Pokémon Detective Pikachu
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Also known as Detective Pikachu and released as Great Detective Pikachu in Japan after the original game) is a 2019 American-Japanese live action/animated fantasy mystery film directed by Rob Letterman. Based on the Pokémon franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri and serving as a loose adaptation of the 2016 it was written by Letterman, Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit and Derek Connolly, from a story by Hernandez, Samit and Nicole Perlman. The film was produced by Legendary Pictures in association with Toho. It is the first live-action Pokémon film. Ryan Reynolds stars as the voice and facial motion capture of Pikachu, with Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geere, Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy in live-action roles. Detective Pikachu was released in Japan on May 3, 2019 and in the United States on May 10, 2019, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, 4DX, and ScreenX formats.
Detective Harry Goodman supposedly dies, prompting his son, 21-year-old Tim Goodman, to solve the mystery. He finds the wise-cracking Detective Pikachu, a Pokémon that belonged to Harry, who aids Tim in the investigation. After they establish that they are well equipped to work together due to Tim being the only human who can understand him, they join forces to unravel the mystery.
Why It Rocks
- Unlike most video game based movies, this movie is very faithful to the franchise it was based on, keeping the Pokémon consistent to how they behave and function in the games while only doing some minor changes to fit the lore of the movie with the setting resembling exactly what a modern city in the Pokémon world would look like.
- The faithfulness also extends to the Detective Pikachu game, keeping important factors like Pikachu's snarky, sarcastic personality, and the mysterious feel.
- The CGI used for the Pokémon is impressive, giving them a solid balance between realistic and faithful designs to fit the real-life environments, the animation of the Pokémon is crisp and believable, and the special effects for things like their moves and evolutions look unbelievably great.
- Perfect casting. Ryan Reynolds is hilarious as Pikachu and Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton bring a lot of reality to Tim Goodman and Lucy Stevens. Ikue Ōtani even returns as the voice of Pikachu that humans other than Tim hear.
- Original plot that gave opportunities for a lot of twists and turns.
- Well-written and sympathetic characters:
- Pikachu is an amnesic quick-thinking detective fused with his trainer.
- Tim is a motherless former trainer trying to solve the mystery of his missing father.
- Lucy is an enthusiastic intern and wannabe news reporter.
- Lucy's Psyduck is an effective comic relief and the lore that Psyducks have a perpetual headache is well used.
- Mewtwo is presumed to be an evil, humanity-hating monster through most of the film, only to be revealed towards the end that he does believe that not all humans are bad and he was actually a victim of Howard's schemes.
- The bond between Pikachu and Tim is near perfect and well-executed. They barely manage to get along at first but throughout the movie, their bond builds up during the emotional mystery.
- Howard is a hammy but enjoyable antagonist, twisting his idea of making humans evolve like Pokémon into turning humans into Pokémon.
- Awesome cinematography that really adds a sense of wonder to the world of Pokémon.
- A funny running gag throughout the film with Pikachu being addicted to caffeine.
- Some inside jokes for Pokémon fans, like "Oh, sweet mother of Arceus."
- To be expected from a Pokémon movie, the action scenes are stunning, especially Pikachu distracting Howard/Mewtwo by fighting in an impossible battle.
- Unlike most films based on licensed properties, the film does not expect all of the viewers to know the source material, and so it manages to explain everything well enough to make the story decently easy to follow even if the viewer knows nothing about Pokémon and does so without needing large drawn-out scenes of exposition.
- The movie puts a lot of great ideas into good use, such as illegal underground Pokémon battles.
- Amazing soundtrack provided by Henry Jackman, most notably the lead single "Carry On", produced by Kygo and sang by Rite Ora, and "Electricity", produced by Pharrell Williams.
- Lots of funny moments like "Or, Harry faked someone else's death. That last one doesn't work at all.", Pikachu asking Psyduck that if they don't listen to the spa music, his head will explode and kill them all, with Psyduck replying with "Psyduck", and Pikachu singing the Pokémon theme song.
- Ryan Reynolds was really funny as Pikachu.
- Some of the actors can be hit-or-miss with their performance.
- Lucy Stevens did not get a lot of screen time and thus had a lack of development.
- The fast pacing mixed with Pikachu's constant quipping can make the story a little hard to follow.
- While the CGI used for the Pokémon is accurate to their original design, some of them can look slightly uncanny when given realistic textures. For example, Jigglypuff has a furry texture when it is supposed to be balloony smooth like.
Although Pokémon Detective Pikachu received mixed-to-positive reception, it was positively received by fans of the franchise. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 68% based on 302 reviews, with an average rating of 5.99/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Pokémon Detective Pikachu may not take its wonderfully bizarre premise as far as it could have, but this offbeat adaptation should catch most – if not all – of the franchise's fans.". On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on reviews from 48 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while general audiences polled by PostTrak gave it 4 out of 5 stars, while IMDB gave a film a 6.6/10 rating.
The movie is generally considered to be one of the very few live-action video game-based films that are not bad. In addition, it was the first film based on video games to get a "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes, until it was surpassed by The Angry Birds Movie 2.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu grossed $144.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $288.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $433 million, against a production budget of $150 million, becoming the box office success.
- It is the first Pokémon film to be distributed theatrically by Warner Bros. since Pokémon 3: The Movie (2001).
- It is the first Pokémon film not to receive a G rating by the MPAA.