Ryan Reynolds stars in the first-ever live-action Pokémon adventure as Pikachu, the iconic face of the global Pokémon phenomenon—one of the world’s most popular, multi-generation entertainment properties and the most successful media franchise of all time. The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim (Justice Smith) to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds): a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Pikachu, they join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.
What We Thought:
Your level of enjoyment for Pokémon Detective Pikachu will depend on your knowledge/interest in Pokemon. I was already beyond childhood when Pokemon first hit in the 1990’s and I wasn’t one of the weird adults who played Pokemon Go despite never collecting Pokemon cards or watching the cartoons/movies. So basically the movie ultimately wasn’t for me.
You can go into the movie without knowing much about Pokemon, but it certainly helps to know more. The story itself is about an estranged son trying to find his dad who may have been killed while on a case. This leads to a company being involved trying to cover up things and trying to figure out who is the bad guy throughout it. That’s a pretty standard story to follow. Even without knowing who or what Pokemon show up throughout the movie, the plot I could go along with.
The son Tim (played by Justice Smith who I really liked in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) goes to Ryme City to get his father’s things, but is sucked into the investigation when he meets his father’s Pokemon, Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). Humans and Pokemon interact in daily lives in Ryme City so much so that Tim is an outcast for not having his own Pokemon. His father’s Pikachu isn’t like other Pikachus, he can speak to and understand Tim which other Pokemon and humans can’t do. As they try to figure out what’s happening they meet a young wannabe reporter played by Kathryn Newton (of Supernatural fame). It all adds up to twists and turns and a final battle at the end.
All that is fine and it did get some laughs out of me. Reynolds and Smith have good chemistry even if Reynolds isn’t even on screen. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh at times, but others around me definitely enjoyed it more. So many Pokemon show up that fans will enjoy seeing their favorites. Not being a fan, I can’t tell you who 99% of them are, what their special powers are, who’s tougher than the rest and all that. But fans will enjoy checkmarking off who they see in the movie because if I know one thing about Pokemon, it’s you gotta collect them all!
Pokémon Detective Pikachu is the latest CGI-fest to hit movie theaters. I did like it more than the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies of the past few years, but that’s not saying much. Pikachu looks cute and Reynolds is funny as the character, but ultimately the movie is just another CG extravaganza to assault your senses. The big twist you should see coming a mile away and non-fans probably won’t get much out of it. That being said, a generation of fans will most likely make the movie a hit. I have nephews who grew up collecting the cards and watching the cartoons who are looking forward to seeing this and that’s the film’s bread & butter. It should do really well worldwide as well so I expect a sequel. If you are a fan than it’s for you.
Director: Rob Letterman
Writers: Screenplay by Dan Hernandez & Benji Samit and Rob Letterman and Derek Connolly, story by Dan Hernandez & Benji Samit and Nicole Perlman, based on “The Great Detective Pikachu” video 2 game developed by The Pokémon Company and Creatures Inc
Producers: Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Hidenaga Katakami, Don McGowan
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Ken Watanabe, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton