I’ll be the first person to admit that I am not the most avid fan of Pokemon. My love for the series stemmed from the first few seasons of the anime and it dovetailed towards the beginning of Generation 3 (Ruby and Sapphire). When Generation 3 arrived, my interest in Pokemon waned and I moved to other interests until my sister gave me her copies of Omega Ruby and Y. My whole Pokemon experience changed after that and my love for Pokemon was renewed. From Mega Stones to Hidden Abilities and so much more, I got hooked on Pokemon once more.
When the announcement of a live-action movie was released, I was very cautious because Hollywood tends to not do very well with video game adaptations (See Super Mario Bros for reference. I’m serious.) Some movies do well because they accidentally end up being campy such as the first Mortal Kombat and others but, Detective Pikachu found a way to stand out with the help of Ryan Reynolds and the entire crew.
Video game adaptations simply didn’t work because the writers had no interest in the movie. That all changed with Pokemon Detective Pikachu. Of all the video game movies that I’ve seen, this takes the cake as the best adaptation of a video game into a Hollywood movie.
What’s It All About?
The film is about a young buy named Tim Goodman (played by Justice Smith). Tim goes to Ryme City to pick up things of his father, Harry Good man, a Detective who would solve mysteries with his Pokemon Partner, Pikachu. Ryme City is the only place in this movie where Pokemon and humans can work together so you would see Charmanders acting as heaters for people in the cold, Bulbasaur helping people, Snubbull as the police chief’s partner and even the weirdest form of cannibalism, an Octillery that looks like it’s serving takoyaki. Talk about Cannibalism!
Anyway, going back to the movie. Detective Pikachu is your typical whodunnit kind of mystery movie with a very predictable plot twist. However, the plot twists didn’t really matter to me. This movie is one of the best forms of fan service because it wasn’t forced. Remember how the bond betwee Pokemon and Trainer is always emphasized in the cartoons? Well, get ready for the same effect with this movie.
Justice Smith delivers a wonderful performance showing a kid who lost his way trying to be something he wasn’t and embraced his potential to become a Pokemon Detective. Kathryn Newton was perfect as Lucy Stevens, a news channel intern who wanted to make a name for herself as a serious journalist. Ryan Reynolds was excellent as Detective Pikachu and of course, you have to give credit to all of the artists, writers and crew who made this movie. Unlike other video game movies, you can clearly tell that this movie was made by people who grew up with the video games.
Compare and Contrast
There’s going to be an inevitable comparison to the Detective Pikachu video game as it follows almost every hit but, in live action form. No matter how long it has been, seeing Mewtwo in action will always be epic. Now, I won’t say what Mewtwo’s involvement in the film is because it’s a major spoiler in the film. All I can say is that you should get ready for one of the best on-screen Pokemon Battles since the Zygarde Finale from XYZ.
Time to talk about one of the main talking points that has divided a fair share of casual and serious fans of the franchise and that’s the look of the Pokemon. Some fans argued that the Pokemon looked too furry and unrealistic but, the more you think about what Pokemon would look like in real life, the more you realize that Pikachu would look more realistic with fur than what he looks like in the anime. Psyduck is pretty much what I imagined he would be in the film. Unstable powers and cuteness included!
Pikachu and Psyduck probably get the most screen time besides Mewtwo but, that did not stop the movie from featuring Pokemon from almost every Generation. Let’s break down the ones I saw from memory.
Gen 1: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Pikachu Psyduck, Charizard, Magikarp, Gyarados, Machamp, Snorlax, Jigglypuff, Cubone, Mew, Dodrio, Rattata, Growlithe, Arcanine, Gengar, Blastoise, Mr. Mime, Ditto, Eevee, Flareon, Lickitung
Gen 2: Snubbbull, Totodile, Sneasel, Aipom
Gen 3: Treecko, Ludicolo, Octillery, Loudred, Slaking
Gen 4: Torterra, Palkia, Dialga, Arceus
Gen 5: Emolga, Bouffalant, Rufflet, Braviary, Audino, Purrloin
Gen 6: Greninja, Pancham, Pangoro
Gen 7: Morelull, Comfey
Phew! There’s so much more to add but, those are the ones I recall. My brain almost started singing the Poke-Rap. Imagine how long it would take to do the rap today knowing that there are more than 800 Pokemon in existence now.
Without giving away too much, we also have to talk about the Mr. Mime interrogation scene. We already know that they try to guess what Mr. Mime is saying but, we get a more hilarious chain of events from the same place. I wouldn’t call it the standout moment of the movie, however. There are many more scenes I can describe as even better ones than the Mr. Mime scene. However, that would be giving away too much for a movie that runs for less than two hours.
Detective Pikachu was able to bring back the sense of wonder and adventure that I’ve been missing since the first generation of Pokemon. When it comes to the ultimate fan service movie, this movie comes very close to being the perfect form of fan service.
The Only Negative
My only pet peeve in this film would be that we never got to hear the iconic American Pokemon theme in full-form. We hear hints of the song in the most meta moment but, the entire song never came out. One could only imagine the entire cinema singing along to one of the best cartoon theme songs ever.
As The Light Changes…
What makes this movie stand out among other video game movies isn’t just the fact that Detective Pikachu was made by fans, the movie has heart and that’s what made us fall in love with Pokemon in the first place. As budding Pokemon Trainers, we all want to establish a close bond with our Pokemon like we do with our pets. They’re not just pets but, they’re family.
Never mind the plot holes or missed details. Every movie has those. Detective Pikachu is the ultimate love letter to all the Pokemon Trainers who have stayed for the entire ride, for those who came back after a long hiatus and the casual fan who may only know Pikachu. This movie is for everyone. The ending of the movie may not result in a sequel because it closes the book on the story introduced to us in the trailer but, any form of Pokemon movie with the same writers and crew would result in an excellent series of video game movies never-seen before.
One last thing: I know that all the hype is still with Avengers Endgame but, don’t overlook Detective Pikachu. This movie is the perfect palate cleanser for the emotional damage that Endgame does to a viewer. You may even find yourself crying even more because of certain scenes in Detective Pikachu because it hits hard. Detective Pikachu is an excellent movie for what it is. You don’t have to be too critical on it because this is the best adaptation of a video game we’ll see in a very long time.
4/5 Poke Balls.