It happened, I went and saw Detective Pikachu and wow, I’ve never wanted to start playing Pokemon Yellow more than right now. For those that are au fait with the world of Pokemon let me give you a brief lesson…
The UK shores were hit by Pokemon fever in the late 90’s (1999 to be precise) when Sky and CITV began airing the original anime series from Japan. October 1999 saw the release of Pokemon Red and Blue for original Game Boy and boy did the public lap it up; everything became Pokemon. Bedding, pyjamas and playground games, it reached in to every crevice of children’s lives. Pikachu, an electrified character with an attitude to match, was introduced to the public on day one and to this day remains the most popular mascot of the brand. Trainers come and go but Pikachu always remains.
Back to the film. Taking a leaf of Disneys play book, we start the film by killing the lead characters lonely family member and in this case, it’s his somewhat estranged detective father. Heading in to the big city, our lead characer Tim played by Justice Smith, goes to tidy up any loose ends before returning to his boring life as an insurance adjuster. Of course we have to introduce Pikachu in to the mix and that Tim can fully understand him, something we’re lead to believe has never happened before.
At this point I must highlight that this is a KIDS film. There are plenty of moments for the adult audience to laugh at including a homage to ‘Angel with Dirty faces’ taken straight from Home Alone through to an incredibly dark scene with Mr.Mime and petrol.. If you’re a die hard fan expecting to be surprised by depth or twists then please, adjust your thinking before you’re bitterly disappointed. The films is about as transparent as can be with you guessing the main plot and ending by quarter of the way through the film. I don’t count this as a negative, the film is highly enjoyable and as predictable as it was I enjoyed every minute.
The use of Bill Nighy as the antagonist was perfect; you couldn’t ask for more from such an incredible actor in a film such as this. It would have been very easy for him to throw in a comedic performance (Love Actually) or massively over act his role but instead, he plays it subtley and to the point. I was less impressed with Kathryn Newton, the love interest and secondary protagonist of the film; her role felt forced and although a capable actress (Ladybird) she felt forced in her portrayal.
Ryan Reynolds is a legend. Enough said. Well, it isn’t enough because his voice lends itself perfectly to Pikachu. I struggled to start with often picturing him as a furry little Deadpool but, once I got in to the swing of the film the match made in heaven was all to clear. Reynolds excelled giving us a mixture of adult humour and sheer cuteness through his vocal talents.
As for this being a game related movie, this has to be by far the best to date smashing all others out of the way. The way the world of Pokemon was bought to life through clever and often beautiful CGI really made it a joy to watch. A handful of moments can be picked on for not being ‘dazzling’ but they are promptly forgotten about with subsequent scenes. An fair example of this would be our lead characters being chased by Greninja’s (not amazing) followed up by GIANT Torterra (amazing effects).
I’ll certainly be re-watching this and may even order it on DVD when the time comes and for now, I’ll be making do with firing up Pokemon Yellow on a Game Boy emulator. Go in to this not expecting much and you’ll leave very happy.