If Salvador Dali, Heironymous Bosch and the folks who did "My Little Pony" had launched a video game software firm, the results may have resembled the frightening assemblage of creatures populating "Pokemon the Movie 2000."
Stubby-armed horned slugs? We got 'em. Zombie-eyed alien turtles? You betcha. Plume-topped, demon-fanged eggheads? Right here.
The rainbow-hued critters of the Pokemon universe -- a universe of deep arcana to the unknowing outsider (namely: me) -- squeak, squiggle and squoosh their way through this cartoon feature, which is actually two cartoons: the shorter, surrealer "Pikachu's Rescue Adventure" and the longer, louder "The Power of One." Based on the inexplicably popular Nintendo game and its TV, film and collectible cards spawn, both segments feature the boy hero Ash Ketchum and the bunny-like Pokemon protagonist, Pikachu.
In the first 'toon, Pikachu goes down an "Alice In Wonderland"-type rabbit hole and lands in a spooky forest full of weird chirping, chattering beasties, where a cat-like Pokemon with a backpack needs rescuing.
In "The Power of One" -- which mixes traditional cel animation and computer animation to better effect than the recent teen sci-fier, "Titan A.E." (there's a way-cool CGI flying sphere) -- an evil Pokemon collector by the name of Lawrence III plots to capture the powerful Pokemon birds Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno. These birds, you see, respectively control the natural balance among fire, lightning and ice, and their capture could mean that "all intelligent life will be destroyed."
I could make a joke here about the new Pokemon movie achieving pretty much the same goal, but that would be a cheap shot.