It was easy for us to get over how nightmarish the live action pokemon were. Let’s not forget reactions were mixed when that first trailer dropped. Sonic tried doing the same thing, but couldn’t stick the landing, and hit every branch on the ugly tree.
Detective Pikachu is a movie that was made for anyone if they ever once spent time obsessing about becoming a Pokemon trainer, or wishing Pokemon were real. In the first few moments Director Rob Letterman somehow manages to make the video come to life in a surprisingly relatable way.
Justice Smith plays the protagonist, a kid who’s selling insurance, which is the same as saying “a kid who’s given up on living.” this is the part where I give you the vague outline of the story if I was having trouble filling out the word count.
Smith does a solid job as the reluctant, but soon won over hero of the story alongside a talking Pikachu, an anomaly. Pikachu is voiced by Ryan Reynolds, who does a good job of playing himself in this post Deadpool world. I feel like Reynolds cranked up the cheekiness after that movie, maybe it’s just me.
Kathryn Newton takes the reporter backup role, well, unpaid intern at a media company roll, which I can also relate too quite heavily. Yay millennial. Her first appearance in the story does come across rather hammy though. and I’m not sure whether that was her choice or whether Letterman told her “hey this is a cartoon movie, act like a cartoon!”
I do want to give a nod to her outfit later in the movie where she casually looks like a Pokemon Go trainer. In fact all the callbacks to the lore of Pokemon are excellently executed, the reverence for the source material is impeccable. In fact an event as well as a casual reference tie the movie right back to Pokémon: The First Movie, making the anime legit canon with Detective Pikachu.
Heavy hitters Bill Nighy and Ken Watanabe also make appearances which surprised me, the former being a main plot point in the story.
The conclusion of the storyline is a bit wack, and some of the major elements are made for kids. But as a grown up kid I can take a bit of that to see the world come to life.
Becky who accompanied me to the movie was also pretty struck with the whole thing. “The movie made you feel the way you did playing the first games, and evolved in a way I wish the later games did.”
As a whole this has me excited to see more live action films within the Pokemon universe. They wouldn’t even need to be Detective Pikachu branded or led. I’m imagining things like survival films of a guy trying to get off a mountain with his companion pokemon and stuff.
The fact that this movie has me excited for something akin to the MCU says something.