Director: Rob Letterman
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, and Kathryn Newton
Mister Marquee Says: All in good fun
Tim (Justice Smith) goes to Rhyme City, where humans and Pokemon live side-by-side, to sort out his recently diseased detective father Harry’s affairs after he is presumed dead in a car crash. While in Rhyme city, Tim meets Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), Harry’s partner who is suffering from amnesia. Tim can understand Pikachu when he talks, and the two agree to work together to find Harry, believing him to be alive.
Detective Pikachu is a fun little movie that kids and nostalgic millennials alike will enjoy. It’s not particularly ambitious, and the third act is a little wonky, but there’s solid enough sentiment and likeable characters. It’s cool seeing animated Pokemon and human characters share the big screen for the first time. The choice to make the Pokemon look like slightly more detailed versions of the cartoons we’ve seen in the animated series and the video games was a good one. The controversy surrounding Sonic the Hedgehog makes this even more apparent. Going for realism while also being true to the characters would have been a disaster. Keeping the Pokemon as-is gives Detective Pikachu a bit of a dream-like quality.
Detective Pikachu is a somewhat grounded human story set in the Pokemon universe. As any 90’s kid will tell you, the most endearing part of the franchise, and the genius marketing strategy that has made Pokemon the highest grossing franchise ever, is summed up in the slogan: “gotta catch ‘em all.” The catching and battling of Pokemon is the fun part, so you have to figure that after this gentle, grounded introduction to the universe, the next live action Pokemon we see will be going all-out on the classic Pokemon trainer angle that was pretty much absent here.
Detective Pikachu is a funny, innocent flick that will entertain, and a lot of that falls on the voice work by Ryan Reynolds and the cute, loveable little caffeine freak Pikachu. Not a classic by any means, but a fun little romp.