Director: Rob Letterman
Writers: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Derek Connolly, Nicole Perlman
Production: Legendary Pictures
Distributed by: Warner Brothers
Duration: 1 hr 44 min
Pokémon Detective Pikachu is Pokémon’s first venture into live action film, and it captures the feeling that harkens back to when the first Pokémon movie, Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, came out in 1998 during the height of Pokémania. Neither movie had to be spectacular, they just had to show a lot of pokémon and the spirit of teamwork. Any story is a bonus.
Luckily, Detective Pikachu has a fairly decent story to go along with it. Tim Goodman (played by Justice Smith) gets summoned to Ryme City with news of his father’s mysterious death. Lt. Hide Yoshida (Ken Watanabe) and his large Snubbull give Tim his father’s keys and their condolences. Strange things start happening as soon as Tim gets to his father’s apartment. First, he gets questioned by a nosy news intern named Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) and her Psyduck. After he dodges them, in the apartment, he finds the substance R and meets the talking titular Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds). From there, the movie takes off as Tim and Pikachu team up with Lucy and her Psyduck to find out the mystery behind R and what exactly happened to Tim’s dad.
Ryan Reynolds steals the show with his performance as Pikachu, while Justice Smith give Tim some nice emotional depth. Outside of those two, most of the acting is standard kid’s movie fare without being atrocious. There’s enough humor for both the kids and adults to enjoy, though it’s not quite as laugh out loud funny as the previews would lead you to believe. The writing is much more geared toward a kid audience, but some parts may get a little slow or scary for really little ones. For those wondering if it follows the game, it takes the bare minimum. Some things felt a bit rushed or unfulfilled, probably to keep it short, but if done right, those added segments could have really raised it up.
The big thing is the Pokémon look GREAT. One of the best features of the film is looking for all the little easter eggs, and just the variety of Pokémon shown. Something it does take from the game, is that it showcases some odder Pokémon like Lickitung and Morelull. Of course it has popular Pokémon too like Charizard and Bulbasaur. The action scenes are really nicely done.
Fans of Pokémon and kids will most likely enjoy the movie. Those that never got in to Pokémon or just straight up don’t like Pokémon aren’t going to start with this. It’s a must see for Pokéfans due to it being a competent live-action debut.