Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, the eighth Pok?mon movie, ranks as one of the best features in this popular franchise. Director Kunihiko Yuyama and writer Hideki Sonoda sensibly keep the adventures and threats to a scale that's appropriate for the characters. (The first movies put the world at risk, and while Ash Ketchum is a good kid, he's not someone who can credibly save the planet.) Ash, Brock, Max, and May journey to Cameron Palace for a tournament that celebrates the valor of Prince Aaron, who saved the realm from destruction 1,000 years ago. Ash and Pikachu win, but the mischievous Mew kidnaps Pikachu, whom he's befriended. Prince Aaron's Pok?mon companion Lucario awakens from the victor's staff to lead Ash and the gang to the Tree of Beginning, a mountain that is also a living entity. Ash risks his life to rescue Pikachu, proving the depth of their friendship to Lucario. The film includes lots of CG effects, most of which work well with the drawn animation: the earlier Pok?mon films tended to look like two different movies spliced together.
The two-disc set also includes The Mastermind of Mirage Pok?mon: A 10th Anniversary Special. In this 40-minute adventure, Dr. Yung invites Misty and Ash to take part in a special tournament on his new battle system. Yung creates formidable Mirage Pok?mon from raw data, culminating in a super-version of Mewtwo, the powerful psychic Pok?mon from the first features. Once again, friendship and kindness triumph over greed and arrogance, although the special ends with the words, "To be continued..."
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