Pokémon Detective Pikachu – Film Review by Katie McCann
Director: Rob Letterman
Writers: Dan Hernandez (screenplay by), Benji Samit (screenplay by)
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton
Those who grew up in the ’90s will be well familiarised with the worldwide phenomenon that is Pokémon. The TV show, collectable cards and game boy games (Red, Blue and Yellow being the iconic original trio) were insanely popular until things cooled down a bit in the early 2000s. In the last couple of years though Pokémon have come back in a big way. Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game for phones where you can catch Pokémon in the real world or the Nintendo Switch game have caused a resurgence in the fandom. Now there is Detective Pikachu, based on the game of the same name, for you to get your fix of these adorable critters and it is hands down the best video game movie of all time (unfortunately, that is not the highest of praises but still credit where credit is due!)
Detective Pikachu follows the story of Tim (Justice Smith) who learns of his estranged father’s sudden death while working on a case in Ryme City. Ryme is a unique place where Pokémon and Humans live side by side in harmony; no Pokémon trainers, no battles, just good old fashioned teamwork. But when Tim goes to his father’s home in the hopes of putting his past to rest he uncovers an unlikely ally, a talking Pikachu voiced by Ryan Reynolds, and a mystery that must be solved.
Detective Pikachu is a fun-filled, family friendly ride through a gorgeous world teaming with extraordinary beasts. The imagination used to create not only Ryme City but to also bring these iconic cartoon characters to life is breathtaking. It is a feast for the eyes even if at times the plot becomes a little thin and implausible. Yet what really sets the film apart and marks it as not only a great Pokémon film but just a great film, is Ryan Reynold’s performance as Pikachu. Not only is he fricken adorable, he is hilarious. Reynold’s comedic timing has been well documented in the past and his recent turn as Deadpool has marked him as a massive box office pull. He really shines in this film (even through CGI) as the jokes are so well paced and delivered that they cannot but appeal to both adults and kids (a standout moment is a distressed Pikachu walking along singing the original theme song while crying). It’s just a really funny film regardless of how much you like Pokémon. A well-timed joke is a well-timed joke after all.
After so many disappointing game to movie films, this is a welcomed breath of fresh air. That said you do not need to like or know anything about Pokémon to enjoy this film. Detective Pikachu is well-made fun for all the family film whose appeal goes beyond the franchise while breathing new life into the Pokémon world.