‘Hoopa and the Clash of Ages’ Airing Next Saturday, The Music Sucks and Here’s Why

Hoopa TrailerCartoon Network has revealed that Hoopa and the Clash of Ages will air next Saturday, December 19th, at 6:00 PM. It has already aired on television in other countries in the past few weeks.

The international showings of the film have revealed that TPCi has yet again replaced most of the film’s original background music with very cheap synthesizer music. They kept only one and a half tracks from the original soundtrack: the music that plays over the narrator’s “World of Pokemon” sequence and part of Clement’s “Science is Amazing” music that plays when he pulls out his invention.

We don’t know why TPCi started replacing the music starting with the Diancie movie, but it’s not hard to see that Pokemon films the past few years are being treated more cheaply and simply than ever before (especially in the story department). Most other Japanese shows and movies have no issues keeping their music, so unless there’s some odd licensing troubles going on with Pokemon (and why now?), it’s likely TPCi just doesn’t want to pay for the rights to use the music anymore.

Unfortunately the English soundtrack sounds like one long “marshmallow” track that doesn’t really change in tone from scene to scene or does so weakly at best. This completely disrupts and confuses the flow of the film and does nothing to guide the viewer, which is the whole purpose of using background music in the first place. Heck, in a lot of films, you only know the bad guy is the bad guy at first because the music is sinister! But the English music does nothing to help us here.

KyogreFor example, at the very beginning of the film, we see Hoopa using Kyogre and Groudon to _____ the townspeople. Why the blank? Well, from watching the English scene just once, I can’t really tell if Hoopa is trying to entertain the townspeople with its theatrics or if it’s trying to frighten them with its power. Am I supposed to be loving this? Am I supposed to be scared of this? The music doesn’t tell me what the tone of the scene is. To be fair, even without the music, I can’t tell if this is supposed to be a frightening or entertaining scene, which you could attribute to poor directing (after re-watching it, I did finally recognize a shot of the townspeople smiling, but it’s the only 2-second evidence that tells us they’re enjoying it). However, the director knew when he was making this film that he would be relying on the soundtrack, so even in the final Japanese product, we could still tell what was going on even if the scene itself doesn’t make it very obvious. But the English music does nothing to help the viewer here.

If I could describe what the English music is doing, I’d say it’s “describing” the visuals in the most boring way possible. For example, when Hoopa summons Groudon, we see fire fall out of Hoopa’s ring and Groudon appears and roars. As the fire is falling out of Hoopa’s ring, the music “falls” with it, and as Groudon appears and roars, the music changes to brass to indicate Groudon is powerful. But the visuals are already telling us this, so it’s completely redundant. The English music is simply filler. It never offers an extra dimension to the film like music is supposed to. I wouldn’t be surprised if the English composer, Ed Goldfarb, was paid just enough to do one pass.

RegigigasWorst, when going to the next scene with Reshiram, Zekrom, and Regigigas, you can begin to tell  Hoopa is going out of control and the townspeople don’t like what it’s doing. But the music just keeps the exact same tone as the previous scene, proving it has no sense of what’s going on. There is no “shift” in the music from the previous scene to the next, unlike the Japanese soundtrack. And this pretty much describes the rest of the film. One long undefined scene. A wet rag. Wishy-washy. Background music is probably the most powerful tool for influencing an audience’s emotions, and yet when the company that owns the film decides that it’s not necessary to put effort into it, you know that the product itself is nothing special.

What has become clear in recent years is that Pokemon films aren’t meant to be taken as seriously anymore (we’ve had to lower our standards to enjoy many of them before, but now that’s not even possible). Gone are the days of introducing mysterious Legendary Pokemon, of having heavy plots, of trying to dazzle audience members with more than just boring battles that have no real stakes to them. Mewtwo wondered about its existence, Latias lost its brother, an old legend came to life and showed the dangers of disrupting the fragile balance of nature, Lucario wanted to know why its Trainer abandoned it and then died with him, a little girl used Pokemon to cope with the loss of her parents, God forgave corrupt humans and realized his place in their world, Max said goodbye to his friend, Alamos Town learned not to judge a book by its cover, May said goodbye to her child, Shaymin showed gratitude and stopped being a bitch. Now what do we have? I’m not even sure. The Legendaries learn to control their powers with the power of friendship? But when even the American company is pulling its funds, you know none of this is meant to be taken seriously anymore. TPCi cares so much about the product at this point that they don’t even spellcheck their own credits. (And it’s the freakin’ editorial department! The editorial department!!)

