• Magnificent Entertainer barges into the Pastoria Gym, intent on getting his fifth Badge. Watch here as he chases some Team Galactic dingbat and yells at the police again.

REVIEW: Detective Pikachu

Majestic
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Messages
5,909
Reaction score
3,831
  • Thread starter
  • Staff
  • #1
The first theatrically released live-action Pokémon movie is opening in Japan today. Check here to see when the movie is opening where.

Please keep spoilers pertaining to the plot in spoiler tags for now.
 
Dr. Fuji?!
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
18,620
Reaction score
12,108
I don't understand the "only 60-ish Pokemon" criticism. I'll need to watch the movie to know how they stand out, but I'd wager that it is a fair bit more than the average Pokemon in an anime movie. The only reason the species count in most of the anime movies is higher is that a lot of them don't do much, especially when the opening segment and credits are involved.
 
I'm no Krook
Joined
Sep 16, 2010
Messages
11,312
Reaction score
6,119
Just booked a ticket to see at my local cinema on the 15th May, can't wait
 
Part Time Pokémon Master
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
368
Reaction score
515
I went to an early premiere of Detective Pikachu on Thursday 5/2 at an AMC in Ohio. I enjoyed it.
Most of the the stuff in the trailers happen early in the movie so no worries there.


The movie is a neo-noir/comedy film (if such a thing could exist). It felt almost like Blade Runner/Minority Report/iRobot but for kids and Pokémon instead of robots. Hopefully that analogy makes sense. It heavily leans on the neo-noir genre to get the detective angle to work. It's a Pokémon movie so you know there are light moments and scenes, but the use of shadows and darkness keeps the overall the detective theme. The comedy is obvious from the Ryan Reynolds casting (and in scenes like the Mr. Mime interrogation).

Justice Smith plays a pretty good lead. I think he gets type casted a bit, but it works, I think. Most of the major actors pretty much keep in line with their general character roles. Ryan Reynolds tries to give a little more of a nuanced performance and it was okay. Obviously he's a funny guy, but I think he did okay in the more character driven moments.

The movie is pretty predictable, and would probably be an average movie. The thing that pushes it over the edge for me is how it incorporates Pokémon into the film. I like it because its not just putting Pokémon in your face. It really feels like they are a part of the world and it was wonderful for me. Most of the Pokémon are pretty accurate to character and design. Pikachu is the star, but other standouts for me were Psyduck, Mr. Mime, and Ditto. I think what they did to Mewtwo will get on people's nerves (it got on mine), but in the grand scheme of things it is relatively harmless.

This isn't much of a review, but I guess I wanted to share my opinion with people. Detective Pikachu was a good movie. It's definitely a competent video game movie. The story is one you've seen a billion times, but let's face it you're coming for the Pokémon and it delivers in that regard.
 
i've fallen and cant get up
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
3,468
Reaction score
9
I'm digging myself up from the grave to write this review. I saw Detective Pikachu in Japanese cinemas on the opening day, 5/3. It's probably the best Pokemon film I've watched in a decade.

When I first saw the trailers for Detective Pikachu, I was ecstatic that they were going to incorporate Pokemon in a real world setting. Of course, I shared a lot of the worries that it may have been made too "main-stream" and "edgy" for wide-spread appeal, but I don't think that was the case at all. The way they introduced elements of this particular Pokemon world was accessible to new fans and very nostalgic to old fans. The majority of the main pokemon roles are from gen 1 (sigh...) however, they cameo pokemon from every region. I was in aw of the settings, especially the opening scene to Ryme City and the underground battle scene (with the most memorable moment being the Loudred DROPPING THE BASS). While this obviously exists in an alternate universe, they name drop existing pokemon regions like Kanto so it doesn't seem so 'foreign.' This universe has so much potential and I would love to see another live-action movie stem from this.

The main character, 21-year-old Tim, and supporting cast Lucy were conceived to be relatable to young millenials (let's face it, the target demographic for this film, myself included). Tim works in insurance, a path that is secure but unfulfilling, after being disillusioned from Pokemon. Lucy is an overworked, underpaid, unappreciated intern for a major news outlet. Their relationship could have had potential, but I felt that Lucy was pushed aside as the "convenient exposition machine/side-chick" character. Also, the forced crushing between them seemed so unnecessary. Tim had a lot of backstory elements that were revealed in flashbacks, which I found more interesting than his current self lol. He's definitely more of a reactionary character, which serves as a good foil to Detective Pikachu, who is the obvious star of the movie. I wish they showed more of Tim's pokemon nerdiness!

