I’ve waited about twenty years for this movie; not specifically a movie about a pikachu that was a detective, but a live action pokemon movie. Yes I am a fan of the Pokemon franchise, I have kept up with the videogames based on my income level (so far gen 5 is the only gen I had to skip), I have a few issues of Pokemon The Electric Tale of Pikachu, and my favorite arc of Pokemon Adventures is the Ruby/Sapphire arc. I don’t play the cardgame, and I enjoy playing Pokemon Go with my friends, and maybe one day I’ll get into competitive battling. I also have various pikachu dolls around my room…
So then, a live action pokemon movie that many people thought would either be amazing, suck, or be somewhere in the middle. I think it fell in the middle. I’m going to try to do this review as spoiler free as possible because I’m actually going to share it with a friend of mine who is half of FullCircle Podcast.
Okay I know I said I wasn’t going to do any spoilers, but I like doing this bold text thing, helps me decide when to actually begin the review.
The story follows Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) as he returns to Ryme City with the news of his father’s sudden and mysterious passing in the line of detective work duty. Tim is confronted by a talking pikachu with a detective hat that can speak to him (with Ryan Reynolds’ voice!) The two are joined by Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) a intern reporter who is investigating a mysterious substance that makes pokemon behave unlike themselves.
This movie…was made with alot of love, respect, and understanding of the Pokemon franchise, to the point where my goldfish brain was more focused on easter eggs and accuracy to the pokemon videogames (holy spit is it accurate). There are various references to the anime as well (Lucy has a Psyduck who suffers from headaches, but unlike a certain water trainer, Lucy loves said Psyduck and plays whailemer/whailord sounds to soothe the Psyduck’s headaches.)
The realistic approach to the pokemon may be a little offsetting to both fans and nonfans of the franchise .Some background pokemon look exactly like their game counterparts except in 3d and rendered to blend in with the real world as seen in some of the commercials. I actually had alot of fun playing “who’s that pokemon?” whenever one popped up on the screen and will probably play it again when I take some of my nieces and nephews to see the film.
The actual plot of the move…could be better, but I have heard rumors from Did You Know Movies that this is a test to see if a Pokemon Cinimatic Universe could work, I’d like for it to work. I was actually shocked that some observations I made of the commercials were accurate to the films; in select parts of the Pokemon world battling is frowned upon and underground battles do happen. Nothing more was touched upon in this subject, but I’m very shocked battling took a backseat in the story completely (maybe even trunkspace).
The target audience of Pokemon (fans of the franchise, kids, fans with kids, nerds, weebs, late twenties shut ins) will probably like Detective Pikachu. I don’t know if a mainstream audience will love it, but I may have convinced some friends who aren’t as into pokemon to see it.
I give Pokemon Detective Pikachu three Lure Balls out of Five.