I am a graduate film student and have directed many short films, so maybe I’m just being too critical over a dumb kid’s movie. Maybe because I love Pokemon so much I’m also being extra critical, especially since I want to make a live action Pokemon film one day. So I’d be interested to see what other fans think, especially when the Hoopa dub premieres in the States. I have always felt Pokemon films have so much potential but just never takes advantage of it, especially recently. So let me know your thoughts below!

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  1. fourthstartcg Aspiring Trainer


    It's awesome to hear the analysis of the music from someone with a background in film. Thanks WPM!
  2. Frosty Bleh.


    I've stopped watching the anime years ago....so glad I made the right choice.
  3. Metalizard Aspiring Trainer


    But you know, that's why I only watch the japanese version. That and the horrible american dubbing...
  4. OVERGRO Pokemon is lyfe.


    Oh man. I feel you WPM....

    The ditoral dept...?! Yeesh...

    You know, I always predicted the demise of Pokemon. All good things must come to an end at some point. I would love to be old, retired and still learning the names of new Pokemon and mechanics but I don't think that's realistic (which kinda makes me sad). One theory I had was that the games would become too complex and the series would implode on itself, because it would be significantly harder to come into the game as a brand new player and then get really into it beyond just a superficial level. Another theory, though, I can see being greed: if they keep treating Pokemon as a cash cow rather than nurturing it properly, it's bound to go sour at some point. First they cheap out on the movies and anime, next the cards, games... and before you know it we'll be finished. (Really hope I'm just being an uber pessimist here.)

    LAWD don't even get me started on the horrendous dubbing!
  5. Pokémon Spears Aspiring Trainer
    Pokémon Spears


    I haven't watched the movie yet, but judging by the Diancie one, I can imagine what to expect. The battle between Yveltal and Xerneas (if we can call it a battle), did it really stop just because of Xerneas looking at it? I just couldn't believe it the first time I watched it.

    The first one that really bugged me was Arceus and the Jewel of Life. They made the creator of the universe seem like the weakest, and most foolish creature ever. I don't know why is it so difficult to write a script that follows the story of the videogame, it would make even more sense with the rest of the anime so it wouldn't look like something completely apart, almost like in a parallel world. So at this point I'm already used to the lack of creativity in the stories.

    But it's true the quality of the movies themselves has decreased each time. Genesect wasn't that bad, but it was more like a especial episode. Keldeo was entertaining, but the drawing was so bad it was really distracting, and I also feel that Kyurem and its forms, deserved their own movie with Reshiram and Zekrom.

    The anime has gotten better since the last seasons of Black & White, I just don't understand why it hasn't reached the movies yet. We all know it'll always be a kids' cartoon or movies, but I thought they had already understood they have a huge amount of fans that are young adults now. And I know they know, because they've showed some signs in different aspects of the franchise, they just don't seem to care about us at all. Imagine a movie with the quality of Pokémon Origins, it would be amazing, and it probably would get the chance to make it to the theaters outside of Japan.
  6. Zielo Caught 'em all.


    The anime is actually doing pretty well for itself lately. Id say its shown significant improvement since the Black/White era. The movies are what suck now though.
  7. Water Pokémon Master I like Pokemon more than you. :D
    Water Pokémon Master

    Webmaster News Head Activities Head Elite Member Advanced Member Member

    MeloettaLover and arulz like this.
  8. TokenDuelist YGO TCG is Cheaper. Fight me.


    It honestly wasn't so bad. Especially compared to the previous films. I think the Hoopa movie shined in comparison to the previous ones. Even with modified background music.

