18th May2019

‘Pokemon: Detective Pikachu’ Review – Second Opinion

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Chris Geere, Suki Waterhouse, Josette Simon, Alejandro De Mesa, Rita Ora, Karan Soni | Written by Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, Derek Connolly | Directed by Rob Letterman


Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is directed by Rob Letterman and stars Justice Smith as Tim Goodman with the addition of the voice of Ryan Reynolds as the titular Pokémon character Pikachu, who collide together after Tim is brought back into Ryme City after his Police Office father has been killed in a suspicious car accident, resulting in a partnership to get to the bottom of this mystery case. Letterman’s film is sadly eye gouging traumatic for an hour and forty minutes that feels more like torture than family entertainment. The resulting film has to be the most generic property going at the moment. The voice of Reynolds does very little and the film has no heart, no life and no entertainment value.

Let’s start with the voice casting of Reynolds as Pikachu. It’s simply a PG-rated Deadpool. That’s not to say that it doesn’t necessarily work because at times Reynold’s slightly risky comedy goes through, but it doesn’t particularly land with such diluted childish themes the film entails. As the film progresses it firmly comes across that this casting is for monetary value more so than crafting a character that works for the film. Contextually more is revealed to appropriate such a casting, but the remnants of an overly Deadpool tone is never too far from anything that Reynolds takes on as Pikachu. Thankfully, it is the terrific articulation on Pikachu that manages to save the character from being a complete disaster. The emotional articulation of the CGI creature is wonderfully executed and in sequences in which the film does travel down a softer and emotional route, it does bizarrely succeed, but only in regard to Pikachu himself and not the emotional value of the scene itself.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu spends most of the CGI budget on a set piece in the films second act that is redundant, empty and drastically unneeded. It almost comes across as an afterthought with the film in post-production the filmmakers realised theirs actually no entertaining set piece throughout, and their only thought was to go back and spend $30 million dollars on a CGI sequence that is never referred again and actually is neither entertaining nor visually intriguing. It ultimately stands as a description for the entire film “neither entertaining or visually intriguing” and what a disappointment that is to fail in revitalising such a prominent franchise that has gift so many people vibrant childhoods.

The film is all over the place with random details that don’t really qualify even as quirky details. Pikachu’s sudden urge for coffee, the fact that the character can actually talk to Tim isn’t fully explained, or the exploration of the supposed villain of the peice. Ryme City doesn’t even hide the fact that it’s shot in London. The whole experience of this film is hollow and exploitative and adds hollow weight for the sake of it without standard or thought process.

The resulting plot is so overly condescending and patronising. Even with the intended target audience, this is aimed for, I’m left utterly disgusted that such a production with SEVEN credited writers on this picture manages to craft something that has sequences to bait its audience to stick around for a reveal (of which is terrible) rather than just being able to enjoy the ride. The narrative is quite frankly boring, with an utterly saturated plot down to each predictable and insufficient plot beat that you’ll work out before it’s even developed on screen. Predictable is an understatement.

I’m left genuinely perplexed on the idea of which is worse between this and the monstrosity that is The Happytime Murders and that should explain my frustration and sourness without another word needed.


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