After quite a few years, Digimon has returned to the big screen. It’s been fun watching all of the seasons and getting caught up with the franchise. I still have to finish Fusion at some point, but beyond that I have seen all of the shows and most of the movies. Tri beings the main cast back to the mix for a new adventure. I’d say that Part 1 is mostly used as a nostalgia trip ala Battle of Gods and to set the stage for the bigger fights yet to come. If Resurrection F is any indication, Digimon’s also going to ramp up the intensity of the series goes on. That being said, it already has a more serious tone and actual stakes compared to DBZ. (Thanks Beerus…) The film is very strong and only has 1 real flaw which I shall get into.
It’s been a few years since the DigiDestined saved the galaxy. They let the Season 2 cast handle the fights at this point and go about their everyday lives. Even if they wanted to help out, they are no longer able to use their Digivices and have no way of reaching the Digital World. The gang have all started to lead their own lives so even though most of them attend the same school, they don’t get to chat much except to exchange pleasantries. That changes when a Kuwagamon attacks the city and the government quickly shows up along with everyone’s Digi partners. The team beats back the threat, but it seems to only be the beginning of a larger threat. Can the team shake off the rust to defend the planet or will they have to call it a day and try to locate Davis?
It’s always good to start a film off with some kind of excitement. Build up is great and all, but you need a preview of something intense. Tekken Blood Vengeance started off with a quick motorcycle chase/fight scene and Yugioh 3D started off with Jaden defending the country from monsters. Tri doesn’t start off quite as intense, but we do get quick flashes of what is happening in the Digital World with the 02 cast, which was cool to see. I’m glad that it was thrown in there as it helps to set the stage from the get go. I’m mildly skeptical on the team getting wrecked so easily, but at the same time…they never were as strong as the 01 cast!
The animation is pretty solid and definitely a lot better than I had been expecting. While it’s not quite as colorful as the original show, I do think that the animators put a much better effort into the fight scenes and character designs this time around. (Compared with the previous Digimon movies) The energy attacks all look great and we do get a nice extended fight scene between Alphamon and the DigiDestined. I should add that this scene was also my favorite moment in the film. I love seeing a villain take on an entire group and while the difference in strength was considerable, it’s not like everyone was fainting from a single tap. They still put up a good fight. The battle of Super Megas didn’t really get to happen much, but that will likely happen in the future. I wasn’t really expecting Alphamon to do much in this film anyway so I was pleasantly surprised to see him get in on the action so soon.
As for the soundtrack, it was solid as well. I was never crazy about the Japanese version of the Evolution theme, but thanks to the movie transitioning it into an insert song, I liked it more this time around. Alphamon’s theme for when he takes on the heroes was also very well done and was easily the most Epic theme in the film. I’m hoping that it can return for the sequels. Tri also remixed the original opening to Digimon by adding electronic elements and more of a rap feel to it. I liked the actual beet and it’s a theme that should help pump you up a bit. It probably would have been better without the lyrics though. It has a bit of a mysterious feel to it so the 02 clips meshed well.
The writing is good and the film is already adding a lot of plot lines that will be investigated more in the future. One example of this is the government. I’m glad that they are playing more of a role here because there is no way that they shouldn’t be aware of Digimon by now. The events of the first two seasons should have certainly sent in some warning bells and luckily we find out that the Government has known about all of this for quite some time now. They were fairly well prepared as well even if they should probably not be so secretive. None of them appear to have any Digimon yet either so in a fight all they can do is talk a good game. I look forward to seeing them appear more in the future.
Lets talk about the heroes now. Izzy’s usually my least favorite member so we’ll start with him. He’s still not really my kind of character, but at least he’s dependable. He tries to help Sora out with a problem even when he’s fairly busy and Izzy always makes time to help the gang out even when others (Joe) put other matters ahead of saving the world. He builds the gadgets that help the team out quite a lot here so he’s already contributed a lot. He just needs to grab a Mega Digimon and he’ll be set to help out in the fights a little more.
Mimi’s easily the most outgoing character here as she has grown even more vocal than in the TV show days. While she may be a little too oblivious to the fights and villains running around, at least she keeps the team from taking themselves too seriously. I could do without all of the teasing that she directs at Izzy, but beyond that she’s a good character. It’ll be good to have her back in the city with the others so she won’t have to keep catching planes to make it in time for the fight scenes.
Joe is back to the school mission and that’s where things start to get a little hazy. If he misses the test, then his future plans may not go too smoothly, but if he doesn’t help the others in the fights then his friends could die. Clearly Joe should make the latter call, but unfortunately he has a very tough time deciding. It’s not as if he is a power hitter or anything like that, but he should definitely let school take a back seat now. He hasn’t let it get toooooo far yet, but he’s quickly heading in that direction.
TK looks very good here and is definitely one of the more likable members. He’s the only person who was able to attend one of the events (Although Sora would have probably, possibly made it) and he helped Matt out a lot the entire time. His new design works pretty well and it’s still cool to see that he and Kari still have the new Digivices that are a little more high tech. Since he has some of the closest ties to the season 2 cast, I expect him to get a bigger role as the series goes on.
Kari also looks good here and she has a solid new design as well. The roles have definitely reversed with her and Tai now as she has to look after him since he tends to forget his lunch of panic a lot. Hopefully she is able to help him realize how far he has fallen over the years. I also have to say that her friends seem to have Birthday parties quite a lot, but Kari is probably popular in school. Unlike the other DigiDestined, she always seemed to have a lot of friends. Since she has a better 6th sense than the other members, she’ll probably be really useful soon as well.
