20 years ago, like any other 90’s baby, I got swept up in the Pokémon hype. I was like a crack head feening to catch em all. Took money out my moms room, I would fist fight over these cards, I knew the Pokédex better than I knew the Bible! I was obsessed but eventually to become the man I wanted to be, I put my childish things behind me... until they produced Detective Pikachu the movie!
Pokémon Detective Pikachu is the mystery urban fantasy (Not Urban as in black, urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has magical rules or elements operating in an urban setting) directed by Rob Letterman, who co-wrote the screenplay with Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit and Derek Connolly from a story by Hernandez, Samit and Nicole Perlman.
Based on the Pokémon franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri and the 2016 video game Detective Pikachu, the film is produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures and The Pokémon Company, in association with Toho Co., Ltd. in a joint venture production. It is the first live-action adaptation in the franchise.
The film stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice and facial motion capture of the titular character with Justice Smith as Tim, the son of Ace detective Harry Goodman who goes mysteriously missing, prompting him to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry's former Pokémon partner, wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth Detective Pikachu. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Pikachu, they join forces to unravel the tangled mystery.
When I was a child, there was a website called Pokémon 3D (there’s actually still a website called Pokémon 3D but I can’t tell if it’s a new site with the old domain) that allow you to see images of 3D renderings of Pokémon. The 10 year old me would print the pictures at the library (wouldn’t have the internet at home for another year or so) and go home imagining what the Pokémon would look like in real life, how cool it would be a pet charazard and hope one day I would see all 150 Pokémon (this is the 90’s era of Pokémon) on the big screen. A few years ago we would all get a glimpse of that with the commercial for the game “Pokémon Go”.
When I first heard about Detective Pikachu was being adapted into the film, I wasn’t sure how to feel. By this point it was almost 20 years since I played the card game and I’ve heard about the talking Pikachu in the anime film “I choose you” and I heard about the success the detective Pikachu game had overseas but I wasn’t sold on the concept. Especially when I saw there was a petition to make Danny Devito the voice of Pikachu but eventually I saw the trailer and it won me over. I was completely in awe seeing the Pokémon come to life. Still wasn’t sold on the talking Pikachu but I was okay with the fact the film wasn’t going to follow the journey of becoming a Pokémon master.
With every bit of marketing material, I was slowly getting sucked back into the fandom that is Pokémon. I found my old cards, started buying new cards and best believe when the film made it to theater, I collected every card I could get my hand back on, hoping to get a new mewtwo or charazard (I swear buying these “booster packs” is like gambling for kids). Then last week Thursday, it finally happened. I got to see Pokémon on the big screen in live action.
Now most video game movies suck but I can’t find a thing I don’t like about this movie. It was cute, charming and nostalgic as f**k! It was everything I was hoping it would be. The only thing that bothered me was Ryan Reynolds. His voice is so distracting that I couldn’t keep my suspension of disbelief. Every time Pikachu spoke, all I could see is Ryan Reynolds in a recording studio in my minds eye. Usually Ryan Reynolds is bigger than the movie but in this case, Pokémon was bigger than him and I’m okay with it. I love his other movies but I just couldn’t get pass his voice... and that surprise cameo at the end just had me laughing out of the theater. I couldn’t really take it serious (but then again, this isn’t “Citizen Kane”, it’s a film about Japanese Pocket Monsters).
After the one pokeball scene in the beginning and the only real Pokémon fight in the film 30 mins in, I find myself saying “I want to see more Pokémon, I’m tired of looking at Pikachu”. Though it was a fun mystery popcorn flick, I left wishing for more. Knowing that there’s going to be a Pokemon Cinematic Universe, I know I will get my wish but either or I really enjoyed this film and couldn’t get enough of it. The cast, the cgi, the direction, everything was perfect if you ask me and I give it a 9 out of 10 (would of been a 10/10 if I had more Pokémon battles to geek over).