Japanese release poster
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Produced by||Yukako Matsusako
|Written by||Hideki Sonoda|
|Music by||Shinji Miyazaki|
|Editing by||Toshio Henmi|
|Distributed by||Toho (Japan)
|Running time||81 minutes|
Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi - Voice of the Forest, originally released in Japan as Pocket Monsters the Movie: Celebi A Timeless Encounter (劇場版ポケットモンスター セレビィ 時を越えた遭遇（であい） Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā Serebyi Toki o Koeta Deai , lit. "Celebi: The Meeting that Traversed Time"), is a 2001 Japanese anime film directed by Kunihiko Yuyama and based on the television series Pokémon. It is the fourth official Pokémon film. It was released in Japan on July 7, 2001. The film was directed in Japan by Kunihiko Yuyama, and written by Hideki Sonoda. It stars the regular television cast of Rica Matsumoto, Ikue Ōtani, Mayumi Iizuka, Yūji Ueda, Megumi Hayashibara, and Shinichirō Miki.
The English adaption of the film, produced by 4Kids Entertainment, was released on October 11, 2002 in the United States. It was directed by Jim Malone, and written by Norman J. Grossfeld. The English adaption stars the regular television cast of Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, Rachael Lillis, and Maddie Blaustein.
It was the first Pokémon film to be distributed by Miramax Films since The Thief and the Cobbler. Although Cartoon Network aired the film, it aired on Toon Disney on May 21, 2007 (because Miramax, which was owned by Disney at the time, released this animated film), being the third Pokémon film to air on Toon Disney (the first two being the next films Pokémon: Jirachi Wishmaker and Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys).
Optimum Home Entertainment re-released the movie on DVD in UK on May 9, 2011. Studio Canal also re-released 4Ever along with Heroes on Blu-ray in the UK as a double Pokemon movie pack on April 2, 2012, a week before Pokémon the Movie: Black—Victini and Reshiram and White—Victini and Zekrom was released.
The film focuses on Celebi, who travels to the future with a boy named Sam while being chased by a hunter. Meanwhile, Ash, Misty, Brock, and Pikachu are on their way to the next gym in their Johto journey and get a lift from a man named Maki, who takes them to his hometown of Arborville. They see a Suicune (who was actually the first Pokémon Ash saw in Johto). When they plan to enter a forest that is claimed to have many unusual and rare Pokémon, they are warned by an elderly lady about the "Voice of the Forest", which may carry a person off to a different period in time unless those hearing it stand still.
Ash finds Sam alone in the forest, as Celebi has fled. Sam awakens and discovers he is forty years in the future from when he was. He, Ash, and the others search for Celebi and they find it in a tree. After some convincing, the gang manage to gain Celebi's trust. They run into a high-ranking member of Team Rocket, the Iron Masked Marauder, who has been trying to capture Celebi. Jessie, James, and Meowth also team up with the Iron Masked Marauder to capture Celebi.
The heroes take Celebi to its home, the Lake of Life, where it is healed by the water. The group spend the night in the forest. The next day, Celebi is captured by the Iron Masked Marauder and is turned evil by the Dark Ball, a ball with special powers that turns the captured Pokémon evil, and immensely strengthen and magnify all of their abilities to the highest power level. Ash attempts to save Celebi by climbing the Marauder's robot, which falls over and throws them both out. Ash lands on the ground, but the Marauder begins to step on his hand; it keeps doing this until Ash falls unconscious. The Iron Masked Marauder orders Celebi create a giant monster from parts of the forest. The heroes chase after Celebi in Maki's flying boat, but are brought down by the evil Celebi's attacks. The Iron Masked Marauder tries to kill Ash and Sam, but Suicune saves them. Brock sends out his Onix, and it and Suicune do battle with the Masked Marauder's evil Tyranitar, while Ash, Sam, and Pikachu clamber into Celebi's creature and manage to get Celebi to remember its memories, successfully bringing Celebi back to normal, and destroying the Iron Masked Marauder's Dark Balls in the process, releasing his Scizor, Sneasel, and Tyranitar.
