Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is the first live action film based on the multi-billion dollar franchise and doesn’t disappoint with stunning visuals, impeccable VFX and a charismatic performance by Ryan Reynolds.
Directed by Rob Letterman, written by Nicole Perlman, distributed by Warner Bros. and starring Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is the first of a potential franchise revolving the Pokémon world and naturally has a lot riding on it. Warner Bros, who is looking for the next huge franchise to flesh out as Hollywood continues to battle over blockbusters, is betting big on the popular brand. Pokémon is a huge opportunity to be the next BIG thing, and presents a home run opportunity is properly utilized. After seeing Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, it is clear the financial and creative implications for a film franchise in this world is enormous.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu tells the story of Tim Goodman, a young man who has lost his love for Pokémon after a tragic childhood. Caught in a mystery to find his father, Tim is quickly united with a talking Pikachu. Played by Ryan Reynolds, Pikachu is far and away the star of the film. The wise-talking, coffee-drinking icon is the most entertaining aspect of the film and Reynolds pulls it off well.
The story takes the audience through a fun and colorful journey across the Pokémon world. Fans of the longtime franchise will be kept entertained hearing familiar sounds from the anime while also seeing all their favorite Pokémon come to life.
The true kings of this film are members of the visual effects team. Each and every Pokémon felt lifelike and real. From the original Kanto region favorites like Charizard, Bulbasaur and Mewtwo, to later generations of Pokémon jam packed into cameos, there is literally something for everyone. Each and every shot on screen is full of Pokémon. The setting, a vibrant city where Pokémon and humans live side by side, was perfect for audience to marvel at the lifelike versions of their favorite characters. As said before, the VFX is impeccable, individual fur on Pikachu was clearly visible, scales on Charizard are fully detailed. Every Pokémon is displayed in full with all their defining traits from the source material beautifully translated for a live action setting. Even if you are not fans of the franchise, seeing the film for purely the magical VFX is worth it.
Gripes with this film are limited. Due to a super kid friendly tone and feel, some of the writing comes off simplistic and the film tends to quickly move from act to act in a predictable fashion. Many of the twists and turns can be seen a mile away and plot threads are answered quickly. The villains of the film are given simplistic motivations as well. That being said, it does not hurt the film when looking at the audience it is aimed for and the message the film is looking to send.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is full of heart. For fans of the long running video game and tv franchise, there is ample moments of fan service and throwbacks while also keeping the series fresh and inviting for newcomers. The film is aimed at the younger audience but is entertaining for adults as well. There is no doubt that the Pokémon franchise is here to stay and that there are countless more stories yet to be told in this world. While this film itself is definitely aimed for families and younger audiences, older fans and even casual movie goers will be entertained by it. In a world where Marvel, DC and Star Wars rule, they might have to make room for a mother superstar franchise in Pokémon.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is set to release May 10th 2019. For more information, visit Pokemon.com