Hey gang, Valkor here. Now, I'll admit I'm not the biggest Pokemon fan around; sure I've played the video games and I'm even deep into Pokemon Let's Go Eevee. And then there's Pokemon Go, which I've been playing since day one. But that's a whole other story. Regardless, while I'm not the game's biggest fan, I am a fan of the franchise and everything that goes along with it. And that includes the latest film to hit TOV's MediaView pages – Pokemon Detective Pikachu. This is a film that takes Pokemon from video games and even the anime and brings them into the real world. And let me just say, the film is way more fun than I expected!
Pokemon Detective Pikachu centers on Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a guy who has always wanted to “be the best like no one ever was”, meaning he wanted to become a become trainer/master. But it never happened. So Tim spends his days Pokemon-less while doing his job as an insurance appraiser. One day he receives a call that concerns the passing of his father. And so he heads out to Ryme City, a place where Pokemon and humans live, work, and play side by side. And the place where his dad worked as a cop. Once in town, Tim stops by the local police station, gets the keys to his father's apartment. But before he can even get through the front door of the place, he has a run-in with a mysterious Psyduck and its owner a junior reporter/blogger named Lucy (Kathryn Newton). She feels that there was something more to Tim's fathers' death, but Tim brushes her off with the quickness, proceeding to the apartment. But after a little alone time, he discovers that he's not alone. Surprisingly there's a Pikachu scurrying about wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat. And what's even more surprising is that this Pikachu can talk (voiced by Ryan Reynolds – Buried, Deadpool)... or rather Tim understands it because no one else seems to be able to. We learn that Pikachu was actually Harry's partner (Tim's dad). However, Pikachu has no memory of what happened the night Harry died. From here we're on a journey into back-alley Pokemon fight clubs, a serum that drives Pokemon crazy, a forest that's brimming with giant Torterra, more of Lucy and Psyduck, and an insane plot that involves Mewtwo, Pikachu, Harry being alive, an evil corporation, and an emotional ending that features a neat twist.
If you're a fan of anything Pokemon, then you'll enjoy all the little easter eggs Detective Pikachu has to offer. The main Pokemon theme song gets some play, especially one scene where Reynold's sings it (and it's hilarious), plus there are other neat little nods to not only towards the animated series but also the video games. Some that are subtle and some not so subtle. So multiple viewings are in order. But in the end, is this film worth your time? You better believe it is! And I'll tell you why in the TOV Breakdown!
If you've ever played the games, collected the cards, watched the anime, read the books, and anything else related to Pokemon, then Pokemon Detective Pikachu is meant for you! It has everything a fan could want and hope for. It's not “Ash's adventure” that we've followed along with for so many years; but it is an adventure from a whole new perspective, taken from someone who isn't about collecting Pokemon, but finding a new Poke-friend, one whom he shares a common goal. The story is pretty decent while also being exciting and entertaining. Some moments are a little too goofy (anything with Psyduck), while some are simply hilarious (the Mr. Mime scene). But you're not going to pay the price of a ticket just to watch humans traipse around in a Pokemon world – you came for the Pokemon! And the film gives you more than enough to get your fill! If you're familiar with more than just the common ones such as Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charizard, you'll find there's plenty of Pokemon to see such as Aipom, Machamp, Arcanine, Pidgeys, and even a “crying for his dead relative” Cubone, just to name a few! And they're all brought to beautiful CGI life, sharing a screen with live actors and looking so damn good that I hope there's more live-action adventure down the line. As far as acting is concerned, I liked it. I wasn't crazy about it. But really I don't have any complaints either way. The performances carry the story and that's all that needs to be said. In the end, Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a fun romp for all ages. And it's a film that fans and even non-fans can enjoy!
I felt that the film had plenty of “missed opportunities” that could have been brought in to enhance the viewing experience. Though Detective Pikachu contains plenty of eye candy and easter eggs for fans to discover, I think the producers could have tossed in a few extras. My main issue is with one of the final bosses – mainly Ditto. Yea it's cool and they even keep its dopey-looking face when he transforms into other beings. But I would have preferred Jesse, James or both for that matter. I mean, there's still a possibility for them to appear in another film as there are references to Team Rocket throughout. Well, mainly through the formula that changes people into Pokemon, but still. It would have been cool to also see a trio that looked similar to Ash, Misty, and Brock passing through Ryme City with a Pikachu tagging along. Even if it were just for a brief moment, I feel this would have been something fun to toss in. Now, my only dislike with the film was the giant Torterra scene; I felt this is a scene that would make for a fun 4D experience (if you happened to catch the film in 4D), and I get that it's meant to be thrilling. But to me, it was just “meh”. Give me something even more thrilling like a Tyranitar chase! Now that would have been awesome to see!
Pokemon Detective Pikachu is still making the theatrical rounds. So, if you've been holding off from watching it, then I suggest you stop wasting time, head out to the theaters and prepare to immerse yourself in Pokemon awesomeness! I may have a few gripes, but overall this was a fun film. And I hope that there are more in the future! So, out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Pokemon Detective Pikachu a solid 4!