Netflix for kids: Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction
Cocoon of Destruction3
Nathanael Smith | On 31, Mar 2017
Netflix for Kids is VODzilla.co’s monthly column that sends a grown man without kids into the barrel of the streaming service’s kids catalogue and searches for morsels of goodness at the bottom. Today, our childless adult writer plumbs the depths of the Pokemon franchise. Do we really gotta catch ’em all?
The Pokémon franchise is really quite remarkable. The brand has stuck around for two decades and it regularly finds new young audiences to hook, in spite of its surprisingly dense mythology. It has also been indirectly responsible for one of the great artworks of the 21st century, the song Pokémon by Neil Cicierega. The multimedia franchise is also the kind of rare brand that has properly embedded itself in pop culture, becoming the subject of countless memes and surviving in the kind of exasperating nostalgia that gives millennials a bad name.
What makes Pokémon really noteworthy, however, is that it has done all of these things in spite of never being good. At all. If anything shows up the emotional and artistic bankruptcy of nostalgia, it’s Pokémon, because it only takes a brief, rose-tinted replay of one of the old games or an endurance test watching the original TV series to realise that it is life-threateningly dull stuff. This is coming from someone who once defeated the entire Elite Four with a jacked-up Clefable. How on earth this became a worldwide phenomenon remains a mystery, more so how it still brings in new generations of viewers.
Which brings us to Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction. It’s not a good film. Nor is it the kind of blandly entertaining sludge that the likes of Illumination Entertainment churn out to keep younger viewers entertained. It’s just mindless and utterly, utterly empty.
The plot involves the fairy-type Pokémon Diancie, who is psychic and can communicate beyond just saying her name. She should have the ability to create diamonds – including the heart diamond that keeps an entire population of Carbinks alive – but she can’t do that yet. She meets up with Ash Ketchum (yeah, he’s still around, even though this was made 17 years after the original series) so she can find Xerneas, a legendary Pokémon whose fairy aura can give her the power she needs, and oh, somebody have mercy and end this synopsis now. Only that’s not all of it. There’s also the titular cocoon of destruction, an ancient Pokémon that can devour entire forests and turn Pokémon into stone, thieves such as Marilyn Flame and Ninja Riot chasing them down, and the still-irritating Team Rocket.
Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction is charmless. There’s nothing so interesting in it as to be offensive; it is a film that merely exists. The design of Xeneas and the forest he lives in is vaguely reminiscent of Studio Ghibli having an off-day, which suggests that someone back in the production line cared at some point. That’s a heartening thought, but it’s too little to carry your attention through a shopping spree or the 45th bout of spoken exposition. People seeking a hit of cheap nostalgia are equally unlikely to get a kick from this, as you won’t recognise any of the pocket monsters – some of them talk now and also there are Mega Evolutions or something equally daft.
It’s hard to be annoyed by something as relentlessly bland as this franchise entry, but do everything you can to avoid watching it. Kids are watching Pokémon again and the two-week phenomenon that was Pokémon Go brought it back, once more, into the public consciousness. But Pokémon was never good. And on the strength of Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, it still isn’t.
Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.