Pokemon Detective Pikachu
By James Davidson
In a world where Pokemon and humans coexist, Tim Goodman (played by Justice Smith), a young man who inexplicably dislikes Pokemon, finds himself unwittingly paired with a mysterious, intelligent, talking Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). After a tragic accident where Tim’s estranged father is killed, Tim must travel to Ryme City where his father worked as a detective to settle his father’s affairs. Upon arriving, Tim discovers that there might be more to his dad’s accident than meets the eye. He discovers that his father’s Pokemon partner, a Pikachu, who was supposed to have died in the same accident is still alive. Tim can also understand what this Pikachu is saying, which is not a normal occurrence.
If you don’t know much about Pokemon; they are fictional monsters that live in unison with humans. Humans hunt and capture Pokemon in order to use them for Pokemon Battles and as work partners. There are many different kinds of Pokemon, some are more rare than others, all with there own special abilities. Pokemon are a huge cultural phenomenon, appearing in TV shows, video games, collectable card games, movies, and much more.
Pokemon has never really tickled my fancy, so I didn’t have any kind of nostalgic connection to this movie. I have played some of the games and seen some of the television shows; so I do have a working knowledge of them. However, I’ve just never been a huge fan of them. I thought I still might enjoy this movie, just not as much as a Pokemon fanatic. With Ryan Reynolds voicing Pikachu, I hoped there would be a few jokes that might make this movie more enjoyable.
Unfortunately, what few laughs Reynolds did provide, which are not as many as I was expecting, didn’t redeem this movie from poor acting and even poorer writing. The acting was mediocre at best; with Justice Smith, who plays Tim Goodman, doing most of his acting opposite of a CGI Pikachu. In my opinion, Smith’s acting while not atrocious, wasn’t strong enough to carry scenes by himself. Tim’s love interest, Lucy Stevens (played by Kathryn Newton), is a reporter for the local news. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any kind of connection between these two characters. The two actors, didn’t have any chemistry and were not believable as a romantic couple. I felt that they were okay as crime solving partners, just not as love interests.
However, I did enjoy the visuals. The computer-generated Pokemon were fun to see, even for someone who doesn’t know much about them. For someone who grew up playing and watching Pokemon, I can imagine it would be even more enjoyable. It was fascinating to see these fictional characters come to life on the big screen.
As interesting as the visuals were, it couldn’t save the movie from the bad writing. I was able to predict almost all of the “surprises” in the plot within the first act of the movie. The characters also felt a bit one-dimensional and a lot of the relationships between the characters were not established very well. There was minimal character development and what little there was felt very predictable and weak.
While the movie was entertaining enough, it just didn’t live up to the expectations I set for it. The humor from Ryan Reynolds was not as funny as I expected it to be. It seemed subdued and superficial in my opinion. A bigger fan of Pokemon might really enjoy this movie though, because it would invoke a lot of nostalgia; I just felt it missed the mark.
“Pokemon Detective Pikachu” is rated PG for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements. It would be a great movie to take children to, especially if they are big Pokemon fans.
“Pokemon Detective Pikachu” is an entertaining movie, however, don’t expect a great plot or great acting. The acting could use some work and the characters needed better development. The visuals are very fun and a Pokemon fan would probably really enjoy seeing a major part of their childhood come to life. I will probably not be adding this movie to my collection, but it might not be a bad movie to rent one night. It earns 2.5 out of 5 stars.