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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu review

Posted by admin on May 16, 2019

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A wild Pikachu appears! Do we attack it? Do we run? Or do we try to catch it…along with the other one hundred and fifty Pokémon? This is the premise of the first Pokémongame that I played back when I was in middle school. It made for a fun "on the go" game as it was long and had a variety of creatures to capture. There was (and still is) also an anime where we saw young Ash as he traveled the world with his Pikachu to become a Pokémon master and battle them against gym leaders. Some might call this a part of the company's marketing and some call it a great work of art.

As far as I'm concerned, it was a nice piece of nostalgia, though I don't follow it as closely as I did as a kid. I think it had to do with the fact that it kept adding more Pokémon to the roster, demanding more of my time, and thus, losing my interest when the plot got more confusing. It comes as no surprise that Hollywood would want to make a movie out of this (There had already been several animated movies before). Let's see how Pokémon: Detective Pikachu does as bringing these creatures to the real world. 

In an alternate world where humans and Pokémon coexist, a young insurance salesman Tim Goodman (played by Justice Smith) is content to neither have a Pokémon companion nor catch one. When he hears of his dad presumably killed in a car crash, he takes a train to a metropolis called Ryme City, where Pokémon battles aren’t allowed and encourage a unity between the species. He visits his father's friend detective Hideo Yoshida (played by Ken Watanabe) for information and also meets an aspiring journalist Lucy Stevens (played by Kathryn Newton) and her Psyduck Pokémon. 

When Tim goes to his dad's apartment, he discovers not only a Pikachu (played by Ryan Reynolds) with a hat on, but it can talk to him. He realizes that only he can understand him, but that it may have something to do with his dad's death. They both agree to team up and dwell into Ryme city. This involves other Pokémon, a Pokémon battle with a dragon-like Charizard, a mystery involving the head of Ryme City Howard Clifford (played by Bill Nighy) and a clone creature called a Mewtwo. 

How many times did I use the word Pokémon? A lot, and that's something you should know. This movie was made for Pokémon fans and this movie is unlikely to change that if otherwise. As a casual fan, I thought the movie was okay. In fact, whenever it wasn't doing something Pokémon related, things would become boring. To go into better detail, the best thing about the movie is the Pokémon and their use in this world. I admire the movie for creating it's own world rather then try and stick them into our world. Each creature looks great without compromising it's cartoon-like quality from the games. This is simply a place where these things exist like the toons in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Speaking of which, the movie can succeed if it's duo works. The problem is that only half of it actually fires. Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu got a lot of laughs out of me. I was worried it would become another Deadpool, but he manages to make it his own (and the movie does explain why he talks and why Justice Smith can understand him). The problem I have is with the human. Justice Smith was annoying in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and while he isn't as annoying, his character is too bitter and depressing to sympathize with. The rest of the actors do fine…if the script had given them more to do.

Also going back to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the movie as a similar premise and plot of a human teaming with an animated character. It seems a lot of these types of movies follow the same plot. I won't knock on the film for that, but I will say the joy of the game and anime was about the catching and battling of Pokémon. I kind of wished the first live action Pokémon movie would had had a lot more of that. 


I'll give this three Pokéballs out of five. While I wished the movie could have taken more advantage of the Pokémon and even with the overall mystery, it's clear that the audience for this movie are the fans in the first place. Director Rob Letterman had also directed Goosebumps and that too was meant for those who read the books. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu should only be watched by those who have a little nostalgia for the franchise. If so, then you gotta catch it all.