When it comes to the world of video games perhaps no series has broken more ground than that of Pokemon. What started off as games for the gameboy became a worldwide phenomenon as Pokemon has played in a pivotal role in pop culture such as trading cards games and television. Pokemon is no stranger to the silver screen as the series has had a several movies to its name. Now the franchise seeks to break new ground yet again with its first live action film Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. Directed by Rob Letterman Detective Pikachu is based off the 2016 adventure game where players solved mysteries with a sleuth Pikachu. With its intriguing concept, as well as its energetic title character, Detective Pikachu looked to be a delight for the summer season. The film has now made its way theaters and while it may not be the most flashy of blockbusters, Detective Pikachu was still an entertaining adaptation.
The story centers on Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) who must partner with a talking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of Tim’s father Henry. The plot was a straightforward adventure with a decent mystery to it. The mystery aspect was nothing too complex but it was enticing as it kept me engaged throughout the entire runtime. Another element going for this story was the world it created. The setting of Ryme City made for a compelling backdrop that had plenty of story to it. However while the plot was enjoyable it was not super effective. The main issue with the plot was the execution of its narrative. Along with its quick pacing the plot’s structure was little formulaic for my taste; though it did have some surprises to it. While I expected this plot to be simplistic it ended up being too simple for its own good, but despite that the tale to this adaptation managed to be an enlightening adventure.
When it came to characters this cast was one that relied on its title character, and fortunately it paid off. Detective Pikachu was a show stealer to say the least as the voice performance of Ryan Reynolds brought the charm out of this outlandish Pokemon. Yet a Pokemon is only as good as his trainer and in this case the likes of Tim made for a solid counterpart for Pikachu. Tim was a reasonable protagonist whose reluctant mentality only benefited his pairing with the sly Pikachu. As for the supporting cast this movie featured a decent one. The likes of Lucy (Kathryn Newton) turned out to be a better character than I thought despite her limited progression; and her partner Psyduck was a highlight in the cast. Aside from that duo characters such as Detective Yoshida (Ken Watanabe) and Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) were good additions but they offered little to the overall film.
When dealing with a film like Detective Pikachu the likes of visual effects would be a major factor for the film’s presentation. For the most part the visuals were exceptional as it brought the Pokemon to life in a stylish fashion. The effects for Pikachu were particularly good as his motions were fluent and his design felt practical. Along with the strong visuals was the movie’s keen sense of humor. The comedy was subtle but clever in its delivery as I found myself chuckling at several jokes. Equally as stylish was the score by Henry Jackman. The music featured tunes that were not only fitting for the film’s video game origins but the genres that made Pokemon: Detective Pikachu.
While it may not have met expectations Pokemon: Detective Pikachu was still a delight. The film is as much as homage to the series it was an enjoyable adventure. The movie did have its share of issue likes its brash storytelling but it managed to pull through thanks to its strong protagonists, intriguing environment and its sense of wit. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu show much potential as it could be a new journey for the franchise, but if nothing comes from it then this adaptation was simply a delightful adventure for the summer season.