Pokémon, over the course of its 25-year run, has had around 23 movies -- one of nearly every year the franchise has been around. Some of them have been well-received and others, not so much. However, the best films in the series all seem to have one thing in common: disaster.
Generally speaking, Pokémon is a series about action-packed battles and friendship, but every movie needs stakes. Many fan-favorite films from the franchise involve disasters of cataclysmic proportions -- to the point where the movie becomes a struggle for survival for the cast, not unlike any given Godzilla movie. While this is surprising for such a kid-friendly series. there's no doubt that survival drama makes for some of Pokémon's best theatrical outings.
Pokémon 4Ever, for example, is the movie that focuses on the environment more than any other in the series. It takes place in a forest in the Johto region, which is by the Lake of Life, a lake with healing powers. Celebi is known as the "Voice of the Forest" and calls it home. However, the Iron Masked Marauder catches Celebi, corrupts it and causes it to form a giant armor from plantlife in the forest. Celebi's rampage destroys much of its home and even contaminates the lake. So much mayhem was caused by a Pokémon who cherished the forest, but was under someone else control.
A similar occurrence happened in Pokémon: Jirachi - Wish Maker. In the film, Butler, a former Team Magma scientist, was on a mission to resurrect Groudon. When he finally made the attempt, he wound up creating a massive mutant Groudon monster instead. Said monster also ended up going on a rampage, destroying the sacred lands of Forina by killing all of the plants and consuming all living beings it came across -- including the cast. In a sequence which surely scarred plenty of young Pokémon fans at the time, the Groudon monster sends its tendrils to absorb many of Ash's friends, who we later see struggling to survive in the pit of the beast's stomach.
In Pokémon: The Movie 2000, a Pokémon collector by the name of Lawrence III set out to capture all three of the legendary birds. He successfully captured Moltres, which caused the weather patterns to change and storms to brew as the three legendary birds had control over the climate. Even when Moltres was freed, things weren't looking good as the three legendary birds started fighting among themselves, holding nothing back. Lugia got involved in the mayhem as well, making for one of Ash and friends' most dangerous and chaotic cinematic adventures as the planet began tearing itself apart.
Arguably the most catastrophic disaster movie in the series is Pokémon the Movie: The Rise of Darkrai. In that film, Palkia and Dialga -- arbiters of Space and Time, respectively, two Pokémon never meant to meet one another -- battled in the space between dimensions. This caused many disturbances in the space around Alamos Town and the town itself was nearly be erased from the Space-Time Continuum as Dialga and Palkia's battle spilled into Earth's dimension. The townspeople suspected that the eponymous Darkrai was the cause of this catastrophe, when Darkrai was actually trying to protect the town -- and was erased from existence for its trouble.
There are have been plenty of powerful Pokémon showcased throughout the series. However, these movies showed that there are some Pokémon powerful enough to obliterate the world. Whether it's ravaging a forest, causing raging storms on the Orange Islands or nearly wiping an entire town from the Space-Time Continuum, the Pokémon world has gone through its fair share of calamity. The world always manages to be fine in the end, but these disasters always make for great movies. And, while watching things come crashing down around our heroes is plenty of exciting fun, its watching them survive and come out on top that really makes these films satisfying -- and some of the series' best.