Pokemon, but in real life. This is my younger self’s dream, getting a Pokemon and being the very best like no one ever was (For the record, I would’ve chosen Squirtle). I owned the cards and grew up watching the TV show and still remember Ash being late, only getting a Pikachu which would shock everyone, stealing Misty’s bike, beating Brock’s rock type Onix (Which he shouldn’t be able to do by the way) and most emotionally, I remember the orignial Pokemon film and the sadness of Pikachu crying when Ash was turned into a statue [Spoiler alert]. So when a couple of years ago, Pokemon Go came out and took my summer by storm, my inner-child finally could recognise the dream to be a pokemon master. Then Pokemon: Detective Pikachu came along, a film with CGI pokemon in the real world. Needless to say, this immediately became a must watch. Therefore, I will discuss this film as objectively as I can, but also as someone who grew up with these 151+ monsters.
I wanna be the very best like no one ever was
Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) doesn’t want to be a pokemon trainer. Instead, he works in insurance, despite his friend trying to get him to catch a Cubone. However, his life will change once his dad has been killed in a car accident. He goes to Ryme City, a place where pokemon and people live in harmony to pick up his dad’s belongings. Upon entering his apartment, he sees a talking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) with a detective hat who suggests Tim’s dad isn’t dead. Alongside budding journalist Lucy (Kathryn Newton) and her Psyduck, he investigates
The story is admittedly flimsy. There aren’t any real surprises as its your bog standard kids film. The characters aren’t anything special. Lucy would most likely fail the Bechdel test as she seems to be there purely to be female and conveniently move the plot along. What this film loses in plot, it does make up for in humour. Reynolds’ Pikachu very much plays like a family friendly Deadpool which will make you chuckle throughout. Tim also provides some funny moments with his awkward relationship with pokemon put to good use. There are jokes for both kids and adults, with a Seinfeld joke not falling upon my deaf ears. A Bill Nighey cameo only adds to the ridiculousness and enjoyment.
To Catch them is my real quest. To train them is my cause
Where this film really comes to fruition is its use of pokemon. You really get a feel of them in the world, whether it’s through a snorlax falling asleep in the middle of a crossroad, or fearsome Charizard breathing fire. You see all of your favourite pokemon here, with most of them being the originals but a few of the newer ones. They can be used for great humour to. There is one point where Pikachu throws a magikarp in the hope it evolves, only for it to splash around uselessly. My least favourite moment came when a Lickitung licked Tim with its big horrible tongue… Maybe a world of Pokemon is best left to the imagination.
There were plenty of cool throwbacks which will make any retro pokemon fan very happy. The opening scene of the film sees Mewtwo breaking out of a lab, just like in the original movie. You hear the original pokemon song a couple of times throughout the film and have to show great restraint not to sing along in the cinema. The Pikachu, Psyduck combination was also a sweet throwback to the cartoons and Lucy’s Psyduck now is as useful Misty’s was back in the day.
The only unrealistic moment was the parade of bulbasaurs given their moment like they’re really popular. Come on guys, nobody likes Bulbasaur.
Summary: How do you get a Pikachu on a bus?
Detective Pikachu was a fun film to watch. While it won’t pick up any awards, it is an enjoyable family film made with a lot of care. The Pokemon references were great for both the old fans and the kids and there is just enough in the film to make sure that non-Pokemon fans will enjoy it to, with Reynolds’ humour pulling it through. This film was as good as it could ever be. [Grade: B].