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING:
The part where the owners were forced to possess their pokemon partner's bodies was really creepy, NGL. I think that concept is quite dark for a kid's movie considering you basically put the soul of the pokemon you're possessing in a comatose state...possibly forever.

They have a "pixar villain" in this movie ('unexpected' but kinda to the point of cliche at this point) but they way they did the reveal is so fitting to the narrative that I can't complain. What I didn't expect tho, was the reason why Pikachu could speak to Tim. I know it was probably really obvious to most people, but I must have been so engrossed in the other elements that I didn't notice (or I was just dumb lol). It was so touching that I literally cried.

The movie was obviously made by people who love pokemon. My relationship with pokemon in the past few years has been a bit negligent because of my hiatus from the anime and general lack of involvement with fandom in general (darn adulthood!!), so I'm grateful for these movies that re-ignite my passion for the series. If you go in with an open mind that it's kinda cheesy, I think it's a fun experience.!

The movie theater I went to had 4 showings for the Japanese dub and 2 showings for the English version. I went to the English version with Japanese subtitles and the entire theater was full of adults around my age lol. In my experience with Japanese movie theaters, movies that are for adults tend to have silent audiences (even for funny parts!!) so I was worried about the atmosphere. But I think that me and my friend were just too obnoxious laughing at all the dumb jokes that we enabled the guy next to us to also not hold back. I feel bad for the people who couldn't understand English because they didn't translate some of the jokes well in the subs. There was a part where Pikachu starts singing the first Pokemon opening (English Dub), and I can't remember, but they just put a direct translation of the lyrics instead of finding similar lines in "Mezase Pokemon Master" which I think would have worked better. Just my opinion. Hope they at least did that in the Japanese Dub.
 
23rd President of the USA.
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
502
Reaction score
210
It looks much better than the Pokemon Anime movies by far.

Let's just hope it's good. (It hasn't released here yet)
 
Part Time Pokémon Master
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
368
Reaction score
515
I'm digging myself up from the grave to write this review. I saw Detective Pikachu in Japanese cinemas on the opening day, 5/3. It's probably the best Pokemon film I've watched in a decade.

When I first saw the trailers for Detective Pikachu, I was ecstatic that they were going to incorporate Pokemon in a real world setting. Of course, I shared a lot of the worries that it may have been made too "main-stream" and "edgy" for wide-spread appeal, but I don't think that was the case at all. The way they introduced elements of this particular Pokemon world was accessible to new fans and very nostalgic to old fans. The majority of the main pokemon roles are from gen 1 (sigh...) however, they cameo pokemon from every region. I was in aw of the settings, especially the opening scene to Ryme City and the underground battle scene (with the most memorable moment being the Loudred DROPPING THE BASS). While this obviously exists in an alternate universe, they name drop existing pokemon regions like Kanto so it doesn't seem so 'foreign.' This universe has so much potential and I would love to see another live-action movie stem from this.

The main character, 21-year-old Tim, and supporting cast Lucy were conceived to be relatable to young millenials (let's face it, the target demographic for this film, myself included). Tim works in insurance, a path that is secure but unfulfilling, after being disillusioned from Pokemon. Lucy is an overworked, underpaid, unappreciated intern for a major news outlet. Their relationship could have had potential, but I felt that Lucy was pushed aside as the "convenient exposition machine/side-chick" character. Also, the forced crushing between them seemed so unnecessary. Tim had a lot of backstory elements that were revealed in flashbacks, which I found more interesting than his current self lol. He's definitely more of a reactionary character, which serves as a good foil to Detective Pikachu, who is the obvious star of the movie. I wish they showed more of Tim's pokemon nerdiness!

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING:
The part where the owners were forced to possess their pokemon partner's bodies was really creepy, NGL. I think that concept is quite dark for a kid's movie considering you basically put the soul of the pokemon you're possessing in a comatose state...possibly forever.

They have a "pixar villain" in this movie ('unexpected' but kinda to the point of cliche at this point) but they way they did the reveal is so fitting to the narrative that I can't complain. What I didn't expect tho, was the reason why Pikachu could speak to Tim. I know it was probably really obvious to most people, but I must have been so engrossed in the other elements that I didn't notice (or I was just dumb lol). It was so touching that I literally cried.