With the collapse of the giant monster, the Iron Masked Marauder falls into the lake. The other heroes rush to the lake's edge and find Ash and Sam with Celebi, who suddenly falls limp. Ash and Sam realize Celebi is dead and everyone weeps, while the Pokémon of the forest howl in grief. However, the Voice of the Forest materializes in the sky and numerous of Celebi appear and resurrect Celebi. The Iron Masked Marauder suddenly appears and kidnaps Celebi and flies up with a jetpack, but Ash and Pikachu hold onto him as he flies away. Pikachu destroys the Masked Marauder's jetpack with a "ThunderBolt" attack and they fall to the ground, but Celebi saves them. The Iron Masked Marauder falls onto the forest floor (losing his mask and Dark Balls in the process) and is confronted by the old woman, her granddaughter Diana, Maki, and all the Pokémon of the forest.
Celebi prepares to bring Sam back to his own time. He has an emotional farewell with Ash and departs with Celebi. Before Ash leaves the town into his next journey, he talks to Professor Oak about what happened, and muses about the story. Professor Oak tells a sad Ash that he and Sam are going to be friends forever as true, strong and close friendships can withstand the test of time.
Ash, Brock, and Misty realise they never told Professor Oak Sam's name, but are soon distracted by the departing boat. Professor Oak is then shown with the sketch-book from earlier in the film, revealing that Professor Oak (whose first name is Samuel) is the grown-up Sam. He finally reveals it happened like it was only yesterday, after musing on a sketch he drew of a sleeping Pikachu and Celebi.
|Character||Japanese voice actor||English voice actor|
|Ash Ketchum (Satoshi)||Rica Matsumoto||Veronica Taylor|
|Pikachu||Ikue Ōtani||Ikue Ōtani|
|Misty (Kasumi)||Mayumi Iizuka||Rachael Lillis|
|Brock (Takeshi)||Yūji Ueda||Eric Stuart|
|Togepi||Satomi Kōrogi||Satomi Kōrogi|
|Jessie (Musashi)||Megumi Hayashibara||Rachael Lillis|
|James (Kojirō)||Shin-ichiro Miki||Eric Stuart|
|Meowth (Nyarth)||Inuko Inuyama||Maddie Blaustein|
|Child Prof Oak (Yukinari)||Keiko Toda||Tara Sands (as Tara Jayne)|
|Diana (Miku)||Anne Suzuki||Roxanne Beck|
|Towa||Mami Koyama||Veronica Taylor
Kerry Williams (young)
|Iron Masked Marauder (Vicious)||Shirō Sano||Dan Green|
|Vicious's Scizor (Hassamu)||Katsuyuki Konishi||Eric Stuart|
|Vicious's Sneasel (Nyūra)||Yumi Tōma||Kayzie Rogers|
|Celebi||Kazuko Sugiyama||Kazuko Sugiyama|
|Suicune||Masahiko Tanaka||Masahiko Tanaka|
|White||Takashi Fujii||Marc Thompson|
|Hunter's Scyther (Strike)||Kōichi Sakaguchi||Eric Stuart|
|Hunter's Houndoom (Hellgar)||Tomoyuki Kōno|
|Hunter's Ursaring (Ringuma)||Hisao Egawa|
|Hunter's Furret (Ōtachi)||Akiko Suzuki|
|Hunter's Teddiursa (Himeguma)||Ryōka Yuzuki||Tara Jayne|
|Hunter's Stantler (Odoshishi)||Shinichi Namiki|
|Hunter's Oddish (Nazonokusa)||Kaori Tsuji||Kayzie Rogers|
|Croconaw (Alligates)||Masaru Motegi||Eric Stuart|
|Professor Oak (Ōkido)||Unshō Ishizuka||Stuart Zagnit (as Stan Hart)|
|Tracey Sketchit (Kenji)||Tomokazu Seki||N/A|
|Narrator||Unshō Ishizuka||Rodger Parsons (as Ken Gates)|
Norman Grossfeld, the producer of the English adaption, said that the animation quality in the film was the "finest yet" from Oriental Light and Magic. The animators felt "tremendous pressure" that their adaption, both in the writing and the casting, held up against "this incredible achievement". Grossfeld says they adjusted the casting so that the guest characters did not sound too "cartoony" - "and instead had a larger than life tone to fit in with the epic nature of this story and the craftsmanship of the animation."
