Film Review – Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Title – Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Director – Rob Letterman (Goosebumps)

Cast – Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Suki Waterhouse, Rita Ora, (Voice of) Ryan Reynolds

Plot – In a Pokémon filled world, down on his luck insurance worker Tim Goodman (Smith) teams up with Detective Pikachu (Reynolds) to help uncover the mystery surrounding his estranged father’s disappearance.

“If you want to find your pops, I’m your best bet”

Review by Eddie on 10/05/2019

Colour me surprised, for against all the odds and pre-conceived perceptions, Pokémon Detective Pikachu is one of the straight up most enjoyable video game adaptations of all time and a sure-fire delight to long-time fans the world over.

Not exactly competing against a raft of quality content when it comes to video games being bought to life on the big screen, Rob Letterman’s film just gets it, it doesn’t break any new ground or achieve much in a narrative sense but by creatively and vividly bringing the wonderful and imaginative universe of Pokémon into the real world (or made up world in the case of its Tokyo/London inspired Ryme City), Detective Pikachu is an absolute child-like delight for any fans of the series, both young and old.

In some ways it feels like the films biggest weakness, outside of a fairly daft villain plot and some so-so storytelling around that, in the sense that you can’t help but feel as though Detective Pikachu will leave those with very little Pokémon association quite cold with its many throwbacks, scenarios and even music stemming straight from the Pokémon games or famous TV shows, meaning this is first and foremost a film for fans, even if casual to non-following fans of the brand would enjoy the visual delights on display.

Central to the film’s success as an entertaining offering is Letterman and his team’s heartfelt bringing to life of Pokémon’s wild collection of crazy critters, led by the ever popular and seriously cute new imagining of everyone’s favourite (rat?) Pokémon, the yellow fur ball that is Pikachu.

Here voiced by Ryan Reynolds, in what ends up being an inspired choice of voice casting, with Reynolds bringing his wild energy and ad-libbing to the table with full force, Pikachu is the this films MVP (even if a particularly worried Psyduck and an intense Mr. Mime come close to stealing the spotlight).

Teaming up with Justice Smith’s blue collar insurance worker Tim Goodman to help solve the mystery of his missing father, Pikachu is a great CGI creation that faithfully and energetically brings the well-known pop culture figure to life and whenever Pikachu is sharing the screen time or front and centre to proceedings, Detective Pikachu is a breezy, fun and often exciting ride that overcomes its plot weaknesses with relative ease.

Detective Pikachu also offers up fans many a great moment, with fans likely to go wild for the many side gags (Pokémon card collections, Pokémon posters), Pokémon character cameos and wink wink nudge nudge moments that litter the film from start to finish, making this fan service of the highest order, that tells us Detective Pikachu was made by fans for fans, a rare feat when it comes to such intellectual property as this.

Final Say –

One of 2019’s genuinely nice surprises, Pokémon Detective Pikachu wonderfully brings to life a beloved property, that while aimed more directly at old fans rather than casual cinemagoers, provides a wonderfully enjoyable and colour-filled trip regardless.

3 ½ staplers out of 5           

3 responses to “Film Review – Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

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