Detective Pikachu, or Pokémon Detective Pikachu, is an urban fantasy mystery film released on May 3rd, 2019. It stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice and the facial motion capture for the titular character along with Justice Smith as his lead companion and is directed by Rob Letterman. Check out the review by Review Monkey below.
I’m going to be completely honest. I had given up on the idea of live action movies based on video games or cartoons or anime because it is known that we have never gotten a good one…ever. All we have gotten are butchered down, heartless abominations and I was done. It may be safe to say that the “video game movie curse” has been broken, to some extent, with this year’s Detective Pikachu.
When I first heard that there was a live action Pokémon movie on the way, I didn’t really know what to think or expect. All I wondered was who would play Ash, Brock and Misty, you know, the main trio from the OG series. Then the trailer for Detective Pikachu came out and I was surprised to see that none of the actual human characters from the very first series would be making an appearance. Naturally, that worried me.
Then, the second thing that was on my mind before the trailer dropped was how they were going to design the various Pokémon and how they’re going to incorporate them into a live action world. Detective Pikachu’s trailer blew my worries and expectations away. I instantly fell in love with the character designs and how my beloved Pokémon all looked.
I’m a huge Pokémon fan. I have always been one. This is one of the main things that I can confidently say defines my childhood. I made sure I always got the new set of Pokémon Trading Cards before everyone else, I used to make sure I had the best and the rarest ones so I could gloat to all my loser friends, even though I honestly had no idea how to play with the cards. But collecting them had its own appeal.
Then, the TV was mine at 4 PM because that is when the new Pokémon episode was going to air. Everyone knew that and noone disturbed me. Then the Pokémon Gameboy games, I mean, if that doesn’t make you nostalgic or defines your childhood to some extent, I don’t know what to say.
And that is exactly why I was very possessive when I heard about Detective Pikachu. I was very doubtful and was ready to rant about how they have destroyed the legacy with this unnecessary movie. But the moment I heard Reynolds was attached to it, I got a little hopeful.
Ryan completely carries this whole movie on his little, furry shoulders as the titular Detective Pikachu. I never thought hearing the voice of Deadpool as a character COMPLETELY opposite would work so damn well. It felt so natural to hear his voice as Pikachu that I was surprised in the best way possible. Detective Pikachu makes borderline, witty jokes in the movie that would go over kids’ heads and the adults would get it but it would be enjoyable for both. And I just have to give praise to Reynolds for making something possible that shouldn’t have worked, ever. Kudos!
The rest of the cast is fine with what they are given. Justice Smith plays Tim Goodman, a 21 year old insurance salesman who isn’t too fond of the idea of Pokémon. As his distant father passes away, he goes to Ryme City to check his apartment and belongings. That is where he finds Detective Pikachu, his father’s Pokémon and that is where this movie really shines. The dynamic between Detective Pikachu and Tim is extremely entertaining to watch because Tim, just like the rest of us, knows that these little creatures aren’t supposed to be talking.
Based on the Detective Pikachu video game, this movie shows us a huge variety of Pokémon. And let’s be honest, that was the main reason any of us tuned in to the film. We wanted to see all of our beloved Pokémon come to life and interact with humans. The moment Tim enters Ryme City, it is heaven for a long time Pokémon fan. You just can’t help but point at and name all of the Pocket Monsters in the shots because “Who’s That Pokémon?” is something we all used to love doing back in the day whenever the show cut to commercials.
Aside from Detective Pikachu, all the fan favorites are there. There’s Mewtwo, who appears right in the beginning of the movie, an overpowered Pokémon who is basically set up as the antagonist. There’s Cubone, a sad little dude who wears the skull of his dead mother and appears very much in the beginning too. Then we switch to Ryme City where Pokémon live side by side with humans and there are no battles between them. There is no concept of Pokéballs and everyone lives together in harmony. Everyone is supposed to have a partner Pokémon in this city.
There’s Snubbull, a detective’s sidekick. Psyduck is there as Lucy’s (Kathryn Newton), an intern for a news company, partner. Then there is the Pidgey family with all three stages appearing in different parts of the movie. Duduo, Rattata, Bouffalant, Lickitung, Charmander among MANY others are all there and all of their designs left me in awe.
That doesn’t necessarily means that the movie is without its flaws. As entertaining as it is, the rest of the cast, including Lucy, feel like they were just there for the sake of it with not much to do. As well written Detective Pikachu was, the rest of the cast didn’t feel very authentic and came as over the top.
The plot was pretty generic and typical too, with twists that didn’t make much sense. But that’s just it. Even without the strongest story, if a movie manages to make me happy and invested and entertains me to my core, then I consider it a win!
Overall, I had an absolute blast of a time with Detective Pikachu. This is a movie that I never thought would work but with Ryan Reynolds absolutely crushing it as the titular character and the vast array of Pokémon seen throughout this movie, I would say this is one of the best video game movies I have ever watched and everyone should check this movie out, especially long time Pokémon fans such as myself. Special shoutout to that scene with Ryan Reynolds singing the Pokémon Theme Song as Detective Pikachu. That was a legit movie moment of 2019!
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