Film review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu

A beloved video game character turns super sleuth in Pokémon Detective Pikachu!

Film adaptations of video games, it’s fair to say, don’t have the best track record. When it comes to successful films, they tend to be poorly made, underfunded and often change so much of their source material they fail to represent the game world on which they are based. Big name actors are wary to attach themselves to such projects and game adaptations are rarely anticipated even by the most hardcore of franchise fans.

Enter stage left one of the world’s most bankable stars, Ryan Reynolds, lending his voice to a live action Pokémon adaptation. Even from the trailer alone, something felt different about Detective Pikachu. It seemed liked it cared about delivering something that would not only keep fans happy but have a well written script that played to Reynold’s strengths. In short, the film looked fun but how did it end up?

For the most part the film stands up fairly well; what little plot there is focuses on Tim Goodman’s (Justice Smith) search for his missing father, Harry, a detective with Ryme PD. His search quickly takes him to Ryme City, a place where humans and Pokémon live in harmony. There is more to his father’s disappearance than initially meets the eye and he teams up with his father’s Pikachu partner to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Ryan Reynold’s performance as Pikachu is the heart of the movie, and his witty delivery and one-liners mean he steals every scene he is in. Justice Smith is fine here but is upstaged every time he shares the screen with his furry sidekick, although that can forgiven as Reynolds is on great form.

The “detective” in the title though is pretty misleading. The trailer makes this look like it could have been a fun light-hearted detective noir with the added humour of an entertaining sidekick. Instead what we get is 1hr 45mins of shameless fan service, with the detective work going out of the window pretty quickly and we are left with lots and lots of bonkers OTT Pokémon battles. Prior knowledge of this universe is a must; if you aren’t aware of the source material then steer well clear as there isn’t anything for you here.

For fans though, there is a lot to like. It’s refreshing to see that creature design hasn’t been messed around with at all and the big screen versions of the loveable creatures are nigh on perfect recreations of the characters people know and love. Pokémon fans will have one hell of a good time with this and will certainly be able to overlook the predictable plot and slightly silly twists.

Ultimately Detective Pikachu isn’t a film for everyone but it can hold its head high as one of the better video game adaptations, even if the wait for a great one isn’t over yet.





Author: Paul, Bath store