“Detective Pikachu” is a film that excites audiences and is truly a treat for fans of the Pokémon Franchise. It came out on May 10, 2019.
The movie follows a teen named Tim Goodman (Justin Smith) in search for his father, Detective Harry Goodman, who went missing while working on a case. His only clue is Harry’s partner, Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who has amnesia. They work together to find out what happened to Harry.
The plot takes inspiration from the game it is based on with the same name. However, the film’s plot is more focused on Harry’s disappearance, a mystery which is not necessarily tied to an in-depth understanding of the franchise, beyond recognizing classic Pokémon characters. Due to such deviations, audience members are not required to have played the game or have watched the anime previously.
The performances were excellent and the cast embodied the characters they were playing. Smith gives an emotional performance as Tim; the audience can feel the immense conflicts and emotions Tim goes through throughout the course of the film. Reynolds delivers an unexpected but hilarious interpretation of Pikachu. Instead of the cute voice that is often associated with the classic Pikachu, Reynolds’ Pikachu voice is snarky, hilarious, and emotional. Reynolds’ quips may not be as adult as in “Deadpool,” but they are still funny and more mature than the typical Pokémon humor. Smith and Reynolds have great comedic chemistry and play off together really well.
When the trailer first came out, many people were turned off by the designs of the Pokémon. The original art style of the games tends to be more simplistic and often lacks texture, so many of those used to the simple designs were left dissatisfied. Personally, I didn’t mind the designs after getting used to the Pokémon having more details such as having fur or scales. In my opinion, the designs were fine in terms of how the artist depicted Pokémon in a realistic style. Some Pokémon had fur while others had scales based of their real life or fictional animal inspirations; you could see the fur on Snubbull and the scales on Magikarp.
Some of the Pokémon, like Pikachu or Jigglypuff, might have looked a bit better with a shorter fur length. However, this was only a minor problem in the overall quality of design of all of the Pokémon that appeared in the film.
Overall, “Detective Pikachu” is a film for all audiences. New fans will be drawn in by the captivating story and humor. Long time Pokémon fans will find this film a treasure trove of nostalgia and will relive their childhood fantasy of living in a Pokémon world.