“There’s magic, it brought us together – and that magic is called hope!”
– Detective Pikachu; Pokémon Detective Pikachu
2019 is simply blooming with live actions—Aladdin, The Lion King, possibly Sonic the Hedgehog and Stitch in the foreseeable future; but we’re here to talk about the newly-released Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
Let’s get it out of the way—I am not a Pokémon devotee. I’ve never stayed awake through a full episode of the animated series, I can’t hum the theme song naturally and listing more than twelve Pokémon is not something I am capable of (Pikachu, Eevee, Gengar, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Aipom, Pancham, Ditto, Mewtwo, Cubone, Snubbull – there, only twelve).
When the trailer came out a few months back, my friend group – which consists of four, two who are complete Pokémon enthusiasts – decided to watch it when our local cinema would show it. I viewed the trailer and besides from being utterly freaked out by Lickitung, I concluded that the idea behind the live action film was worth the twenty-eight bucks, seeing as how I loved it so much, I watched it twice.
Before we move on any further, I must admit, a part of me wanted to watch it solely because of how adorable Pikachu was and because they chose Ryan Reynolds to voice the little creature.
You know what, let’s start with the very choice for Reynolds to voice Pikachu. That decision is nonetheless applause-worthy and you cannot convince me otherwise. Comparing it to Deadpool, Reynolds is the king when it comes to portraying characters with both a silly-minded side and an emotional depth. Hence, when you put him as the voice behind a yellow, furry, amnesiac mouse roaming Ryme City understanding only one human being, it somehow clicks perfectly and wins the heart of the audience.
Unfailingly, Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton (as Tim Goodman and Lucy Stevens respectively) out-performed themselves in every which way – one a broken-hearted son set on getting to the bottom of his father’s alleged death, the other a young reporter aspiring to make her big breakthrough. Both actors and other supporting characters did an outstanding job in moving the story forward. I believe they deserve all the credit going their way.
Enough with the cast, let’s talk about the storyline, what I’m really here to discuss. Pokémon Detective Pikachu is not an origin story; that part is pretty much covered by the original animated series. It doesn’t matter if you’re a loyal Pokémon advocate since 1996 or not, the film offers a brand new spin on the tale, something that none of us has ever witnessed in the franchise. I firmly believe that the formula used by this film is something rarely spotted in the industry even though a great many may argue against my point. The movie provides a vision of how it would be for Pokémon and mankind to live together, heck, to aid each other in everyday life. Its concept of Ryme City is a place where there is a true bond between each human and their Pokémon partner, which is a cheery touch to the entire idea.
Without spoiling the movie for those who are late to the party, the film offers a comfortable amount of unexpected plot twists that sneak up right under your nose. The catch with twists is that you can’t make it too obvious to the extent where it bores the audience, nor can you put in so much information that it overwhelms the viewers. Pokémon Detective Pikachu, of course, handled this with perfect balance. The overall execution of the story was marvelous, in my opinion, paired with an interesting way of story-telling and amazing build up. There wasn’t a single scene that was a letdown or a predictable one – some even had me on the edge of my seat.
Now, I’m not a professional when it comes to cinematography, but I will say this much: the animation and CG of the entire film were superb, to say the very least. The filmmakers made Ryme City absolutely believable and not a single detail that entered the eye was left unattended. I expected the film to only contain a few common Pokémon, but they surpassed expectations without a shadow of a doubt when they animated more Pokémon species than I can name and as proven, that is not an exaggeration. Take one scene that I’ve noticed for example – for the few seconds in Yoshida’s office when he was patting Snubbull, his fingers actually brushed through Snubbull’s fur – it was just convincing, and trust me when I say I am usually oblivious to minor details. There are definitely more praises that the film is entitled to, but I am not the right person to further critic on that.
That’s all I have to say regarding this live action movie. If you’re looking for two hours’ worth of ridiculousness, go catch Pokémon Detective Pikachu in theatres now.