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Pokémon the First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back (Japanese: ミュウツーの逆襲 Mewtwo's Counterattack, subtitled Mewtwo Strikes Back; French: Pokémon - Mew vs. Mewtwo; Portugese: Pokémon, O Filme: Mewtwo Contra-Ataca; Polish: Pokémon - Film Pierwszy; Spanish: Pokémon - La Película; Finnish: Pokémon - Mewtwon Vastaisku) is the first Pokémon movie. It debuted in Japanese theaters on July 18, 1998, and then made its way to North American theaters on November 12, 1999. In the United States, the movie briefly held the record for highest-grossing opening for an animated film until the release of Toy Story 2.
Mewtwo Strikes Back was shown with the Pikachu short movie Pikachu's Vacation.
Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, has managed to create an enhanced clone of Mew. In this, he has created Mewtwo. As the story begins, a confused Mewtwo asks himself who he is, what he is, and where he came from. Just then, Mewtwo wakes up in a test tube in one of Team Rocket's laboratories, where the scientists study him. Mewtwo breaks out of his test tube, as the head scientist, Dr. Fuji tells Mewtwo that he was made by humans and is a clone. Mewtwo is angry that he was created by humans, not God, so he destroys the lab and all the scientists. Dr. Fuji says to himself that he regrets playing God before dying at the hands of Mewtwo. Then, Giovanni arrives in his private helicopter and offers to help give some value to Mewtwo's life. Mewtwo takes up the offer, and is put in a suit of armor to prevent him from rebelling against Team Rocket.
Over the next few weeks, Mewtwo does most of Team Rocket's dirty work, capturing wild Pokémon and beating any trainers that come into the gym in Viridian City. Mewtwo has had enough and blasts off out of Team Rocket HQ and back to the island where he was born.
Upon returning to the island where he was born, Mewtwo vows to get revenge on those who created him and tried to enslave him, and more importantly, to prove his worth as a living being by finding and beating his original, Mew.
Meanwhile, Ash, Misty, and Brock are preparing for lunch until a Pokémon trainer dressed as a pirate shows up and challenges Ash. Ash is happy to oblige, telling Misty that he enjoys one or two battles before lunch. With Pikachu jumping into battle, Ash easily beats the pirate trainer. What he doesn't know is that he's being watched, not only by Team Rocket, but by a mysterious third party. Jessie, James, and Meowth, who were also watching the battle, don't have any food. Suddenly, a Dragonite flies in with a letter for Ash and friends. It projects a hologram of a mysterious woman who tells the trainers to head to a pier in order to get to an island fortress called New Island.
Later, the gang arrive at the Pokémon Center and discover that the Nurse Joy who works there has been missing for quite a while. Miranda, the pier master tells them that she has lived on the pier all her life and that the storm is the most fierce she's ever seen.
Soon, most of the other Pokémon trainers take off for a place called New Island. Team Rocket give Ash and friends a boat ride, but the storm proves too much for them, so they have to use Ash and Misty's Water Pokémon to get all the way to New Island.
As the heroes barely arrive at New Island, the mystery woman from the hologram letter greets them and takes them to the dining room to meet the other trainers who made it.
Meanwhile, as Team Rocket try to get inside the fortress, Mew can be seen flying around without a care in the world.
As they arrive in the dining room, Ash and friends meet three Pokémon trainers named Neesha, Fergus, and Corey. Just then, the mystery woman introduces everybody in the room to her master, who is revealed to be none other than Mewtwo! Then, the woman faints, Brock quickly catches her, and it is revealed that the mystery woman is the missing Nurse Joy. Mewtwo starts telling the trainers that humans are weak and cruel, and the world will fall into ruin because it is controlled by them. He also says that Pokémon are no better off, since they choose to associate with humans.
As Team Rocket get into the fortress and make their way into a laboratory, they come across a weird-looking machine, a computer, and Pokémon sleeping in giant pods. Jessie accidentally sits on the computer controls which play back a recorded message from Dr. Fuji about the fossilized eyelash of Mew that was created to form Mewtwo. Suddenly, the machine takes a piece of hair from Meowth to create a clone of him.
Mewtwo leads Ash and the other trainers into the stadium part of the fortress and suggests that they should battle Pokémon to see who is the strongest, the clones vs. the originals. Ash's Charizard, Corey's Venusaur, and Neesha's Blastoise are no match for Mewtwo's clones, and he claims the originals with his invention called Shadow Balls.