    Opinions are opinions, but hey, they're the ones doing the films.
  9. Metalizard Aspiring Trainer


    Indeed, I didn't like the Diancie movie that much but I'm enjoying the XY series... Better than BW for sure...
  10. unownzone In the middle of nothing


    Oh man..... Reading this felt like gulping down a can of Sprite!
    I had exactly the same thoughts!
    Before I stopped watching the anime, I'd always look for the English dub version of new Pokémon movies because that was more natural to me..
    Now I guess I should go to the theaters and watch the Korean versions...
  11. Empoleon_master I can stop watching Anime any time I don't want to


    ..Electrode, it's now called electrode.... MY BRAIN IT BURNS WITH FIRE!
    Now if you'll excuse me I have to commit seppuku to bring back the honor I cost my family when I watched any part of the new season of pokemon....it will still be less painful than watching 2 episodes of the new season so don't worry, it won't be THAT PAINFUL.
  12. Athena The Cooler Danchou

    Advanced Member Member

    Reading the article... I'm disappointed but not surprised in the slightest. It feels like the quality of the movies has been going down a lot. I'm still amused enough by the XY/XYZ show at least, which is a lot better than Best Wishes, but I've kind of lost any desire to watch this one.
  13. SkyeVictini Seriously, calm down.


    See, this is one of the main reasons I have completely stopped watching the English dub of the anime.

    When the first few dub episodes of XY came out I was horrendously disappointed with the changes they made with the background music. The original Japanese episodes have spectacular music from the games that really bring out the emotions of each and every scene. And what does the dub get? Bland, generic background music that is either barely audible or sucks the emotion out of the scene rather than enhancing it. It's sad considering that XY has had a lot of really good moments and character development that were neutered in the dub due to borderline lack of background music. Also, there was the cringe-worthy and repetitive dialogue, but that's another story.

    To get to the subject of the movies, I knew I wasn't the only one thinking they were getting stale! They used to have distinct, compelling storylines and conflicts and now it seems to be the same story every time soaked with the same old cliches (such as the Pokemon in question getting separated from its group/home, forests degenerating and wild Pokemon running away, bland antagonists, Ash explaining the power of friendship, etc.) just with different Pokemon. I barely remember anything about the Diancie movie other than the intro battle, nothing really stood out. :( I mean, are they afraid of frightening or confusing the new generation of kids and they feel the need to sugarcoat and simplify everything to a 2nd grade level?

    I can go on and on about how TPCi is ruining a decent anime series, almost like they're imitating 4Kids. (Even though 4Kids did a pretty good job with the Pokemon dub sans the weird censoring of the Japanese stuff.) Hmmmm...
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
    Lostlorn Forest likes this.
  14. markymark Aspiring Trainer


    the movie was really good, it had some depth too, unlike the past 4 movies. I was also excited to watch it because I heard the Japanese sound track. but the English one is so cringy worthy!

    Anyway don't let it stop you from watching the movie, (especially is you were disappointed in the past couple movies) it has a good plot and nice animation. other than the English music it a little rushed but really good
  15. Ryu Taylor Loyal Friend to the English Dub
    Ryu Taylor


    I don't believe music replacement can break a dub. I even have a soft spot for Ed Goldfarb's rescoring of the show. Of course, I think he was always better with the show than for the movies. The dub score for the Diancie movie was so-so, and I have yet to experience this new one, so I can't fully weigh in on it yet.

    This was a good read. It's nice to get testimony from someone experienced in film.
  16. Gruffling Aspiring Trainer


    Of course the flipside is relying on music to set the tone of a scene often indicates a lack of substance in the scene itself, it's better for something to be inferred organically, perfectly viable in animation, without needing (as in depending on) multiple layers of "this is what this scene is about"

    I don't watch the Japanese stuff so I can't compare in that sense, I'm merely talking from a theoretical standpoint.

    It was however a less than captiating film, the anime is pretty decent when it wants to be but Pokemon films in general do suck. Legendaries often have terrible voice acting and should probably just not speak English (like in the anime) and the plots are generally very laboured. a too-hollow concept that would at most be a 2-part episode. Hoopa was sadly no exception, in fact it was a standout example of boring.
  17. xxxhoopa Aspiring Trainer


    Yeah.I saw it.Music does kinda suck.