Back in September I reviewed Bokura No War Game, which was the second installment of movies in the Digimon Adventure franchise (the first being a 1999 prequel movie with the same name). Seems that even after the second season came out, their tradition of releasing a movie for it still continued; this time, Daisuke and company serve as the lead characters in Hurricane Touchdown / The Golden Digimentals. For those of you who are familiar with FOX Kids’ Digi-tastic hack job, this movie constitutes the third part of the former film which, mind you, has absolutely nothing to do with how the original played out. For the sake of brevity, I will refer to the film as Hurricane Touchdown.
DIGIMON ADVENTURE 02: HURRICANE TOUCHDOWN / SUPREME EVOLUTION – THE GOLDEN DIGIMENTALS
Digimon Adventure 02‘s initial venture into the cinematic realm came out on 8 July 2000 – a mere 3 months and 6 days after the show’s first episode aired – and is the first movie released for said series, which would be followed up about a year later with Revenge Of Diablomon. It was released as part of Toei Animation’s Summer Animation Fair of that year. Unlike Bokura No War Game however, Mamoru Hosoda was not around to direct this film; instead, leading way for the charge is Shigeyasu Yamauichi. The plot of the movie, however, resembles a standard Digimon episode, complete with the Digidestined and their partners being physically present and the action taking place in the real world, as opposed to being virtually displaced on the Internet.
Most who are familiar with the story behind this mistakenly believe it to be a continuation of Bokura No War Game – and it’s all thanks to FOX Kids’ depiction of it as such during its cinematic release. However, the facts state otherwise: it’s originally meant to be a standalone movie, with its own plot independent of other movies before it. So how did this movie get sliced into FOX Kids’ Digi-screw-up? The answer lies with Jeff Nimoy, the writer of the Digimon dub in America, who explains just how this movie got incorporated into said film:
The first cut didn’t have any of the footage with the season 2 characters, and it wasn’t bogged down with the Willis story line, which I’ve always felt was crammed in to the first two parts, just to try and make the last part make more sense. I wanted to end it right after the Omnimon destroying Diaboromon segment, and then release that other movie [Hurricane Touchdown] seperatetly as a TV movie, or DVD. But I was overruled, and Bob and I were forced to make it all make sense. These decisions led to my eventual departure. So pretty much the first cut was the same as the final cut, only without Willis, and it ended after Diaboromon was destroyed and the missile lands harmlessly in the bay, with Izzy and Tai delivering a tag line before we cut to black.Jeff Nimoy reveals the truth behind Digimon: The Movie (https://digipedia.db-destiny.net/cast_crew/nimoy2.htm)
That being said, before you dive into the plot of the film, I would kindly suggest that you please forget everything you thought you knew about what Digimon: The Movie butchered about Hurricane Touchdown, because as demonstrated in the next section, I am about to expose the truth behind what really happened during the events of Hurricane Touchdown. Prepare to be very surprised, folks. This revelation might change how you view Digimon forever, as it did with me.
While TK/Patamon and Hikari/Tailmon, the series’ undisputed (yet strangely uncanonical) couple are vacationing in New York City with their friend and fellow Americanized Digidestined Mimi, to their shock she is mysteriously whisked away by an unknown force. At the same time, back in Japan everyone from the previous Digidestined troupe – Taichi, Yamato, Sora, Joe, and Koushiro – are sent to a purgatorial prison, which we learn also de-ages them as the movie progresses. (Didn’t remember that from FOX Kids, didn’t you?) TK and Hikari then come across a young Digidestined boy, Wallace, and his partner Terriermon fighting a giant infected Digimon known as Wendigomon (known by Wallace as his rookie form, Chocomon), and they set out to stop this monster’s rampage.
