Pokemon Detective Pikachu movie cast: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse
Pokemon Detective Pikachu movie director: Rob Letterman
Pokemon Detective Pikachu movie rating: 3.5 stars
Let me say it at the outset: Pokemon Detective Pikachu is not a perfect movie. But for somebody like me, who grew up watching Pokemon anime on Cartoon Network, it is a godsend. The film might not do the human characters justice, but it absolutely nails all the Pokemon. I just wish there were more of them, because everything else, including the underlying mystery in the story, is pretty weak.
The star of the film is an amnesiac and adorable Pikachu (voiced by always-brilliant Ryan Reynolds), who is also a self-professed world-class detective. The Deadpool actor is able to give the character a lot of personality, and thoroughly outshines Justice Smith’s Tim Goodman, the other protagonist of the movie.
It isn’t Smith’s fault as his character is written as the usual uncaring, angsty young dude who by the end of the movie transforms into a sympathetic person.
The story is incredibly corny and predictable, but Reynolds makes it work. The movie begins with Tim Goodman who works in an insurance company. He receives news that his estranged father Harry Goodman has passed away in an accident. He goes to his father’s place to take care of things, and encounters a Pikachu.
Only Tim can understand this Pikachu’s language. To others, he sounds like every other Pikachu. The Pikachu tells Tim that his master Harry Goodman may still be alive. The two join forces (Goodman quite reluctantly) to find out what happened to Harry.
The story does not get any more interesting as the film goes on, but you will enjoy every second of Pikachu in the movie.
The other Pokemon are also really well-realised. The CGI and motion-capture work are top-notch. The way Pokemon are designed and animated in the movie is how, in my opinion, it should have been done in Disney’s Christopher Robin. Detective Pikachu strikes a nice balance between the real and the cartoony.
The world of Ryme City, the fictional setting of the movie, feels authentic and lived-in. There are Squirtles used as fire-extinguishers, for instance — something I do not think I have seen in the anime.
I just wish there were more Pokemon and their battles, because of the visual potential and the undeniable calibre of the people behind this film. Perhaps something to look forward to in the sequel?