Pokémon’s status as a worldwide phenomenon means that you can break it down to its essential parts and folks will still recognise what you’re referencing. You show somebody an electric rat and, nine times out of ten, they’ll understand you’re talking about Pikachu. But can the franchise survive being filtered through the internet’s vast library of stock footage?
Since last year, UK comedian and filmmaker Matthew Highton has been recreating iconic television intros using only royalty-free videos and graphics. He’s previously set his sights on shows like The Simpsons and Dawson’s Creek, but his latest project is all about Pokémon. It’s a monstrosity, yes, but the overall creativity is off the charts.
Some of the choices Highton made are obvious. A battle between Raichu and Pikachu becomes two wrestling puppies. Pokéballs are represented by other spherical objects, like tennis balls and apples. But the best moments are when Highton had to combine disparate content to remake a complex vignette, such as series protagonist Ash Ketchum running across a field with a group of different Pokémon.
This hodgepodge of nonsense is like if someone tried to write a ransom letter while the spoiled rich kid they kidnapped was listening to cartoons in the background. That said, it’s hard to argue against the skill that Highton employed to bring this video collage to life. Is it art? I’ll leave that to you to decide. All I know is that I deeply love the mess he’s made of this iconic children’s show opening.