Pokémon 4Ever earned $717,061 in its opening weekend in the United States, ranking #18 on the box office for that weekend. Because the first three films had made $31 million, $19 million, and $8 million respectively in their opening weekends, this film was considered a box office bomb. However, much like the next film, it was successful upon its release on video and DVD. The film earned a total of $1.7 million during its domestic run, and $26 million overseas, closing with a worldwide gross of $28 million. The film stayed in theaters for 58 days, closing on December 5, 2002.
Pokémon 4Ever received generally negative reviews from television critics. Some critics called it "predictable" and "disappointing", while others stated that "the viewers won't be disappointed". The film received a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 32 of a total 37 reviews being determined as negative with the Consensus, "Only for diehard Pokemon fans". The film reviews from the audience also received a 58% "Rotten" approval rating.  It received a rating of 25 out of 100 (signifying "generally negative reviews") on Metacritic from 16 reviews. In a review of the film, Dann Gire of the Daily Herald said that "nothing feels more desperate than a movie that tries to extort emotions from young viewers. That happens in the animated Pokémon 4Ever, in which colorful characters stand around crying over the shriveling corpse of a magical creature called Celebi. The movie has emotional warmth of tin foil, mainly because it never establishes connections among the characters, or between the characters and viewers."
Tenley Woodman of the Boston Herald said that "Fans 4Ever would be a more appropriate title for the film because Pokémon enthusiasts likely will be the only ones satisfied by the fourth big-screen installment of this Japanimation craze." He added that "the story line is solid, with Pokémon's proxy-fighter premise pieced together for first-time viewers. However, the film lacks the spark needed to make it a must-see flick." Robert Koehler of Variety said that the "script by Hideki Sonoda is thin in terms of levels of action and adventure, and suffers from last minute padding with one ostensible ending following another. A clever notion to pop up in the larger Pokémon epic, however, is the suggestion that The Professor (the Pokémon trainers' long-term, reliable guide to all things Pokémon) is actually Sam, now grown up in the present." He then added: "Yank voices - holdovers all from the past films - remain as irritating and overly emphatic as ever."
Loren King of the Chicago Tribune gave the film a generally positive review, saying: "The latest installment in the Pokémon canon is surprising less moldy and trite than the last two, likely because much of the Japanese anime is set in a scenic forest where Pokémon graze in peace. The backdrop provides a welcome respite from the ear-, eye- and mind-numbing Pokémon action. And the time-travel plot, though less than inspired, is still tolerable enough for adults accompanying kids". He added that "like most Pokémon tales, this one offers lots of exposition and clunky dialogue, but also counters the expected mayhem with a sweet-sided story about friendship and peaceful creatures who prefer to live far from the madding crowd." Angel Cohn of TV Guide said in his review that "the story is a bit predictable and the characters given to restating the obvious (presumably for the benefit of very young viewers), but overall this third Pokémon sequel is surprisingly entertaining, and a mystery surrounding Sammy's identity provides an interesting twist. The film's flat, traditional anime aesthetic is perfectly suited to the look of the bold, cartoon-like creatures, though the animators switch to a more CGI-influenced look for portions of the final battle sequence. While well done, these scenes feel jarring and out of sync with the rest of the film. Quibbles aside, children and adults enamored of all things Pokémon won't be disappointed."
- "Pokemon 4Ever (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- "Pokémon 4Ever - Official Website". pokemon.com. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for October 11–13, 2002". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- "Pokemon Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- Duckett, Richard (October 12, 2002). "'Pokemon 4Ever animated by violence". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. pp. A10.
- "Pokemon 4Ever (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- "Pokémon 4Ever". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
- Gire, Dann (October 11, 2002). "Pokemon 4Ever just as bad as the rest". Daily Herald. p. 40.
- Woodman, Tenley (October 11, 2002). "Movie Review - Pokemon series goes 4th but fails to conquer". Boston Herald. p. 8.
- Koehler, Robert (October 6, 2002). "Pokémon 4Ever Movie Review". Variety. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- King, Loren (October 11, 2002). "This Pokémon is 4 the fans". Chicago Tribune. p. 25.
- Cohn, Angel. "Pokemon 4Ever: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
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