Movies based on video games had a long history of being halfway decent, bad, or just plain stinkers. So it comes as no surprise if a company decided to distance themselves on movie adaptations. But thankfully, some filmmakers still try to make a good video game movie adaptation, and finally we get to witness a video game movie that actually works in the form of Pokemon Detective Pikachu.
Based on a game of the same title, Detective Pikachu takes us to the colorful Ryme City and follow the story of Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) as he ends up investigating the mystery behind his father’s death. While trying to solve the case, Tim is accompanied by a coffee-loving Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) that Tim mysteriously is able to communicate with. Set in a world where humans and pokemon co-exist, Detective Pikuchu tries to explore Tim’s own dilemma as he rediscovers his forgotten passion of Pokemon battles and his strained relationship with his father, all while uncovering the mystery of his death.
The plot itself is a bit predictable, but Detective Pikachu does manage to pull off a good detective story, all while combining the familiar tone and joy of Pokemon. The story’s highlight is undoubtedly Tim’s story though; it will make fans relate to the film, especially if you used to be big fan of Pokemon but took off because of life. You might actually find yourself bouncing back to the Pokemon series and rediscovering what made it so special after watching the film.
Interaction between the main characters is hilarious, and Tim + Pikachu’s dynamic is a joy to watch on the big screen. This relationship as partners evolving to trusted comrades gives even more emotional depth. Also accompanying them is the junior reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton), though she does get the short end of the stick character development-wise. Another cast member is Ken Watanabe who plays the role of Detective Hideo Yoshida — Harry Goodman’s friend in the police department. Much like Lucy though, Detective Hideo’s character could’ve used more scenes.
One of the best things about the movie though is that the Pokemon all look natural and alive; it’s easy to make the Pokemon seem unrealistic, but the filmmaker’s managed to make them look lifelike (without being creepy). Another big praise I’ll heap upon the film is Ryan Reynolds voice acting as Pikachu. I was skeptical at first when I heard his casting, but upon watching the film, I was convinced that starring Ryan Reynolds as a mystery-loving coffeeholic yellow mouse is the best choice that director Rob Letterman made. Along with his wisecracks and quips, Ryan Reynolds voice acting will leave you chuckling throughout the film and his voice really fits a super cute detective character.
While not a perfect movie, the weaker points of the film can be easily overlooked thanks to the lifelike Pokemon designs and the dynamic between Tim and Pikachu. Detective Pikachu plot may be simple, but it’s easy to pick up even if you’re not familiar with the long-running franchise. Finally, Ryan Reynolds shines as the voice of the loveable Pikachu.
Overall, Pokemon Detective Pikachu is an enjoyable film for everyone. While it may not be a ground breaking film, it manages to capture the world of Pokemon so well. It’ll definitely become a classic among video game movies for a long time.