The "All Stars" movies are better than I used to think. The idea's ridiculous, of course. They're a team-up of everyone to date, which by this point meant eleven teams and 44 heroines, including the movie-only Cure Echo. You can't make a kiddie film with 44 heroines. Even Toei stopped doing them regularly after this. They made another for the 15th anniversary
, admittedly, but from now on a PreCure team-up movie would only promise to star the last three teams.
That said, though, they're also surprisingly good. The first three (the DX trilogy) were the kind of dumb crossover comics event you're imagining (although I love them), but fairly soon the storylines had no choice but to get creative. This is actually one of the weaker ones, although it's still worth watching. It's a bit of a DX throwback and the "Good Underneath But Hasn't Realised" villain is only middling, but:
(a) it's a Disney musical. Characters regularly burst into song and dance, sometimes with the passers-by as backing dancers. Even the baddies sing about how evil they are. The songs are nothing special, alas, but I love the climactic superhero battle set to a lullaby. The ex-villain will be singing elegaically about a forest of dreams and our heartbeats blending together... while, in the meantime, the PreCures kick, punch and energy-blast an incoming missile fusillade. (As the title suggests, that song is crucial to the plot.)
(b) in comparison, single-team PreCure films can be a bit thin. Minimal cast, simple ideas and not quite enough plot to fill the running time. All Stars films, on the other hand, have given themselves the opposite problem.
(c) the action scenes. Goodness me. If you want to see superheroes kick arse, you've come to the right place. It's pure fan service that doesn't get best value from its iconic theme songs, but who cares when HappinessCharge
's Megumi is shooting her Superman eye lasers again? "Lovely Beam!"
Of the girls themselves, in order of apparent importance...
= Mirai and Riko are the main heroines, obviously. (Haa-chan hasn't arrived yet.) Riko's a bit off-model at the beginning, being implausibly stupid in her surprise at being busted as a witch after she'd cast magic in front of everyone while wearing a witch's outfit. However, they're the early versions of themselves that can carry a story and they have a character arc, about their inexperience and lack of confidence.
Also, the film's last scene reminds us that they're the only magic-using PreCures. That makes them unique, which on reflection is a bit odd in a magical girl franchise.
= the first team to meet Mirai and Riko. (Kirara hasn't moved to Paris yet, but she's completed her preparations.) They fight together as a superteam of six and, later, wear their most hilariously absurd dresses. Also, importantly, Yui gets a cameo. This made me ridiculously happy.
+ HAPPINESS CHARGE
= the second superteam. The All Stars movies have stopped trying to represent everyone individually.
EVERYONE ELSE = locked up in the baddies' prison. Erika (Cure Marine) is still the franchise comedian, though, while Honoka and Nagisa get respect.
This isn't the best All Stars film, but I enjoyed it. Solciere's emotional backstory and eventual conversion are a bit of a script lump, but they're good enough. The songs are passable. The evil dwarf horse is a laugh, though, while the film's approach to 44 heroines is sensible. The battles and returning guest villains are cool and impressive, the girls are likeable and the film's got a heart.