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Pokémon 3: The Movie Is Actually A Lot Deeper Than You Remember

The third Pokémon movie in the franchise featured less Team Rocket, a tonne of Unown, Charizard saving the day, and one irritating little girl who demanded things right and left.

I saw Pokémon 3: The Movie in theaters after begging my parents to take me so I could get the fancy-schmancy, exclusive card that only kids whose parents truly loved them received. I remembered two things from the first time I saw it: 1.) It made me very sad because Ash almost lost his mom, and 2.) the first two movies were way better.

Today’s the 15th anniversary for the film’s U.S. release, and to celebrate, I rewatched it and realized something very important: The movie acted like a giant metaphor for bad parenting and children needing boundaries. In fact, I bet you this was some kind of subliminal message the producers were trying to pound into parents’s skulls. (Probably not, but whatever.)

After Molly Hale’s mother disappears before the events in the movie, and then later her father flies the coop—thanks to the Unown, of course—Molly inadvertently triggers the Unown’s psychic energy and conjures up a big mofo Pokémon named Entei. Mistaking Entei for her missing father, she starts boo-hooing about wanting a mother.

And instead of going on Match.com and finding Miss Right the old-fashioned way, Entei decides to kidnap Ash Ketchum’s mom, Delia. So, because Miss Thang demanded a mother (which, yes, it’s very sad, I’m not a heartless monster or something), she gets her henchman to go out and commit a felony for her. Entei never told Molly no for anything. She’d ask for something and he’d do it for her. He didn’t lay any boundaries down for her, instead letting her call the shots and subsequently screwing things up for Ash and his friends. I’ve never been a parent, but I feel like parents should be the ones in control, not their kids.

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Molly also had Entei “redecorate” the town of Greenfield, turning its shiny grass and beautiful landscape into a type of crystalized fortress. On paper, a crystalized fortress sounds super pretty, which I guess it is, but it comes at the expense of the entire town. The townspeople’s homes and fields are now destroyed, all so one little girl could have her way, because that’s the way—uh huh, uh huh—she likes it.

Entei should’ve said, “Hell no, kid. I’m not destroying all of Greenfield just so you can live in your freaky storybook world forever. Other people’s property deserve more respect than that. Mic drop.” Instead, he continuously says, “If that is what you wish,” no questions asked.

If he, acting like her father, had just put his foot down and explained why she can’t always get what she wants, maybe the Unown wouldn’t have gone off the deep end and lost control of their psychic energy. Molly’s constant demands, which also includes transforming into a teenager and possessing kick-ass Pokémon who can hold their own in a battle without having any training, are the reason everything in Greenfield went to Hell.

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Entei wants to be her father, but he doesn’t want to tell her she can’t have something. Like, ever. I’ve been around enough kids to know that that is a recipe for disaster. And look what happened—the Unowns almost destroyed everything and everyone. If Entei had just said no once in a while, maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so out of hand.

Kids need boundaries in life, or else they might end up eradicating a whole town for their selfish gain. Clearly, that’s the main takeaway message from Pokémon 3: The Movie. Well, that, and Charizard is a straight-up boss.

INNERSPACE CLIPS