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20 Years Ago Digimon: The Movie Premiered, And It Wasn't Great

Gif: Fox

Two decades ago today Saban Entertainment and Fox Kids released Digimon: The Movie in theaters across the U.S. An extremely edited mash-up of three different Japanese Digimon short films, it wound up a mess of a movie with an awesome soundtrack. Let’s all get digital.

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In the late ‘90s, following the success of the first two Pokémon movies, Fox decided it wanted a Digimon movie in theaters. The problem was that while the Pokémon franchise had feature-length Japanese-language films ready to go, all Digimon had was a trio of short animated seasonal films. Digimon Adventure (1999), Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! (2000), and Digimon Adventure 02: Part I: Digimon Hurricane Touchdown!!/Part II: Supreme Evolution!! The Golden Digimentals (2000) clocked in at 20, 40, and 60 minutes respectively. Lacking the material for a lengthy feature, Saban Entertainment cut the three semi-related shorts together into one not-very-cohesive movie.

We wound up with the film’s opening, subtitled “Eight Years Ago,” in which a young Tai and his sister Kairi discover a Digi-Egg on their computer. It hatches into Agumon, gets in a fight, and then disappears. Cut to “Four Years Later,” in which the DigiDestined manage to defeat a super-powerful Digimon that’s somehow launched intercontinental ballistic missiles at Colorado and Japan. Finally we have “Present Day,” in which the DigiDestined children and their Digimon pals fight a computer virus that threatens the digital world.

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The three acts coincide with the three Japanese shorts. Fox Kids also included an intro in which once-popular cartoon character Angela Anaconda and friends arrive at the theater to watch Digimon: The Movie, which was very meta and pretty stupid. The whole mixed-up movie is available to watch on YouTube.

Groudon (YouTube)

It’s not a great movie, but it has great music. Along with several original songs, the soundtrack for Digimon: The Movie includes “All Star” by Smash Mouth, “The Impression That I Get” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies, and “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads” by Less Than Jake. It also contains the only other popular song by Len of “Steal My Sunshine” fame, a cover of Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America.” And let’s not forget the “Digi Rap!”

AngemonRulez (YouTube)

Okay, maybe forget the “Digi Rap.”

I saw Digimon: The Movie in theaters back in 2000. If you’re imagining cute little preteen Fahey, stop. I was 27. I brought a date. We’re married now with kids, so it all worked out, but it was pretty touch-and-go for a bit. Feel free to share your special Digimon: The Movie memories in the comments below.

Hey Digimon, Hey Digimon

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Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

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DISCUSSION

ospoesandbohs
O's, Poes and Bohs

Was it Citizen Kane? No. Was it a snapshot of its time? Absolutely, 100% yes.

But, fun fact, the climax of the movie is taken from Our War Game, which was directed by Mamoru Hosoda. And you can see common threads between that part of Saban’s amalgamated Digimon movie and his later film Summer Wars.