When the project for a live-action Pokémon Detective Pikachu film was announced, there was a lot of scepticism it would be any good. Let’s be honest, video game films have always been pretty bad… Then Ryan Reynolds got announced as Pikachu which caused more confusion than hype. It was only when the trailers came out, there was a ray of hope that there might finally be a good video game film.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu follows Tim Goodman, who travels to Ryme City to clear out his father’s apartment after he died in a car crash during an investigation. When Tim arrives, to his surprise he meets a Pikachu that talks. Soon he realises this Pikachu was his father’s partner Pokémon and decide to team up to investigate what happened to Tim’s father. For those of you who have played the game, where this does sound close to the original plot, it is quite a departure from there. Sticking a lot closer to the mystery of his father’s case, it is a bit more linear and somewhat predictable even if you haven’t played the game. Still, there is enough to keep you hooked to see what happened next, even if it is to confirm your own theories.
The real beauty of the film is in the little extra details in each scene. In particular, the extra Pokémon that have been animated into the background and the easter eggs referencing the main series. Indeed seeing the realistic design of the Pokémon as part of the whole film made them grow on me as it works so well with the tone of the film. Although at times the CGI wasn’t blended in very well with the picture and so some Pokémon stuck out for the wrong reasons. This was likely going to be an issue due to the high amount of it but the actual designs to make up for it. Still, the only other thing this is ruined by how much was shown off in the trailers. Sure, the plot was hidden but there were no more real hidden surprises which the trailers hyped you up for. Honestly, at the end, it does leave you thinking, ‘oh, that’s it?’. Where having a few more little surprises would have improved the experience, at least the plot was a fun enough ride to be enjoyable. Just don’t go in over analysing it.
Still, Ryan Reynold’s performance as Pikachu is the true standout of the film. His throwaway comments are always hilarious and really help carry the film. Sure, he is pretty much acting like himself making Pikachu like a PG Deadpool, but it works to keep the film from becoming too serious. Where the acting as a whole can be a bit corny, it isn’t a very serious film and suits the tone the directors were aiming for. Besides it is clear the real target audience is children, with all the previously mentioned little details help the appeal for the older audience to make it a film for everyone.
To wrap things up, Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a marked improvement for video game films. Sure, if you were to truly analyse this film you would find quite a few issues but it is a fun film to just sit back and enjoy. Where it does feel like there is something missing, at the end of the day with all the Pokémon references and Pikachu’s quips, you’re sure to laugh and just have a good time.