The Phoenix

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Review

When I was a wee lad, I loved Pokémon. I had the games, I watched the shows, I traded the cards with friends. However, as I grew up my love of Pokémon faded away; going into Pokémon Detective Pikachu, I remembered almost nothing about the lore or the world, but thankfully the filmmaking team behind Pokémon Detective Pikachu made an accessible and entertaining Pokémon movie and the only good video game movie.

The story opens our protagonist, Tim Goodman haphazardly trying to catch a sad Cubone to appease his friend. Tim, a young insurance agent was a character I could easily relate to; he had loved Pokémon when he was a child and wanted to be a trainer, but after some personal tragedies and growing up Tim had lost his love for Pokémon. A love that he would regain as the film goes on. That might be one of the best things about Pokémon Detective Pikachu, it reminded me why I loved Pokémon as a child. Each Pokémon has a unique design and the special effects are quite solid.

After Tim runs away from the Cubone that had no interest in being caught, he receives a phone call telling him his father, a detective, had died in an accident. Tim goes to his father’s house in Rhyme City, a utopia where people and Pokémon live in harmony. In his father’s house, Tim runs into an amnesia-ridden Pikachu voiced by Ryan Reynolds. The two decide to team up and find out the truth which leads them on an adventure with underground Pokémon battles, mysterious purple gas, genetically enhanced Pokémon, and coffee.

The story itself in Pokémon Detective Pikachu is interesting. Its Who Framed Roger Rabbit meets Blade Runner and the two certainly create a creative combination. However, the storytelling itself is lacking. The script never allows Tim and Pikachu to find anything out on their own. The duo goes to a location and then someone tells them something they need to know. The story’s plot points are very clearly spelled out (probably so the younger audience members don’t get confused) but this leads to a lot of exposition, clunky dialogue, and repetitive plot points.

Ryan Reynolds does a good job as Pikachu, even though its a bit bizarre that Deadpool and Pikachu sound the exact same. Some of his dialogue was straight out of Deadpool, with references to pop culture and Pokémon lore as well real life. Some of those lines land and others fall flat on their face.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a fun, cute, charming mystery romp that reminded me why I loved Pokémon when I was kid, while also being the best video game ever (which isn’t a very high bar but still).

 

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