Directed by Rob Letterman
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy
Runtime: 105 minutes
Pokémon was a HUGE craze growing up for me. I can remember trading cards and having binders full of our characters. Asking for packs for Christmas hoping to get the best cards or any holographic ones. It even became banned in middle school because of the craze (Shout out to Bloom-Vernon Middle School). Up until this film the vast majority of media were animated films and a tv show. We saw interest reignite at least in our area when Pokémon Go was released for mobile phones. Pretty sure my brother and girlfriend both walk around town playing it. Not my cup of tea but I will say this film had enough humor and commentary to keep even the non-fan interested.
Onto the film.
From the start, I noticed the CGI was hit or miss. Some of the characters came off looking lifelike. Pikachu himself looked like my fat dog. Others looked incredibly fake. Not sure if there were separate teams working on different Pokémon but there was a disconnect there that took me out of the film every time the CGI made a switch.
Thankfully the film picks up any slack with the cast and dialogue. I was hoping for a Who Framed Rodger Rabbit? Vibe with the live action mixed with the animated aspects. Pikachu (Reynolds) nails it! We are given a healthy dose of his trademark wit and sarcasm but this time in a small, yellow, creature. His wisecracks varied where I could children enjoying them and adults catching some of the “adult-themed” jokes. (Shrek was another film that handled this well.) Along with Pikachu we meet Tim Goodman (Smith) and Lucy Stevens (Newton). Goodman and Pikachu have a good chemistry which plays into several nice scenes with entertaining rapport when Goodman and Pikachu are traveling around Ryme City. (Looks like Japan) As we meet Stevens on our journey her spunk and charisma play nicely with Pikachu’s lack of patience and with Goodman clearly crushing hard.
By far the best scene in the film deals with interrogation of a Pokémon called, “Mr. Mime) Our two leads playing good cop, bad cop, yet miming their interrogation truly had me laughing out loud. These scenes are mixed in with several dramatic moments that add a nice balance to the film. It doesn’t come off too “kiddy” or too “silly”. These play into meeting Howard Clifford (Nighy.) His character comes off intelligent and yet I immediately questioned his intentions. Unfortunately, the film didn’t do a great job missing the cookie-cutter aspects films sometimes fall into. That and the unbalance CGI through a wrench into things.
In closing, a GREAT film is in there. Ryan Reynolds has been firing on all cylinders with the Deadpool films and his charm helps elevate this film to make it more entertaining that it could have ended up. The other main cast members all played well off each other and helped make scenes lacking substance entertaining. Like I stated before, my issues stemmed from the CGI and the predictable aspects of the film. We all see trailers that show the whole film, and it’s frustrating when you go see something and 20 minutes in figure out the whole story. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu doesn’t do that completely but it does fall into that trap on several occasions. I’m not saying don’t see this film. Children and Adults will all find parts they like, and if you’re a Pokémon fan definitely check it out for all the different ones on screen. If not, get excited for the final chapter of John Wick. Next week’s review!!! 3 stars out of 5 #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-981-9158.