“It can’t get any worse,” one of the heroic tykes remarks near the beginning of “Digimon: The Movie.” The statement proves profoundly untrue. As if the two “Pokemon” movies weren’t bad enough, we’re now treated to a dubbed version of a Japanese cartoon feature based on another TV franchise, which apparently also includes lots of trading cards and action figures. Like “Pokemon,” “Digimon” has something to do with a group of young heroes who are befriended by “monsters” from another world (in this case, the digital dimension); but here the monsters regularly mutate into more advanced shapes (or “digivolve,” as the vocabulary of the show puts it) as they (inevitably) battle one another for reasons that are never explained. The present movie falls into two parts, the first concerning the efforts of some Japanese digidestined, as they’re called, to neutralize a viral monster that has infected the internet and threatens the world, and the second, set in the U.S., having something to do with the Japanese kids aiding an American boy to defeat what seems to be some sort of remnant of the monster overcome in part one. (I realize that none of this makes much sense, but that’s not my fault.)
Anyway, what matters most about “Digimon” is that it’s crudely animated and utterly uninteresting from the standpoint of characterization or dialogue (the jokes are particularly flat). Like “Pokemon,” it also features an unconscionable amount of fighting and explosive violence, all (of course) smothered in nonsensical talk about courage and teamwork. Watching it as an adult is a truly dismal experience; it makes one realize more than ever the sort of charmless, nasty entertainment children today are regularly exposed to.
At various points during “Digimon,” the battling monsters affect all modern technological apparatus, shutting down electrical grids and phone lines. All I could think of at these moments is how wonderful it would have been had they also turned off the movie projector and ended this cinematic torture posthaste. “Digimon” is digicrap.