The movie was obviously made by people who love pokemon. My relationship with pokemon in the past few years has been a bit negligent because of my hiatus from the anime and general lack of involvement with fandom in general (darn adulthood!!), so I'm grateful for these movies that re-ignite my passion for the series. If you go in with an open mind that it's kinda cheesy, I think it's a fun experience.!

The movie theater I went to had 4 showings for the Japanese dub and 2 showings for the English version. I went to the English version with Japanese subtitles and the entire theater was full of adults around my age lol. In my experience with Japanese movie theaters, movies that are for adults tend to have silent audiences (even for funny parts!!) so I was worried about the atmosphere. But I think that me and my friend were just too obnoxious laughing at all the dumb jokes that we enabled the guy next to us to also not hold back. I feel bad for the people who couldn't understand English because they didn't translate some of the jokes well in the subs. There was a part where Pikachu starts singing the first Pokemon opening (English Dub), and I can't remember, but they just put a direct translation of the lyrics instead of finding similar lines in "Mezase Pokemon Master" which I think would have worked better. Just my opinion. Hope they at least did that in the Japanese Dub.
This was a good review. A few things I wonder
1. How did you feel about the cause of the soul swapping? I had how they twisted that Pokémon's lore. I think it would have been better to have it just have Pokémon rage out. It would have been a nice call back to the berserk gene from Gen 2. Also, I agree about the romantic angle. Also, I like what they did with the dad twist, but I knew it was going to be something like that because of how frequently his face was hidden.
 
Dr. Fuji?!
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
18,620
Reaction score
12,108
I'll watch the movie in two days. Between playing the game and the reviews giving things away, all I care about is the atmosphere and characterization.

I think it would have been better to have it just have Pokémon rage out. It would have been a nice call back to the berserk gene from Gen 2.
That's what happened in the game, or maybe that's why you brought it up.
 
i've fallen and cant get up
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
3,468
Reaction score
9
How did you feel about the cause of the soul swapping? I had how they twisted that Pokémon's lore. I think it would have been better to have it just have Pokémon rage out. It would have been a nice call back to the berserk gene from Gen 2. Also, I agree about the romantic angle. Also, I like what they did with the dad twist, but I knew it was going to be something like that because of how frequently his face was hidden.
The cause was a bit...eh? They used the "rage" elements when it was convenient to add conflict. Made for some really cool action/chase scenes, but also kinda robbed them the opportunity to see real life Pokemon battles with the trainers giving commands to their pokemon, like we would in the games. I mean, I get how Ryme city was built off the premise that battles weren't a priority, but it made it seem (at times) like Pokemon are just wild animals that need to be fought off instead of creatures with free will and intelligence. It's certainly not the first time the franchise has used this plot element, but without nuanced conflict (like let's say, Pikachu was compromised and Tim had to fight him), it feels a bit cheap. Spoilers for Zootopia case you haven't seen it, but they had a similar elements in the plot and instead used the "rage drug" as a socio-political weapon to further oppress predators. And IDK about the whole "drugging up someone to be able to possess them later"...that sends really creepy vibes >_>
 
Active Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2010
Messages
646
Reaction score
218
I can't wait to see this movie. But I work on Friday and Mom's having a meeting on Saturday so I have to go on Sunday.
 
TRUE POKEMON LOVER
Joined
Apr 6, 2010
Messages
1,073
Reaction score
1,119
Ill give this movie a 6.5/10 great watch for kids and the abundance of pokemon and subtle easter eggs are great homage to true pokemon fans but for me it has great potential but just barely make it for its plot also the ending when they reveal pikachu is ryan reynolds and tim's father was very unsatisfying and just out if no where also it just felt more like a ryan reynold movie for me more than a pokemon movie which is a shame cause it has great potential. Absolutely love the way they bring pokemon to life specially Ditto I love how he is more bubblegum like in his original form and those beady eyes lol. The mr mime comedy was classic. I felt like a kid saying all of the names of the pokemon I could see on screen. Cubone was also fantastic.

Also I felt like if they could have used more kids in this movie not teens. Like how the heck was the whole rhyme city full of adults.

Also such a shame they used japanese style alphabet letters rather than unknown letters in their billboards

Also I notice a major plothole if you rewatch the movie when pikachu first met tim he instanly knew his name and call him as such when the aipom's attacked them, yet tim has never mentioned his name even once to pikachu...Also does half of rhyme city made of torterra?


