As always, an exploding pokeball of spoilers lies below. If you haven’t seen the film consider yourself warned!
2: The Aesthetic: Right off the bat were introduced to a crisp morning where Pigeotto are flying through the sky. It’s right here that it hits me, holy s*** this is a live-action pokemon movie.
The scene that follows shows Tim (Justice Smith) and his friend ducking low in the grass as they eye a wild Cubone for Tim to capture.
It feels bizarre having been a fan of the franchise since 1997 to see this scene play out. Us pokemon fans deep down have always dreamed of something like this being possible and here it is!
Not only is it great seeing Pokemon roam but Rhyme City itself feels like something straight from an anime cartoon. It’s alive and unique. You believe this world filled with pokemon and it’s good.
3: Justice Smith: He isn’t a pokemon trainer. Unfortunately, at eleven when he was getting ready to get his first partner his mother passed away tragically!
Tim isn’t an amazing lead but he’s a good one. You feel for his loss and you’re interested enough to follow him in the search for his father. My only hiccup with his character is that the Pikachu twist at the end of the film means he still doesn’t have a partner of his own!
If there’s a sequel something has to be done about that.
4: The Pokemon: There are no real trainers in this world! At least not in this city. Pokemon don’t live in pokeballs and it seems that every person is only allowed one instead of the game format of six? Makes sense on the count of its just a 1.5 hour movie.
Even more interesting was the concept that pokemon lives are somehow tied to those of their masters. If the master dies then so does the pokemon. Hm, that felt a bit The Golden Compass but alright.
As already mentioned before, seeing pokemon roam the world was just cool to see. Would I have liked to see more action from Pokemon instead of them just moving around in the back? Yes.
Their participation felt a bit like cartoon characters in Roger Rabbit; So many are there but they don’t do anything! The spotlight is very much Psyduck, Mewtwo, and Ryan Reynold’s Pikachu.
1: Full of potential: By the end of the movie what I saw above everything else was a world filled with potential. They created this place that brought anime and the real world together and it was buyable!
I can see this become a franchise. Of course, that’s going depend entirely on how audiences receive the film and how the box office does. Already we know that it was not able to premiere at number one for its opening weekend as Avengers: Endgame continues to hold that spot.
To be fair, that movie is a phenomenon that is well on its way to beating Avatar as the highest grossing film of all time. So, I think we can all give this franchise rookie a break.
1: Only Potential: Now that I have mentioned all the potential in this thing can now clarify that its all this movie really has. I see the shadow and hints at great possibility but the movie itself didn’t have anything very memorable.
I have to give it to Ryan Reynolds performance. Though I was against him voicing the mascot of the Pokemon franchise (very clever dad twist at the end to justify it) I think he carried a good deal of the film. I wonder if it would have been as receivable had he not been there to offer his famous ‘Ryan Reynolds humor’.
There can certainly be films about the games, or original stories about trainers, but this movie left me wanting something else. What that was, I’m not sure. Maybe traditional Pokemon elements? Characters from the original games? More easter eggs hinting to those places? Can’t put my finger on it… Overall it felt more like a movie paying homage to Pokemon rather than being a Pokemon movie.
2: The battles…?: One other thing that I was lacking terribly in this movie was battling that was more appealing to the eye. I know, probably not fair for a 20-something year franchise that has focused around stationary attack mechanics. However, these are super powered monsters! For battle scenes I just felt disappointed. I hope if and when a sequel comes they can commit to more dramatic angles and really serve battling as a visual art.
3:Bored: Finally, I was bored for a lot of this movie. I know, I’m pushing thirty and this movie really wasn’t for me. I hope that kids find enjoyment in this and want to stick around with it for the future. Again, it has the space to become something great! But if the target audience doesn’t get on board… the studio might have a bigger headache than Psyduck.
Overall I give Pokemon Detective Pikachu a 1.5 out of 5 Potatoes.
Join us on this weeks podcast episode as I breakdown for Rom and Fico!