By: Marco Ovies, Peak Associate
Within the first couple shots of the Pidgeot flying across the screen, I felt like a kid starting my own Pokémon adventure again. Seeing all these creatures I grew up with perfectly exist in the real world had me giddy with excitement.
Movies based on video games are always tough to execute, but Pokémon Detective Pikachu flawlessly creates the world of Pokémon that fans will instantly fall into. The story revolves around Tim, played by Justice Smith, who ventures to Rhyme City after the mysterious death of his father. There he meets Detective Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds, and together they must solve the mystery of Tim’s father’s death.
The thing that Detective Pikachu does extremely well is create a world where Pokémon and people coexist. Within the first frames, we dive head first into this world of stunning CGI. Studios quite often struggle with bringing video-game characters to life (as we saw in the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer), but here director Rob Letterman and his team has absolutely nailed the look of all these extremely unique creatures.
There was never a point in the film where the Pokémon felt fake or animated. The expressive creatures added a depth to the story that other CGI films seem to lack. In particular, the animation of Detective Pikachu himself was wonderful. The textures of his fur-covered body looked realistic and his tiny face was extremely expressive.
Overall, however, the plot is quite simple. The movie involves little character development aside from Justice Smith’s character Tim, who has a miniscule moment of self-discovery. Viewers will find that the ending is, unfortunately, as predictable as you might expect for a blockbuster children’s movie. Walking into Detective Pikachu, I had my theories on what the big plot twist would be, but I don’t think anyone was surprised by the film’s ending — I know I wasn’t. But perhaps, since this was a movie involving my beloved childhood characters, I had walked in with my expectations too high.
However, both the young and the old will find something to enjoy with Detective Pikachu. The movie has a couple of good laughs from the incredibly talented Ryan Reynolds — though don’t expect to be reprising his role of Deadpool as Detective Pikachu. Great moments included the scene involving Mr. Mime being forced to communicate strictly through, well, pantomime.
At the end of the day, this is just another film that reuses old — if beloved — characters, but one that I gladly dove head first into. But what makes Pokémon Detective Pikachu good is the fact that it does more than just play off of nostalgia. It features a real story that may not be complex but will captivate the attention of movie-goers. I give this movie three and a half out of five Poké Balls for its stunning visual effects, comedic moments, and fun, if simple, story.