Also how the hell would they do a sequel if they made ryan reynolds the actual pikachu and then become human?

Also I noticed Tim Goodman is from Sinnoh?

And Who ever wrote the script that MEWTWO IS THE STRONGEST POKEMON surely does not play pokemon at all!!!!
 
Last edited:
ロケット団よ永遠
Joined
Jan 2, 2003
Messages
10,908
Reaction score
1,912
Some spoilery bits I didn't get into in my review from last week:

The opening scene of Tim trying to catch a Cubone just doesn't work. They waste all this time introducting PokéBalls and catching Pokémon and Pokémon types and all the other stuff and then never bother to bring any of that up again! Why not use this time to, I dunno, establish that Pokémon don't normally speak human language so that when Pikachu starts doing just that not 20 minutes later it actually means something?

And for a movie called "Detective Pikachu" there sure isn't a lot of detective work going on in this movie is there? Everyone just happens to be at the right place at the right time, with the most egregious example being when Tim and Pikachu are sitting outside after their chat with Lt. Yoshida. The two of them are chatting about how they're going to find out why Pikachu lost its memory when all of a sudden BAM! Suki Waterhouse shows up out of nowhere to whisk our heroes away to have the villain of the film tell them what to do next. I guess all you have to do to be a detective in Ryme City is just...let the clues come to you...?

Also what's with Lt. Yoshida and the rest of the police force so casually writing off Tim's "well respected" father as dead despite the lack of a body? And with Greninja stars still at the scene of the accident?
 
Dr. Fuji?!
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
18,620
Reaction score
12,108
I've watched the movie. I think it was worth the $30+ I spent on the ticket and two rides. It's easy to be nitpicky, so I'll just note the good, netural and bad points that actually matter to me.

Good

1. The atmosphere and soundtrack are emotional/comical/intense when they need to be. This isn't easy to achieve.

2. Ryme City seems like a neat place to live in. I did not get tired of seeing the same 54 Pokemon at all.

3. Pikachu is a bundle of joy and the way he gradually wins over Tim is charming. I really like Psyduck, too.

4. A certain scene with Bulbasaur surprised me in a good way. It's powerful.

5. Cubone, Mr. Mime, Aipom, Charizard, Greninja and Torterra are memorable as foes (the first two are jokes, but still).
But Ditto unexpectedly steals the show as the real badass.

6. If there were any CGI hiccups, I certainly didn't notice them. The incorporation of Pokemon felt believable.

Neutral

1. Mewtwo is just a plot device. Couldn't they have fleshed upon its past just a bit? They did new things with it, though.

2. I don't have a real problem with any Pokemon design, but less fur (scales in some cases) would have helped. The unevolved Kanto starters and Cubone are close to perfect.

3. Lucy is just okay; she's rather neurotic and doesn't even interact with Psyduck all that much. At the same time, Tim relies on Pikachu to stand out, which isn't ideal.

4. There's a certain twist where the game villain turns out not to be the villain here. This is an improvement, but the new villain and his goal still leave a lot to be desired; more depth and fewer gimmicks would have done a lot of good. It makes sense that an old wheelchair-bound man would want to be Mewtwo (I guess most people would?), but why bother fusing people with their Pokemon? I know his reasoning, but it feels hollow with no backstory.

Bad

1. For a city that cherishes partnership rather than battling, Tim is the only one that shows a real bond with his Pokemon.
Except even that example doesn't count due to the ending.
The anime does a much better job in this department (not in all movies, though), and this needs to be addressed in future live action movies.

2. The trailers spoiled most scenes, really. If you haven't watched most of the trailers, you're in luck.

3. The last third or so was a little too hectic. It could have used 10-15 more minutes to let the audience and characters digest certain developments.
 
Last edited:
Lovely
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
14,336
Reaction score
3,867
Watched Detective Pikachu today. I wasn't expecting much because the CG pokemon were not appealing to me.

I did like the sci-fi vibe they created with the gritty city streets and the Japanese signs and the overall electro-atmosphere. The pokemon anime easter eggs and jokes were enjoyable.

The story was predictable, but it seemed just okay. They were dropping a lot of flags and hints here and there so that you kinda see what's going on near the final battle, but for a kids movie, I guess that's understandable.
I loved the ending sequence where every cast had their own illustration.

I'd rate this movie at 6/10. Just okay.



