Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is based on the 2016 video game for the Nintendo 3DS handheld system with the same name. Even the game's story is similar to the movie where a boy named, Tim, goes out in search of his missing dad with a crime fighting Pikachu that only he can talk to.
After Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green were released the game company, Game Freak, originally wanted Clefairy as the franchise's lead mascot. However, with the animated TV show, Pikachu was chosen instead to appeal to the younger demographic. Another deciding factor is because the color yellow is an easier color for children to recognize.
As the mascot of the Pokémon franchise, Pikachu has had spin-off games of its own. These games were Pokémon Yellow, Hey You, Pikachu!, Pokémon Channel, Detective Pikachu, and Pokémon Let's Go: Pikachu.
Ever since 2001, Pikachu has made an appearance at Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade as a balloon. The original Pikachu balloon was flown one last time at the Pokémon: Tenth Anniversary party on August 8, 2006.
The Pokémon franchise is 23 years old as of 2019.
Warning: There will be spoilers in this review. If you have not seen the movie yet and wish to not be spoiled turn back now and come back after you have seen the movie.
While searching for his missing father in Rhyme City, a boy and a crime fighting Pikachu will find out there is a much bigger conspiracy that needs to be unravelled.
When this movie was first announced I never thought that a live action movie about Pokémon could be achieved. I thought that this was going to look weird and would flop like any other movie based on a video game. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu could have gone so terribly wrong since movie adaptations usually have almost nothing to do with the video game. That was until the first trailer for this movie arrived and then my impression was starting to shift. I saw that there was a lot of care put into filming this movie and designing the Pokémon. It really looked like a world that fans and children imagined if this world existed.
Whether you played the video games or not the story is pretty easy to follow. The movie revolves around this guy named Tim who is played by Justice Smith. At the beginning of the movie Tim wanted nothing to do with Pokémon and wanted nothing to do with his father until he received a phone call from the Rhyme City police department saying that his father has died. So he visits his father's apartment in Rhyme City where he meets his father's Pokémon, Pikachu, played by Ryan Reynolds. After an awkward introduction of Tim hearing Pikachu talk, Pikachu convinces Tim that his father is still alive somewhere and they investigate what happened to Tim's father. As far as the story goes it didn't make me feel bored at any moment while watching this movie. Everything felt balanced with the pace of the movie, the comedic moments and timing, and the times when the movie needed to be serious. It plays some of the comedic parts with awkward moments and some are pretty funny, but others not so much. However, the best parts are when the movie gets serious and tension is rising for the characters. I think this is when the actors put on their best performance for this movie.
I even loved how the movie showed or made reference to the video games which helped bring this world in the movie look believable. Like when Tim's friend was showing Tim how to use a Pokéball to catch Pokémon. In the games, the game begins with someone showing you how to capture Pokémon. There is even scene showing a kid that looks like the protagonist in the original Pokémon Red and Blue games that was walking into a stadium about to have a battle with another trainer. One reference that I did catch was not a video game reference, but a reference to another movie. When Tim was entering the living room in his father's apartment the TV was playing a familiar black and white movie playing a scene about Snakes wanting Johnny to pay up after bringing him Johnny's "stuff." Yep, this is the same movie that Kevin McCallister watched in Home Alone. This one just seems sort of out of place, but I am guessing this was used to make Detective Pikachu feel like a noir movie.
Last time I saw Justice Smith in a movie he was in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom playing as the awkward sheltered nerd who is afraid of everything and I really hated his character in that movie. He was so annoying that it made me wish the Baryonyx would just eat him. In Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Justice Smith wasn't really annoying. He actually did a decent job with his performance as Tim in this movie. He wasn't beating me in the head as an awkward sheltered nerd character like in his last movie. He was serious when he needed to be serious and his funny moments weren't bad either. There were times where I would chuckle at some of his funny moments like when he was interrogating a Mr. Mime by threatening to drop an imaginary match after covering him with imaginary gasoline.
When I saw Ken Watanabe was in this movie, I was hoping that he would play a little bit of a larger role as Lieutenant Yoshida like he is helping Tim in the background dig a little deeper into his father's disappearance. Instead, I was disappointed that he had such a small role that all he does is convince Tim that his father is dead and move on without investigating any further. In my opinion, I think Warner Bros. and Legendary could have done a little more with Ken Watanabe's character. Whenever I see him in movies made by Warner Bros. and Legendary, it always seems like Ken is always seen not doing much at all. I am hoping that won't be the case when he is in Godzilla: King Of The Monsters.
Ryan Reynolds does a decent job playing the role as Pikachu, but I got a sense that Ryan Reynolds is just playing as himself. Every movie I have seen him in whether it's Deadpool, Green Lantern, Blade Trinity, or even that romance-comedy, The Proposal, he just plays the same character over and over. The characters he plays are usually sarcastic and would always annoy other characters to gain the upper hand or just to be funny. His role as Pikachu seems to be no different than any other roles he has been in as the comedy relief character. He has his moments where it was a little funny, but the only memorable thing that I thought was funny was while Pikachu is torn from his guilt that he betrayed Tim's father he is singing the theme song to the original Pokémon cartoon show. This goes on for maybe a minute or two and then it stops being funny as he keeps dragging it on to finish singing the whole song. In other words, the joke falls apart since this is suppose to be a moment when the audience is suppose to feel bad for Pikachu.
Kathryn Newton plays the role of Lucy Stevens, an intern at a news company trying to make it big as a reporter with her Pokémon partner, Psyduck. Lucy tries to act inconspicuous, but always comes off as awkward. Yeah, she is THAT character. What I mean by THAT I mean she plays the awkward character, which I always found annoying because movies usually play it up too much. In this movie, I am sort of glad that it's done twice and was over with. It wasn't played up so much to where I would hate the character. Lucy is actually a pretty good supporting character. The movie really showed that Lucy has other emotions other than being awkward. There were times where she was concerned about Tim or Pikachu when something bad happened or when Tim presents her a clue she gets excited because it's one step closer to her goal as a reporter. So I don't hate this character at all.
The designs of the Pokémon are amazing. They really look like their video game counterparts that were brought into the real world. If you have been playing the Pokémon games up to the current generation, then you will have no problem recognizing all of them. This movie is so jam packed with Pokémon that you will need to watch the movie a couple of times just to see if you can find any that you missed. I remember when the first trailer hit, everyone including myself would watch it over and over to find any that was missed. You have Pokémon that you can obviously find in the foreground and there would be some in the background that can be easily missed. Even during the movie, I would try to name all of the Pokémon I could find. The amount of detail put into these Pokémon really makes the world in this movie look so real and they just look amazing on screen. There are times where a couple of them that did not look right, but it didn't ruin the whole movie for me.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is a pretty good movie that kids and the fans will love. All of the actors did a good job in playing their respective roles, but it made me wish that Ken Watanabe had a little bigger role. The story wasn't boring at all and kept my attention through out the whole movie and the designs of the Pokémon themselves look amazing. If you're a fan of Pokémon or have kids that like Pokémon then I definitely recommend giving this movie a watch.
Did you see Pokémon: Detective Pikachu? If so, what are your thoughts on the movie? If not, do you plan on seeing it? Leave your comment down in the comment section and make sure to follow me on my Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.