‘Pokemon: Detective Pikachu’ Theatrical Review
I was probably one of the few in this world who was never into Pokémon. I understood its fandom while growing up through the TV shows, video games and ever-growing card games, but it just didn’t interest me. I only started to get into it the past couple of years because one of my roommates was into it. One thing I love about being a geek is meeting other geeks, and being introduced to certain fandoms I would have not paid a mind to before. I’m still not the biggest fan of the show, but I appreciate it enough to have a favorite Pokémon in Charzard, and I even bought a pair of slippers with his face on them. One of the reasons I asked my roommate to go with me to see Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, was to see his reaction as a fan of that universe, compared to my own as someone who is somewhat new and was just looking for an entertaining 104 minutes from Squirtles and Bulbasaurs.
If seeing a plethora of different Pokémon on the big screen is all you need, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is the movie you should throw your money toward this weekend. Its jaw-dropping CGI is some of the best in recent years. It gets each Pokémon down to a T in its features and makes their abilities look just as good. But looks are all this film has going for it, with a plot that is not just basic and generic, but can sometimes be confusing. Because of this, it makes you feel like you would have been better off dusting off your old Game Boy instead. But in the end it feels like another cash grab that, at times, leaves out a lot of elements that are important to the world of Pokémon.
Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is a young insurance worker who has lost much in his life, from his mother who died when he was young, to his father who left for Ryme City to become a detective. At one point he wanted to be a Pokémon trainer and the opening scene finds his friend trying to convince him to catch one to help get him out of his lonely rut, but the result is unsuccessful. Later that day, Tim is informed that his father has died and he must travel to Ryme City to settle his father’s affairs. Ryme City is not like any other city, as it is the only one where humans and Pokémon coexist by working and living together. While at the apartment, Tim catches his father’s partner, detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds), trying to find clues of his own. The real adventure begins when Tim realizes he can understand what the Pikachu is saying. He tells Tim that he has lost his memory, and in helping him try to recover his memory, they find that Tim’s dad’s death was not what it seems.
Reynolds provides the laughs as the yellow cuteness of Pikachu, with lines that are more family-friendly than Deadpool. Unfortunately, most of the funny stuff has already been said in the trailers, so not much is left in the film that you haven’t already heard. In the first half, director Rob Letterman knows how to deliver to the target audience by creating a world where Pokémon and humans interact in everyday life.
The Pokémon don’t just live here, they have actual jobs. In one scene you’ll see Charmander working a grill and another shows Squirtle mopping the floor as a janitor. Because battles are forbidden, they must happen underground. The best parts are the ones where the Pokémon get to show their abilities and personalities. A scene where Tim and Pikachu must get clues from a Mr. Mime Pokémon generates the most laughs, and scenes that involves Psyduck will also be fan favorites.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu could have spend more time exploring the city, instead of feeding us with a story line we have seen before, with a surprise ending that doesn’t pay off. Humans should have been supporting roles instead of the other way around. I also would like to have seen other parts of the Pokémon Universe, specifically the use of Poké Balls. Although this first live-action Pokémon movie is beautiful to look at, it leaves much to be desired if and when they make a sequel.
Ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son, Tim, to find out what happened.