Detective Pikachu electrifies audiences with stunning visuals, but fries its story to a crisp.
photo by Carolina Castilla Arias
(Warning this review contains spoilers)
The live-action remake pays homage to the original Detective Pikachu game made for Nintendo’s 3DS. When detective Harry Goodman goes missing Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) partners up with his 21-year old son Tim (Justice Smith) to solve the mystery. After discovering that his father is missing and believed to be dead, Tim makes his way to Ryme City. A place where his father lived, worked and humans and Pokemon live side by side.
The CGI used to create these Pokemon is seamlessly stunning and really brings the characters to life. The cinematography is executed beautifully, from the neon lights of Ryme city to the secret Pokemon battles, this is the starring feature of the movie. We are thrown into an adventure that almost feels like levels in a game. Tim discovers he can understand Pikachu in an encounter at his father’s apartment which initially connects the two prompting their adventure to find detective goodman. When a chemical made from the cells of Mewtwo is accidentally released by Tim the characters discover how pokemon become crazed and then they proceed to get chased down by a pack of aipoms. As the film continues this idea is definitely the fuel that helps keep the story moving with Tim and Pikachu finding themselves encountering chemical R more than they would like.
Pikachus is adorable and his antics delivered by Reynolds are hilarious making it hard not to watch and love the character that is Detective Pikachu. But while Pikachus performance sparks the audience’s attention, other performances aren’t as electrifying.
While Tim’s character is key to detective Pikachus story his character feels like a side piece that helps push the story on the next scene. While there are a lot of high energy scenes in the movie Smiths performance feels very underwhelming in that aspect. Pikachu truly is the fire that keeps the flame of the movie lit. He is actually carrying most of the movie on his back in my opinion. The storyline includes other stale characters like reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) and Lieutenant Hide Yoshida (Ken Watanabe). Like Tim, both of these characters help move the story along but just don’t seem to make an impact in their performances and the script is one thing that is dragging the cast down.
The Pokemon really do shine in this movie which was a very enjoyable and necessary part of this film. But without the support of good dialogue and performance by the actors, some of the films most memorable moments are left to the pokemon. Some of which s include psyduck screaming his own name nervously for half of the film, nearly exploding in any type of stressful situation. Charizard getting drugged out by chemical R and nearly killing Pikachu in an illegal pokemon match. And Pikachu battling Mewtwo on top of giant pokemon parade balloons eventually leading to the conclusion of the film. If you are a pokemon fan this is worth a watch, as it references some things that Pokemon fans might catch. And if you’re a true fan you might catch them all.