film was able to get her into the main plot by the end. Henry’s just around and at least he gets to help I suppose. It was awfully convenient of him to also be in the general area, but that’s Henry for you. He’s always around when needed and will give you some support….you do need someone stronger if you want to win though.
I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of the side plots and less of the main one. Takato’s cousin just isn’t a very interesting character and there’s not much that he or his grandpa can contribute to the story. They’re really just here for pep talks and to remind Takato that he’s a pretty tough guy. It’d be more moving if they were big characters from the show or actually had a Digimon.
I wasn’t crazy about the island as a setting, but the film was still pretty interesting. I wouldn’t say that the pacing ever completely died. It may not have been as eventful as the previous films and had a more laid back approach, but that was probably intentional with the island backdrop. The stakes never got as intense as the Diaboromon films, but then again…how do you top those? It just operates as a fun little side adventure where the heroes had to combine their might with a cool super attack. Nothing fancy, but a chance to see some good fights and reconnect with the characters. If not for the dog scenes, I’m sure this would have gotten a casual 7 or maybe a high end 6. So that means if you can get past the dog moments, then you can enjoy this film.
Overall, I cannot get past them so the film was doomed. I like to think that a plot like this won’t surface again though because seriously, what are the odds right? At most we’ll have a plot about a Digimon dying and everything which Tri is possibly looking to do, but that’s a lot more acceptable. It’s like how Goku dies or if you want a more serious example, Mami from Madoka. It’s pretty emotional, but in a more legitimate way and I can work with that. A tragic death with no other purpose to be tragic like Eren’s Mom from Attack on Titan is another story, but that’s a topic for an editorial someday. I’m one step closer to watching all of the Digimon films with this and with Tri Part 2 coming relatively soon, the Digimon experience continues on.