Director: Rob Letterman
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy
When I learned that they were going to be making a film based on the Japanese game Detective Pikachu, I thought it was a joke. I then found out that it was going to be live action and star Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu. I really thought somebody had taken an April Fool’s joke way too far.
It was just that the whole premise sounded mad, it was that this would be an American film based on a video game which hadn’t come out in the West yet. The only people who had played this game were in Japan.
Then there’s the fact that Nintendo is notoriously protective of their intellectual property after the whole Mario Bros. debacle, which is understandable given how terrible that movie was.
I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause.
But, no, it wasn’t a joke. It was very real, and now we have a film in which Ryan Reynolds is the voice of Pikachu, and you know what, it works. It really shouldn’t, but it does.
So, it’s that time when I try to tell you what the plot of this film is. The film is set in the Pokemon universe, which means that there are live-action Pokemon flying, scuttling, swimming, climbing and crawling around.
Justice Smith plays Tim Goodman, and he doesn’t have a Pokemon companion. Everybody else does, but he just hasn’t met the right Pokemon yet.
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Tim’s life is then turned upside down when he’s asked to go to Ryme City because his father, who was a detective, is missing and believed to have been murdered.
When going into his Dad’s flat, Tim meets at Pikachu wearing a deerstalker hat and he’s astonished to discover that they can understand one another.
It turns out that this was his father’s Pikachu and together they try to solve his mysterious disappearance.
One of the things that Rob Letterman’s film does so well is to create a world in which humans and Pokemon live together and actually make it semi-believable.
Should I talk about the fact that your childhood bed is a Pikachu bed?
The Pokemon look great, which is important, but it’s especially the bond between Smith’s Tim and Reynolds’ Pikachu which really makes the film work.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear that Reynolds recorded his lines in just a few days for this film, yet his sense of humour really does come through. It is a little bit like Pikachu is a Pokemon version of Deadpool since they share the same sense of humour as the Marvel anti-hero.
However, it all gels rather well. However, this is a kids film, naturally, so the plot is a little bit thin, and there are more than a few plot holes.
The mystery itself is intriguing enough, but this isn’t a Sherlock Holmes-esque murder mystery, even despite the deerstalker hat. It’s just a little bit of fun which is solidly directed, and the actors do what they can with the little they’ve been given.
Oh, that’s a twist. That is very twisty.
Detective Pikachu lives and dies on the strength of Reynolds’ performance and Pikachu’s bond with Tim, which is genuinely heartwarming.
There are one or two scenes which some children may find a bit distressing, namely one scene involving a drugged up Charizard and another in which the film’s leads are chased by a group of rather nasty Greninjas.
But, apart from that, there shouldn’t be much to worry about and Detective Pikachu would make for an excellent family outing.
And, dare I say is, as this film is based on a video game property, that would make it the best video game movie ever made. It’s a pretty low bar to be honest, yet Detective Pikachu beat it.
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I do hope that a better video game movie will come along in the near future to take that crown away from Detective Pikachu, but it’s proof that we’re moving in the right direction.
Meanwhile, why not have a read of our articles on the 5 ways Game of Thrones season 8 dropped the ball, and the 5 movies you should watch if you still think Robert Pattinson won’t be a good Batman.
Detective Pikachu is in cinemas all across the UK now.
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