"Put down the stapler, or *I* will electrocute *you*!"
Detective Pikachu is set in a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle. A boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective. When ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his son, Tim, to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry's former Pokémon partner, Pikachu, a wise-cracking, super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself.
So first things first, let’s talk about the unsung hero of this movie, which is the score by Henry Jackman. I know in previous reviews I ripped him to shreds for his use of repeated music from one film to another. However, there's much to be said about the wise choice to use the Pokémon original music, and make a score out of it here. It conjures up feelings of nostalgia and makes this 27-year-old man feel like a young kid again. The next thing I want to praise is the visual effects and CGI. There was something so amazing about finally, after thinking about it and imagining it as a kid, seeing a live action rendition of a Pokémon film. The experience was just mind blowing, and throughout this film I saw some clear nods and allusions to other films like Ready Player One, Tim Burtons' Batman and Jurassic World. There was even some shades, via the plot, of Batman begins. With regards to Ready Player one, and much like Detective Pikachu, you just sit there and you go through the movie picking out all the little things that you can point out and identify. This is fine, because the overall story was subpar, anyway. Before I get to the main cast, let me just talk a little bit about Ken Wantanabe. I thought that he was ultimately underused for a man of his talents, but then again anytime that Kent isn't the star of a film, I feel he’s going to be underused regardless. He’s just that amazing of an actor. Bill Nighy was fine as well, but the rest of the cast was pretty new to me. I’m not sure who this justice Smith kid is, but I don’t like him. Throughout the first 10 minutes of the movie, I was like "Get this kid the hell out of here, because he’s not doing it for me." However, as the film progressed, something clicked and it ended up not being a total snooze-fest by the end. My girlfriend however, was not so kind. She hated Smith the whole way out. None of this truly matters though, as the live-action characters we get in this film are pathetically flat, bland and boring, with zero redeeming qualites. Fortunately, we didn’t come to this movie to see Justice Smith, we came to see Ryan Reynolds, and we came to see the nostalgia of Pokémon. I’m happy to say I got plenty of both with those regards.
Detective Pikachu was good, not mind blowing, but passable enough. It was a blast seeing live action Pokémon on the screen finally, and it has been roughly 20 years since I last saw a Pokémon movie actually in theaters. While this movie isn't perfect, I would be down to see another entry to build into a franchise. Ideally, this would include more Pokemon Battles and focus on the catching/training aspect of Pokemon lore. Detective Pikachu a fun enough ride, and comes recommended for fans of Ryan Reynolds and any aspects of the massive Pokemon franchise. It is not a Ricky Nixx film.
Director: Rob Letterman
Writers: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton