I watched this a year ago and thought it was bad. I'd just finished watching HeartCatch PreCure, you see, so I watched their crossover movie with Futari wa PreCure (Max Heart), Splash Star, Yes! (GoGo!) and (4) Fresh... but I hadn't seen any of those earlier seasons.
This was a mistake... but at least I realised this, afterwards. Solution: watch everything. A year later, I've gone from the beginning all the way through to HeartCatch, so at last I'm ready to rewatch this film.
ORIGINAL VERDICT: it's a fairly flat, mechanical excuse for a film... but only bad if you're judging it as a normal movie. It's good at what it does. It's energetic, likeable and even charming, in its way, and perfectly watchable if you know what to expect. It's lots of guest star turns, basically. It even ends with a pretty decent apocalypse, with of course the PreCures saving the day. That said, though, non-fans should avoid this film. Only for completists and small children.
REWATCH VERDICT: I loved it, despite the weak cosmic handwave finale.
You're watching for fannish nostalgia, obviously. The film has no other purpose. See the PreCures you love all together! From this point of view, it's great. Significant differences from last time include:
(a) bringing back villains, not just monsters. This is oddly wonderful. Recurring villains are a special kind of old friend, especially when they're this mad. It's also an interesting test of which were the best villains, for which my vote goes to Kintoleski and Northa. I remembered them as people, not just as wacky loons (Karehan, Moerumba) or as distinctive monster designs (Nebatakos, Arachnea, Ms. Shitataare).
Mind you, this villains' roster doesn't include my real favourites, i.e. comedians like Bunbee and Westar who eventually SPOILERED. There's a reason for that, obviously.
(b) more characterisation for our heroines. Tsubomi and Erika from HeartCatch really are one of the most vividly characterised PreCure teams, i.e. they're fun. They think they're the only PreCures. Comedy reaction shots. Tsubomi gets some great facial expressions, while Erika once again gives her fairy a tough time.
However the returning teams are also well served, with comedy incompetence from all four former lead PreCures. Love gets better material than she did as the then-current lead PreCure in the first DX film.
(c) Even the fairies make a sort of Scooby Gang and have amusing misadventures. (They're like fleeing rats.) We're also reminded that Chiffon is basically the apocalypse weapon of fairies. He kills.
(d) a new supervillain called Bottom. Let's be mature and call that a Shakespeare reference.
(e) lots and lots of supporting cast cameos, although you'd need to pause to spot most of them. My favourites were Kaoru and Michiru, but that's also the only place you'll see important HeartCatch characters like Granny, Sunshine and Moonlight. (This film was released between HeartCatch ep.6 and ep.7, so a lot of mythos wasn't in place yet.)
(f) thank goodness, we don't have everyone's full transformation sequences. And when I say "everyone", I mean "Yes GoGo".
There's a plot-oid. It's extremely simple and no one would notice if you shuffled around a few of the fights, but it's enough to give structure and escalation. Everyone goes to the Fairy Park and has goofy fun, but then villains attack! Tsubomi and Erika end up heading for Bottom and unable to transform, while a countdown counts down and earlier PreCure teams fight and protect. Unfortunately, the countdown hits zero. Our heroines discover a nightmare world and a pretty convincing apocalypse.
This is resolved with magic wibble, which is where the film falls down a bit.
After that, though, comes a song-and-dance medley of everyone's theme songs. This is what got me rewatching all of PreCure from the beginning.
This isn't a good film, but it's a good PreCure reunion. As a film, it's basically a framework for character comedy and superhero fights. I wouldn't dream of recommending it to a non-fan, but I enjoyed it enormously. The HeartCatch art style is incorporated seamlessly, without ever seeming out of place. It's got the iconic music. It's got jokes. It's got returning villains, which is a surprisingly big plus. The only negatives, for me, were: (a) bundling the two Futari teams together for a joint spotlight battle, and (b) the magical handwave defeat of Bottom.
I'm looking forward to DX3.