EDIT:
I do want to rewatch it - not because of the story - but because there's just so many references and easter eggs and jokes connected to the pokemon franchise (both game and anime) and it would be fun to pick them all out :)
 
Last edited:
I LOVE DIGIMON
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,164
Reaction score
3,576
In my area they played it a day early, for some reason. It wasn't amazing, but it was still really good! I was not disappointed. They also gave out free pokemon cards at the end:



Can honestly say it was an 8/10 for me, and I got teary eyes at the beginning seeing "real" pokemon.
 
Last edited:
I LOVE DIGIMON
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,164
Reaction score
3,576
I also saw it today because there was an early showing in the town next over.

It was pretty good, not amazing, but I'd give it an 8/10, personally. I'm easily pleased though.

A lot of the designs looked better than I thought they did originally in trailers/previews (especially Mewtwo). Ending was predictable, but that's fine.

The end credits were AWESOME with the RBY style graphics falling into a comic book style sort of thing.
I watched it with my mother and when there was a climate change joke she got kind of mad (she's a conservative climate change denier). But I thought it was kind of funny.
At the beginning, I wasn't sure about the acting but Ryan Reynolds really held the movie together.
The whole thing about combining people and pokemon was really freaky. It was kinda disturbing thinking about what happens to the pokemon itself - does its consciousness just disappear/get overridden?

edit: sorry for similar double post. one of my posts was moved from another thread to this one
 
Last edited:
Dr. Fuji?!
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Messages
18,620
Reaction score
12,108
does its consciousness just disappear/get overridden?
Based on Mewtwo, I'd say so. But then Harry was much more upbeat as Pikachu then as himself, so I guess it depends on the bond or lack thereof; you could also argue that Mewtwo's past self was triggered. The only movie I know with a similar plot device is Get Out, and that was genuinely creepy.

Here is a quote from an interview that bothers me:

When asked if there was a Pokémon anime within the world of Detective Pikachu, the writers noted that "the deep history of this world is present in the world of Detective Pikachu," pointing to the fact that the film's Mewtwo is the same one that escaped in the events of the first Pokémon movie, which was released 20 years ago.

"It's all connected, it's all a part of the greater Pokémon universe," Samit teased.
This also explains why they refer to Mewtwo being created from a Mew fossil (although a more accurate reference would be an eyelash fossil). The problem? For one thing, Mewtwo refers to Tim and Harry as the first good guys he knows, as if Ash never existed. It also has two voice actors (a guy and a woman, although I didn't really notice the latter), and none of them is Masachika Ichimura in the Japanese dub. Lastly, there is a rumored Red/Blue adaptation in the works, as part of the same cinematic universe. Did they not consider that when they wrote the Detective Pikachu script? Oh well, I guess aside from the fossil thing the movie itself is very vague about Mewtwo's origin. It's funny how they cared more about continuity with a seemingly different universe than the anime movies reference each other, particularly the Mewtwo debacle in Movie 16.
 
Last edited:
I LOVE DIGIMON
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,164
Reaction score
3,576
Based on Mewtwo, I'd say so. But then Harry was much more upbeat as Pikachu then as himself, so I guess it depends on the bond or lack thereof.; you could also argue that Mewtwo's past self was triggered. The only movie I know with a similar plot device is Get Out, and that was genuinely creepy.

Here is a quote from an interview that bothers me:


This also explains why they refer to Mewtwo being created from a Mew fossil (although a more accurate reference would be an eyelash fossil). The problem? For one thing, Mewtwo refers to Tim and Harry as the first good guys he knows, as if Ash never existed. It also has two voice actors (a guy and a woman, although I didn't really notice the latter), and none of them is Masachika Ichimura in the Japanese dub. Lastly, there is a rumored Red/Blue adaptation in the works, as part of the same cinematic universe. Did they not consider that when they wrote the Detective Pikachu script? Oh well, I guess aside from the fossil thing the movie itself is very vague about Mewtwo's origin. It's funny how they cared more about continuity with a seemingly different universe than the anime movies reference each other, particularly the Mewtwo debacle in Movie 16.
I personally thought that
the anime is fiction in the detective pikachu world, since pikachu sings the theme song at one point
this would make it still connected even if it's not the same canon. Though
the mewtwo thing is strange and this would imply that the anime either did not feature mewtwo in this reality or that the mewtwo movie was inspired by the true events of mewtwo's creation and escape, but the real events not including meeting an ash-like character.
I'm really just spitballing here though.
 
Top