After informing their fellow neo-Digidestined through e-mail, Daisuke, Miyako and Iori, with their respective partners Veemon, Hawkmon and Armadillomon embark on a quest across the United States to meet up with TK, Hikari and their Digimon partners. By a freak act of God, they stumble upon the same Wallace and Terriermon pair while hitchhiking in the back of a truck. Things get heavy as Daisuke and Wallace are accidentally left behind by Miyako and Iori while catching another truck amidst their hitchhiking, forcing the two of them to establish a mutual acquaintanceship, much to the latter’s reluctance. Not long after, the duo are attacked by Wendigomon; Veemon and Terriermon digivolve to Flamedramon and Gargomon in the onslaught, and manage to temporarily hold him off before he can cause any more damage.
After reuniting with Miyako and Iori, Wallace reveals to Daisuke about Wendigomon’s origins. While living his childhood in Colorado, Wallace was first introduced to his Digimon partners Gummymon (who would become Terriermon) and Chocomon, who emerged out of his computer. One summer day in 1995, just after Colorado got their NHL team from the Canadian clutches of Quebec City, Chocomon is whisked away by an unknown virus which led it to mutate into the Wendigomon of the present-day; he believes that, by returning to Colorado and meeting the beast there, he can hopefully free him from the infection plaguing him. Although Daisuke is driven to tears at the thought of Wallace fighting his best Digimon friend to prevent further catastrophes from coming, he eventually agrees to help him to do whatever he can to settle the matter – with or without forceful means.
With that, they arrive at Colorado and face off one last time against Wendigomon. Initially, the Digidestined and their Digivolved partners, in their Armor Digivolution forms, are successful at subduing him, but after Wendigomon digivolves further to Antylamon, and then the mega-level Kerpymon, the tides turn against them; not even the late appearance of TK/Angemon and Hikari/Angewomon are enough to help them. Finally, thanks to Angemon and Angewomon’s divine intervention, Daisuke and Wallace are able to defeat it using the power of a mysterious gadget known as the Golden Digimentals – transforming Veemon to Magnamon and Terriermon to Rapidmon, and allows them to destroy the virus within Wendigomon for good.
Wallace and the Digidestined part their ways back in New York City, as we learn that Taichi and the others have been freed as well as a result of their efforts. After stealing a kiss from Hikari and Miyako, much to TK and Daisuke’s disapproval, Wallace returns home to learn that Chocomon’s Digi-Egg has resurfaced, allowing him to reunite with his long-lost partner as he knew from his childhood. In other words, Hurricane Touchdown is nothing like FOX Kids showed in their movie.
WHAT I LIKED
- Granted, the opening sequence was very nicely set up. Much like how Bokura No War Game started, we get to see a glimpse of the original Digidestined going about their daily routines – for example, Koushiro programming on his desktop PC, Taichi playing soccer, Sora rearranging flowers – in addition to Daisuke, Miyako and Iori’s day at the beach. All this while Target – Akai Shougeki, the opening song for Digimon Adventure 02 plays in the background to start the film.
- Hurricane Touchdown shines best with its visuals, especially with its depiction of the American countryside; and truth be told, it shares many animation qualities with previous Digimon films.
- Most importantly, the plot was much better compared to the North American depiction. Story-wise, it flowed perfectly; the characters and context was a lot more tenable, mature and completely understandable in their emotions. No longer would we have to deal with ridiculous scenes like Daisuke’s “That is the saddest story that I’ve ever heard” line, or the Smash Mouth ending sequence; because unlike the FOX Kids version where it tried to desperately connect this segment to Diablomon from the previous section, which resulted in a lot of loose ends and choppy timing, this felt like its own story with its own creative plot. For that I have to give this movie credit; even if the plot was a bit weaker compared to say, Bokura No War Game, it did a great job in keeping things fresh and consistent.
WHAT I DISLIKED
- TK and Hikari’s role in this film was very slighted in favor of Daisuke and company. Don’t get me wrong, I can sort of understand why this was done – after all, the latter group is meant to be the new stars of the series, but it seems kind of weak that these two characters end up getting pushed aside with regards to role and screen time in the process rather than play a big part in redeeming Wallace’s partner.
- Something about Wendigomon’s voice acting seemed… really off. For a creature who’s supposed to be monstrous and a menace, he sounds like someone who woke up after a bad hangover on a Monday morning.
