Movies for Breakfast POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU Review
After years of waiting, a live-action Pokémon movie is finally here.
In a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.
Pokémon is one of the largest franchises worldwide, and while they have had several successful animated films, for the first time ever a live action worldwide theatrical movie is coming in the form of Detective Pikachu. Directed by Rob Letterman, the film stars the talents of Ryan Reynolds as a talking Pikachu, Justice Smith as Tim Goodman, Kathryn Newton as Lucy Stevens, Bill Nighy as Howard Clifford, and Chris Geere as Roger Clifford.
Detective Pikachu follows the story of Tim Goodman, an average person living in the world of Pokémon who aspired to become a Pokémon trainer, but never did. When his father is killed, he goes to Rhyme City to pack his fathers’ belongings. Within Rhyme City he finds that the founder of the city Howard Clifford runs the city with his son Roger Clifford to create a safe place for humans and Pokémon to coexist. Within the city there are no poke balls, no Pokémon battles, and everyone has a partnered Pokémon. When a talking Pikachu shows up at Tim’s fathers’ apartment, donning a hat with his father’s name, it becomes apparent there is a mystery to be solved. Reluctantly teaming up with the talking Pikachu that only he understands, Tim follows the trail of leads that his father left behind to discover why someone wanted him dead.
When it comes to Detective Pikachu, the film is a very child friendly film. It was a film made for kids to enjoy, with a couple jokes for adults here and there, but overall the plot is very geared towards kids. While it would have been nice for the plot to be a little more complex, and possibly aimed at the people who grew up with Pokémon, this is not the case with Detective Pikachu. It is a very simple plot that most kids’ movies follow when it comes to mysteries. While good for kids and being easy enough for them to follow and be surprised by, anyone else watching will be able to see every plot point coming from a mile away as they have already seen it done multiple times. The story of Detective Pikachu does not break new ground, but it is saved by the cast that make sure the ride is entertaining the entire time. With Ryan Reynolds voicing Pikachu, there is a sense of just how much fun he had with this role. Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton also give great performances and help the plot moving without feeling as sluggish and slow as it is.
When it comes to Detective Pikachu though, the plot isn’t the reason people want to see this movie. The reason for this movie is seeing a live action Pokémon movie, with Pokémon surrounding the area and interacting with everything. When it comes to this aspect, the film delivers beyond any kind of expectations. Every scene of the movie feels organic, and the Pokémon blend in with the cityscape like they are there. The city being a place for Pokémon can roam free with people is a great way to be able to showcase as many Pokémon as possible, and there are a lot of Pokémon showcased throughout the film. As someone that grew up with Pokémon when I was a kid, there were many times where my eyes lit up watching the Pokémon I always knew come to life like never before. While some designs of the Pokémon turn out to be a little creepier than I remember them, Ludicolo, they seem realistic and stay true to the designs from the games. The film almost doesn’t need a plot and could just go from place to place showing new Pokémon along the way and it would be exactly what people wanted when this was first announced.
Detective Pikachu is the first live action Pokémon movie, and growing up with Pokémon I never thought this would become a reality. While the plot is very subpar, it is kept afloat by the great casting decisions, and the overall world building that this movie performs. While I am not on the edge of my seat hoping to hear an announcement for a Detective Pikachu 2, I would go and see it if they announced it. Even more though I hope we get a new movie following the adventures of a Pokémon trainer, maybe red from the Pokémon games, as they adventure through the world of Pokémon that this movie setup. If you grew up with Pokémon, go see this movie. If you have kids, go see this movie. If you grew up with Pokémon and now have kids, this movie was made for you. If you don’t fall into one of those categories though, you will be very lost on this movie and probably not enjoy it, so if you are on the fence this might be better to wait for a home release, or a streaming service to pick it up.