Going into Pokémon Detective Pikachu, there was an uncertainty I had about how the Pokémon would be displayed, if they would fit into the script or just be something added to draw people in to the theaters. After seeing it though, I am pleasantly surprised at how fun, new, and enjoyable the movie experience was. After seeing the same movies franchises and ideas regurgitated year after year, this movies is something new.
In fact, right off the bat the viewers get introduced to the Pokémon world as the main character Tim Goodman (played by Justice Smith) tries to catch a Pokémon with his Pokéball sucking us into their world or allowing us to slide back into a nostalgic state. Goodman happens to be one of the only people without a Pokémon by his side in this world, but later on comes face-to-face with Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), the iconic star of the franchise.
Overall the performance of Smith and Reynolds together is extremely strong and the duo play off each other very well throughout the whole movie. Smith’s evolution throughout the movie helps build suspense as he goes from outlier with no Pokémon by his side and nonchalant attitude to determined and trusting as the script builds up to the climax.
On the other side of the duo Reynolds’ voice was a fantastic choice for the part as he adds an element of humor to the film, but also makes Pikachu stand out every second on the screen. Reynolds’ voice is a recognizable one, but is funny in the same way people names for dogs and cats are funny: it is unexpected and when you hear them it makes you subconsciously amused.
There is also the performance of Kathryn Newton, who plays the role of Lucy Stevens, the determined amateur detective and love interest of Tim Goodman. Newton has good chemistry with Justice Smith, and her character Lucy Stevens is incredibly important to the aforementioned development of Goodman throughout the movie as he searches for his father.
In a movie of this genre another important element, aside from the cast, is the graphics, images and the CGI involved as it can essentially make or break the movie. In this case the CGI presents no problems and the images are well made. The Pokémon graphics are very cool and the effects through the entire movie are extremely fun and should even make adults smile.
Despite all the positives there is one problem I had with the movie that stands out and brings it down slightly. One thing that stands out is the attempted humor. There are certainly times when the humor lands and where you can’t help but laugh, however there are a lot of jokes that do not land and fall flat, which is surprising considering how funny Reynolds is in general. The failed jokes are a minor thing, but still at times the jokes can feel tired and forced.
The plot overall is largely along the same lines as any move in this rating, genre and space as it doesn’t have anything unique about it, but also doesn’t have any problems that I found to bring it down. Despite being along the same lines, it works well for the characters.
The movie as a whole is a fun and exciting concept that combined with the new and improved CGI technology bring to life something that spans generations. Pokémon is something that adults on down can relate to and this movie casts the parts well giving fans a fun new take on Pikachu, who remains the face of the franchise. The humor can be hit or miss, but doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment of the film. Reynolds' specifically lifts the movie up slightly and lends a hand to a strong effort that should draw praise from most.