Pokémon Detective Pikachu is an American Adventure movie released in 2019, directed by Rob Letterman. It accompanies a young man who can understand his late father’s Pokémon partner, a Pikachu who firmly believes there’s more about his former companion’s death.
Hello, there! I’m dos Santos, and this is Ulven Reviews, with Movies and series from all over the world and all eras. Today’s review is of the 2019 movie Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
After at least five consecutive reviews of thriller movies, I thought it was time to review something a little softer and fun. After analyzing some options, Pokemon Detective Pikachu was the perfect choice to break the dark sequence.
Thanks a lot, So, here we go!
Tim Goodman (played by Justice Smith) has to go to Ryme City sort things out after receiving the news that his estranged father, Harry, has died in a car accident.
Getting to the city, Tim goes to Ryme City PD, where his father worked as a detective. There he meets with lieutenant Hideo Yoshida (played by Ken Watanabe), who says how admired Harry was in the precinct and gives Tim the keys to his apartment.
Before entering the apartment, Tim meets Lucy Stevens (played by Kathryn Newton) and her Psyduck, a blogger and inspiring reporter at CNM who believes Harry was on to something, and suspects his death was not an accident.
Finally, inside the apartment, Tim has some memories of his childhood and finds a Pikachu who he can understand and is wearing a deerstalker cap that says he belongs to Harry Goodman. The Pikachu also has suspicions about Harry’s death.
So, with the advantage of communicating with each other, Tim and Pikachu become partners in uncovering all the mysteries surrounding Harry’s accident and whatever he was investigating when it happened.
The first thing we must establish clearly is the fact that this movie was based on the game of the same name, Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Not the Anime or the other games, mangas, or anything else from the Pokémon universe.
I never played the game, but I briefly read the plot of it on Wikipedia, and it seems pretty much the same story of the film, at least in its premise.
Why establishing that is important?! Because as the first official live-action Pokémon movie (as far as I’m aware), Detective Pikachu generated a lot of expectations, perhaps, misplaced ones. Detective Pikachu is quite different than what most people are used to regarding the Pokémon Universe.
Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back was released in 1998 in Japan and late 1999 to mid-2000 in most of the rest of the world. I was eight to nine in mid-2000, and this movie felt so Epic before watching it. I believe that was the same feeling most people had with Pokémon Detective Pikachu, which led to somewhat of a disappointment.
The story of Pokémon Detective Pikachu is not the greatest, and it’s probably one of the weakest spots in the movie. But it’s not awful either, and slightly resembles Zootopia.
The thematic of the movie is very different from Zootopia, though. Zootopia deals especially with racial issues, while Pokémon Detective Pikachu has the relationship between father and son in its core.
However, the thing I liked the most thematically was the relationship between humans and Pokémon that would be equivalent to our relationship with animals. In Ryme City is forbidden to explore the Pokémon, the proposal is to coexist in harmony. It’s like we should deal with other animals and nature in general.
It’s a fun movie with a lot of action. However, not reaching a level of being too packed and convoluted, like Valerian, for example. The pace is reasonable and didn’t get me annoyed (as I often get with too much action). The humor is also satisfactory. My favorite scene is the one with Mr. Mime, it worked for me.
The characters are alright, the best being the Detective Pikachu by far. I liked Lucy as well, she’s funny, witty, and proactive. As for the other characters, there’s no one else to highlight, neither positively nor negatively.
The acting is alright as well. I saw a lot of harsh criticism from the audience regarding this aspect, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Justice Smith is not amazing, especially when he needs to display more emotion, like when he’s talking with Pikachu about his father. But it’s good enough, it didn’t distract me.
The two most experienced and renowned actors in the movie, Bill Nighy (as Howard Clifford, owner of CNM) and Ken Watanabe are rarely on screen, regardless of the relevance of their roles. Still more than Suki Waterhouse (as Ms. Norman, a bodyguard).
Rita Ora has a good cameo. She’s an attractive Pop Star, however, her role (a scientist) doesn’t expose her physical attributes or glamourize her because of her status. I liked that choice. And I love her accent, by the way.
As I said, I liked Lucy as a character, and I think Kathryn Newton’s performance fitted perfectly for the role. I already knew her from “Lady Bird”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Supernatural”, all four very different roles. The only two slightly similar was in “Three Billboards…” and “Supernatural”. But what matters the most, she played all with quality.
It annoys me people talking shit about her acting in this movie, it seems their only taking the frustration with the film in the actors. I’m not saying there are some Oscar-winning performances in Pokémon Detective Pikachu, but some criticisms I read are undeserving.
Last but most definitely not least, Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu is outstanding. I saw comparisons with his interpretation of Deadpool. But I honestly don’t remember much of Deadpool to see if the comparison is justified.
I found Ryan Reynolds to be a charismatic figure, even when there’s only his voice present. Pikachu is among the best things in the film, and that’s thanks to Ryan Reynolds’ voice acting.
Visually, the movie is nearly perfect. The establishing shots, in the countryside as in the city are gorgeous and worthy of awe. Both did an excellent job of implementing an immersive world.
The nocturnal lights in the city are another visual element I loved. The neon blue and pink are typical in sci-fi settings, and it was beautifully used in Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
I always wondered how the Pokémon would look like in a live-action film. I hated those “real Pokémon” arts we see on the internet forever, I would hate that route being taken. Fortunately, they look just perfect in this movie, except Gengar, he looks odd.
They rarely look out of place, the look of the fur is on point, and the facial expressions, especially Pikachu’s, are exceptional and fundamental for us to empathize with them. I liked Mewtwo’s little teeth as well, just as a side note.
I would also like to mention the lab in the beginning. It’s polished to a level that becomes slightly unrealistic but resembles a lot of the games and looks just amazing. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but I absolutely loved this lab.
The score is okay, so let’s skip it. I liked Pokémon Detective Pikachu, I know it was a little underwhelming, and the fans still deserve an epic live-action movie of Pokémon. Personally, I think a series would be much more suitable, especially now that we have things like The Mandalorian that proves a project of this size is doable.
Let’s hope someday a project like this is done and with the best quality possible, full of capable talent on and off of the screen.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu is not a bad movie at all, it has its ups and downs, but in general, it was a positive experience for me. I’ll give Pokémon Detective Pikachu, 7 Moons.
That’s it for now. Thanks a lot.