As Misty hides Togepi, Ash tries to get his Pokémon back in their Poké Balls, but that move is all in vain since Mewtwo's Shadow Balls can also penetrate them, as well as capture Pikachu. Ash quickly follows the Shadow Balls back to Mewtwo's cloning laboratory and destroys the cloning machine, rescuing his Pokémon in the process.
Mewtwo demands to know what happened in the explosion, and Ash emerges from the smoke with his and every trainer's Pokémon. Ash tries to punch Mewtwo, but Mewtwo's forcefield sends him flying. Just then, after hearing all the commotion, Mew flies down to encounter his clone and tell him that the originals will never be defeated by their copies when they fight without special powers. Thus, Mew and Mewtwo have a big battle that follows, which is about Pokémon fighting for the meaning of their lives, since (as Mewtwo sees it) clones have no value, and whoever wins will be the "real" Pokémon, not the worthless clone.
Ash is horrified by what he sees all the Pokémon fighting their clones, especially Pikachu getting slapped to death by his clone. He eventually falls back down to the stadium floor, causing Misty and Brock to come to his aid. They and Nurse Joy talk about how Mewtwo and all the clones are living beings with value, as well as how when one animal invades the territory of another animal, it doesn't give up until it's driven the trespasser away. And then everyone expresses fear that the originals and clones will never give up, resulting in their deaths.
As Team Rocket look on in horror, Meowth talks with his clone about philosophy and the moon, and how tasteful it is to be talking about the moon at a time like this.
Just as Mew and Mewtwo are about to finish each other off with huge energy blasts, Ash runs out into the crossfire and gets turned to stone after getting killed in the blast.
Pikachu tries to revive Ash by using Thunderbolt, but has no luck. This saddens Pikachu and everybody in the stadium, as well as leave Mewtwo amazed by Ash's sacrifice. All the tears of Pikachu, the other Pokémon, and the clones magically revive Ash and bring him back from the dead.
After witnessing all of this, Mewtwo states that it does not matter who is more powerful, that the clones and originals both have value, and nothing else about the matter. He also says that it would be best if no one knew about what happened. When Mewtwo flies off, he tells Ash that he will find a place where clones can live in peace. As a result, all the memories of this event are erased from the trainers' minds.
Ash, Misty, and Brock instantly finds themselves back at the pier with no memory of their adventure on New Island.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket lay dormant on the empty New Island as the credits begin to roll.
- Pikachu (Ash's, clone)
- Meowth (Team Rocket, clone)
- Togepi (Misty's)
- Bulbasaur (Ash's, clone)
- Charizard (Ash's, clone)
- Squirtle (Ash's, clone)
- Staryu (Misty's)
- Psyduck (Misty's, clone)
- Vulpix (Brock's, clone)
- Weezing (James's)
- Nidoking (Gary's)
- Arcanine (Gary's)
- Persian (Giovanni's)
- Mewtwo (anime)
- Nidoqueen (Fergus's, clone)
- Golduck (Fergus's, clone)
- Tentacruel (Fergus's, clone)
- Seadra (Fergus's, clone)
- Gyarados (Fergus's, clone)
- Vaporeon (Fergus's, clone)
- Venusaur (Corey's, clone, named Bernard in Japanese, Bruteroot in English)
- Pidgeot (Corey's, clone)
- Sandslash (Corey's, clone)
- Hitmonlee (Corey's, clone)
- Rhyhorn (Corey's, clone)
- Scyther (Corey's, clone)
- Blastoise (Neesha's, clone, named Kusukusu in Japanese, Shellshocker in English)
- Wigglytuff (Neesha's, clone)
- Ninetales (Neesha's, clone)
- Vileplume (Neesha's, clone)
- Rapidash (Neesha's, clone)
- Dewgong (Neesha's, clone)
- Golem (Kezoki's)
- Machamp (Kezoki's)
- Venomoth (Kezoki's)
- Pinsir (Kezoki's)
- Donphan (Kezoki's)
- This is the first time in the anime that an attack that was from a "future Generation game" was used. The move in question was Mewtwo's Shadow Ball.
- The plot in the dubbed English version contains a "fighting is wrong" moral and potrays Mewtwo as a cold heartless villian who just wants to take over Earth.
- During the battle between the Pokémon and their clones, the music that plays in the background is different in both versions: the Japanese version plays instrumental music very softly, while the English version plays Brother My Brother, which has been criticized as the worst choice of music for the movie's climax.
- Some background effects such as water and clouds have been reanimated with the use of CGI effects.