Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a film which comes directed by Rob Letterman who some may know as the director of Goosebumps (2015) or Monsters Vs Aliens (2009). The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton and Bill Nighy. This movie is the latest from the Pokemon franchise which now spans across multiple mediums such as TV, video games, trading cards and films. This is the first live action Pokemon film, with others in the past all being animated.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Pokemon movie at the cinema. When I was much younger, I remember I could not wait to see the Mewtwo Strikes Back and later on Pokemon 2000. Then over the years, slowly I stopped watching Pokemon as new series’ came out and new generations of Pokemon emerged. I recently got back into the franchise after the release of Pokemon Go, which I still play even today almost every day. So when I first saw the trailer for Detective Pikachu, while it looked like something different, I was rather excited about it.
Coming out of the film last week, I must say I was very impressed. I thought this film would be really basic and simple. I wasn’t expecting much from the plot, but I got more than I expected out of this film. Without spoiling the story, the film gives the audience a story with a lot of meaning behind it, filled with strong themes of bravery, family and mortality. Coming out of the film, I felt that in general, the experience was very positive and I am very keen to go and see this a second time at the cinema.
The animation in this is rather good. At first when you first start watching the film, you’ll be looking at the Pokemon and how different they look when they’re animated in the world in 3D. Many of the Pokemon like Pikachu or Psyduck are soft and furry in appearance and are quite cute. But there are others like Bulbasaur which look slimy and slippery. What impressed me the most about the animations in this film, were that the filmmakers seemed to take the lore and the character design of each of the Pokemon seriously and I felt much of the film was rather accurate.
The design of the sets in which our characters play out their story was also very good. My favourite sections of the film were when we saw what the Pokemon cities looked like. The film takes place in a futuristic Blade Runner like city, filled with neon lights and streets filled with markets and takeaway places. Furthermore, within the city, live a variety of Pokemon with their owners and they’re just walking around. There’s also some odd things as well. like a Psyduck which lives on its own in alleyway at one point. Society and the Pokemon are also skewed, there’s Pokemon which are privileged and Pokemon that aren’t and it’s interesting. I do hope we can see more of this world in another film.
The actors in Detective Pikachu are rather good. Ryan Reynolds does a great job as the voice of Detective Pikachu and his comedic timing and ability to deliver the funnier lines in the film was always spot on. Both Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton, who play the kids we follow in this Pokemon journey do well and I enjoyed watching all the scenes that Bill Nighy was in.
The strength of this film is that although its primary audience is children, as an older person watching this and having grown up watching Pokemon for many years on and off, I have to say that I really enjoyed watching this at the cinema. The film’s strength I believe is that it can actually be enjoyed be many people of all ages and is great for family groups to go and see. The jokes were funny, it was interesting to see all the Pokemon animated in 3D and the story had a great meaning to it with some interesting themes. I’m happy to recommend Pokémon Detective Pikachu to go and see at the cinema this weekend.