Pokémon: Detective Pikachu: Review by @Kush_Hayes
Im not sure when it was that Pokemon was developed by Nintendo and first graced American airwaves afternoons after school, immediately making it more mainstream than just a video game, but I do remember I was already ten years too old for the franchise when the first Animated movie came out in 1999. As you may imagine I was into other things that I would like to say had more maturity about them, but Im sure Id also be wrong about that. When it comes to my PokeKnowledge, I can tell you, I have seen that first movie, I have also seen a handful of episodes of the series thanks to a short lived employment at Suncoast Video where you could buy VHS cassettes with two whole episodes for $19.99 plus tax. And I temporarily participated in the world wide craze that was Pokemon Go three summers ago. That is the extent of my knowledge of Pokemon and from what I understand its not even scratching the surface of the property.
Our story takes place in a mythical near future, on what I guess is another dimension of earth where dogs and cats dont exist, but Pokemon do, and in the municipality of “Ryme City” humans and Pokemon coexist together as equals. Or they at least coexist. However a majority of this city has bonded with a Pokemon and while they cant necessarily communicate with each other the way we would, or even the way you would with a dog or a parrot, a link is formed and together they work towards their common goal.
When we meet Justice Smith, who you know from last Summers Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom and Netflixs The Get Down, hes resistant to the idea of pokemon-anything. However theres been an accident and his father is presumed dead which leads Smith to go to Ryme City. We find out he had a shaky relationship with his dad and the two do not know each other anymore. Smith tolerates his dads friends well-wishing him, but is uncomfortable most of the time and anti social all of the time.
Its while hes going through his dads things at his apartment, when we meet our hero Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds. For those unfamiliar, Pikachu is a species of pokemon, and for some reason they are all named Pikachu and only enunciate the words “Pika” and or “Pikachu”. None of them are named Wade, or Ryan, or Celine, etc. And all the species are like that. Thankfully, we never meet another Pikachu to keep things from getting confusing.
It is this Pikachu we find out was Smiths dads partner, and because of the accident that killed his dad, Pikachu has complete amnesia. Making things rather inconvenient and thus begins the mystery, including both of them being confused as to why only they can understand one another. While reluctant, fate and plot push Smith and Pikachu on the case to find out what happened to Smiths dad, why Pikachu cant remember anything and everything else that unravels when pulling on those threads.
The mystery of this movie is not complicated, after all, this is a kids movie. If anything its a good way to introduce kids to those old Private Eye/Gumshoe, Detective movies.
Its a very interesting way to bring those old school Noir Detective films to the 21st century, and make it appealing to a whole new audience and new generation not familiar with those classics. Children will love the Pokemon and the fantasy. Teenagers will laugh at Ryan Reynolds ADRd quips. Parents will appreciate it keeping their attention, even if they may ask multiple times “what is that?”
Its very fair to compare this to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but unlike that or The Lego Movies and Ready Player Ones, Pokemon is all one gigantic property that they absolutely try to cram as much of it into this movie. I will say they succeed, because also unlike a Ready Player One, or even a Transformers, you can see everything that is happening in this movie. Any repeat viewings would be just to see whats happening in that background, and not necessarily anything related to the characters or their story. Actual world building that makes you want to know more about it and its evolution.
This is the first movie since 1993 to feature a Nintendo property since Super Mario Bros. And whereas its universally agreed by everyone that film is just a disaster, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu actually has a premise, a plot, a message, and characters that you actually like.
I know nothing about Pokemon, but I really enjoyed this. I think if you like Pokemon, you’ll love Detective Pikachu. I feel its easy to say this is the best movie adapted from a video game.
Four out of Six Blueberries