- My biggest problem with the movie lies in the logic behind Wendigomon kidnapping the Digidestined just to find out which one is Wallace. Let’s preface it this way:
- If his goal was to kidnap the Digidestined, why were characters like Ken Ichijouji and Ryo Akiyama not included? By the time this movie was released, the existence of the former was already known, and at the time he was, for all technical intents and purposes, a Digidestined. Also, for those who aren’t familiar with the latter, Ryo is also another Digidestined who, according to the timeline of the Wonderswan video games, had already met Taichi and company. How come those folks managed to avoid Wendigomon’s demented incarnation of purgatory?
- On top of that, how come TK and Hikari also managed to get a pass from Wendigomon? If Taichi and Yamato got kidnapped because of their association as Digidestined from the original series, why did TK and Hikari get overlooked? The movie doesn’t really clarify that well.
- Even better yet, the method that Wendigomon used to find Wallace was just completely inefficient. Instead of rounding up all the Digidestined known to existence, why not just scope out all the Digidestined located in America, which would round up only to Wallace (as far as I’m concerned), and lead to a significant reduction in the search parameter? It just makes no sense how the antagonist could come up with such a flawed method to find his old pal. If I were a computer science professor at Harvard I would be laughing at just how inane the process to find Wallace is.
In addition to the standard music from Digimon Adventure 02, such as Target – Akai Shougeki, Break Up and even Brave Heart for the digivolution sequences, the kind of music that highlighted this film throughout was a dose of American country music. Most of the scenes that weren’t battle related were filled with a melody straight out of a harmonica and banjo duet. To be honest, I couldn’t help but think of stereotypical cowboy movies when it played out, but it kind of makes sense considering this was a standoff between the Digidestined and a Digimon partner gone rogue, in the former’s quest to bring it to justice. Also, the music for the final fight had a very ominous-sounding vibe, which fit well to the scenery. It reminded me of bits of the soundtrack for Digimon World game I have for the original Playstation console. Sadly, the film’s closing songs for the 02 series weren’t the best, and Ai Maeda’s Stand By Me is no exception to this, in spite of the other great tracks she has made for the franchise.
Favorite scene: Wallace and Daisuke’s discussion about the truth behind Chocomon’s origin, in my opinion, was the best scene of the film. The atmosphere, music and the acting surrounding it was just brilliantly executed. Wallace’s backstory really gave light to the movie’s premise, and helped it give some depth; also, for a moment, seeing Daisuke here becomes a vulnerable person who can’t stand the thought of having to kill his own Digimon partner was very well-handled and gave further insight to his character. I like to think that this experience helped him to grow in later episodes of Digimon Adventure 02; it was a brilliant shift in tone especially considering Daisuke’s normally upbeat and optimistic character.
Favorite battle: My favorite battle from this film will have to go towards Daisuke/Flamedramon and Wallace/Gargomon’s tag team fight against Wendigomon. I’ll give it props, the fight sequence was well-animated and had that TV-esque feel to it.
Favorite quote: The sequence where Daisuke trolls Wallace while he is on the phone talking to his mom had a funny moment with Terriermon being savage, and conjuring the closest thing this film has come to both a “Yo mama” and “No u” joke:
Terriermon: Wallace’s mom is big, like this:
*proceeds to breathe in and enlarge himself, much to Demiveemon’s delight*
Wallace: You’re such a blabbermouth, you know that Terriermon?
Terriermon: So are you!
Wallace: Really, you’re pathetic.Terriermon makes the first “No u” joke in Digimon movie history
While Hurricane Touchdown does have a much more refined plot and a nice character addition in Wallace, I didn’t really feel anything special about this film otherwise. Heck, as a child even I didn’t really care about this part growing up with the FOX Kids version, and seeing the original did not do much to improve that perspective. All in all, I would say to give this one a shot just for the experience and to cleanse yourself of the memory of the FOX Kids version. It’s no masterpiece, but hey – it’ll help you if you need some more 02 material to look at, not that I’d understand why you’d want to.
Revenge Of Diablomon, on the other hand… now that is something different. And that will be saved for another Anime Review.