Sora’s role is pretty minimal compared to some of the other characters here. She tries to be a peacemaker between Tai and Matt, but that’s always a very hard thing to do. Helping the new character get adjusted to the tough world of Digimon is also tricky. Mainly, Sora just needs a good action scene and the rest will fall into place. She’s definitely a solid character though and I’d say that she’s better than Mimi, Izzy, and Joe.
Finally, we’re at the two main characters. Let us start with Matt. He’s easily the best character in the film and he’s eager to fight. Matt does get a little exaggerated in the film like trying to punch out two guys who were talking bad about Digimon, but it’s always good to defend your friends. At least he’s a guy who will stand by you. From the start, Matt decided that the DigiDestined should proactively try to find the new villain organization and put a stop to them and he doesn’t hesitate to jump into the fray either. Tai would have died twice if not for Matt’s quick action. I liked him a lot in the show as well, but I believe that Tai ultimately won the battle there. In this film, it’s not even close. Matt definitely cares a lot about helping out and doing the right thing, even if he keeps up the tough exterior.
As for Tai…well, he’s the worst character in the film. The change happens very suddenly as well so it’s rather odd. He’s thrilled to see Agumon and is eager to fight off the Kuwagamon. Unfortunately, Agumon greatly overestimated his abilities and got wrecked. Mix that in with the collateral damage and Tai decides that fighting evil in order to protect the innocent is not a good thing to do. It’s better to just let the villains run wild and leave it all to the cops. Needless to say, this is a pretty terrible attitude to have and you’ll wonder if this is the same self-less leader from the TV show. It gets very extreme as he even refuses to help a teenage girl when she is being attacked by Alphamon. If Matt hadn’t stepped in, she would have been vaporized. It was impossible for Tai to come back from that and all of his arguments with Matt are his fault. Matt was in the right every time and his demands weren’t even that harsh. He just wanted to fight the villains to minimize damage to the city, but Tai refused to fight even when the villains were around. That’s pretty sad and I’m hoping that Tai will get past this, but it looks like that could take a while.
Meanwhile, Meiko is the newcomer to the group. She’s super timid and has a hard time fitting in with the rest of the group. She’ll likely get better at it as time goes on..before regressing in part 3. It was cool to recognize the voice actress from the Madoka series and I admit that it is the main reason why she is okay so far. Otherwise, she’s certainly not my kind of character and her Digimon needs to be a little stronger if it wants to hold its own here. Not to mention the fact that it definitely seemed to be avoiding her so she should try to get to the bottom of this.
Alphamon made for a great villain. He doesn’t talk, but the design is really sharp and he certainly has a lot of power to back up his plans. He ran away awful quickly, but maybe part of his plan is to keep chipping away at Tai’s confidence. If so, then it’s a really well thought out plan. He’s automatically the best Digimon villain from the 01 line although if we count 02, then it gets tricky. Black War Greymon and SkullSatamon (Close enough) are still so awesome. I’m glad that Alphamon is the main villain so far and the proper rematch between him and Omnimon will be pretty hype.
I also like Kuwagamon so it was fun to see him get involved. He got a nice power up thanks to the virus and was able to hold his own and defeat the DigiDestined champions. In a 1 on 1 match, he proved to be too powerful for any one of them to handle. Granted, they could have used their Ultimates to defeat him, but plot hax and writer logic couldn’t have that. I imagine that they will be back to using Ultimates at will in Part 2 to handle the next threat. Kuwagamon probably won’t be back, but it was great to see him modernized. Even the design felt a little more humanoid this time around.
As a minor thing, I found it odd that Tai wasn’t wearing the goggles so he could locate the incoming threats even though that was the whole point of them. He only put it on by chance because Matt asked him about it and that’s when he saw the monsters. Yeah, Tai was really slipping this time around. I also think Tai and friends should have gone off in search of the 02 cast right away since the threat was so big. Based on the Part 3 preview, they took a long while to begin searching for them. Maybe they just didn’t think of it since the whole thing was so sudden, but you can use all the help that you can get in a situation like this. Especially with Mega Digimon involved, collateral damage is going to happen regardless, but having a lot of allies will help with that.
I got to see this English dubbed version in the theaters thanks to the limited time release. The intriguing part was that after the movie, they showed a full recap of Part 2 to spoil the whole thing and then the first 8-10 minutes of Part 3. Based on Part 3, Izzy’s character is going to go down the drain, but hopefully Tai’s will go up to counter that. What happens in Part 2 is easy to guess anyway, but hopefully there are still a few unexpected wrinkles in there that the recap wouldn’t bother to mention. I suppose I can probably forget about seeing a cool Alphamon fight in that one though. I’m expecting Part 1 to beat Part 2, but Part 3 could possibly match it depending on how far along the plot we are at by then. You can tell that quite a lot of things have yet to happen or be explained so the series has potential to do just about anything it wants at this point. The sky’s the limit.
Overall, My only real gripe with Tri was the fact that they completely butchered Tai’s character. He’s nothing like the the character that I liked in the show and seeing him fall to this level is pretty sad. I can only hope that he will get better as soon as possible. I definitely recommend this film to all Digimon fans and to anyone that likes a good action film. We only get 2 real fight scenes this time, but they’re both at a good length and the rest of the film works on building up the stage for what will happen soon. We finally also get to see this franchise’s take on how the universe was created along with the Digital World. The lore can finally be complete on the wiki. The film goes by in the blink of an eye and the pacing never really slows. IT definitely has a lot of replay value and I can safely say that Tri does a great job of bringing the old gang back. It may be a while before I see Part 2, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting what Tri has in store.