Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

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Pokemon figurines were my star chart rewards growing up. In primary school I had a friendship based purely around the fact that she had the Pokemon game on her PC – and I did not. I traded the cards, I had my figurines stolen by dick kids in my class, I had a talking Pikachu toy that was basically like a child to me….Pokemon raised me (lol just kidding Mum and Dad). I am Pokemon.

As my parents never bought my brother and I Nintendos (we had game masters that they found in the trash outside Dick Smith – please do google), I didn’t get to play all the games until College! It was in biology, with my friend Renji, that a new and beautiful world was revealed to me. Upon learning I had never played anything beyond the original Pokemon game on a PC emulator, Renji sold me his Gameboy colour and entire Pokemon game collection for $2. I don’t think I ever told Renji what a life-changer that moment was. That was it. I was hooked. I chose my life partner because he was on the road to catching EVERY POKEMON. This involved visiting special release events filled with children and buying a Nintendo Wii to catch a Pokemon you could only get via a Wii game. But… he did it. I married that man as quick as I could. I am a well rounded and emotionally balanced individual. FYI.

Yes, I dressed up as Nurse Joy for the screening! NO REGRETS! Photo cred: That Guy Xenojay

This brings me to Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. At first I was pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. I wasn’t aware of many successful games-turned-live-action-movies and it was hard for me to imagine it going very well. After hearing about Ryan Reynold’s involvement and seeing the first trailer – I was sold. When Pretty Much Geeks received an invitation to the preview screening I emailed Jaz and Di challenging them to try and take the invite from me (WHO DARES CLAIM TO BE A BIGGER FAN THAN I). I then realised I had a family member’s baby shower at the exact same time…so reluctantly handed the tickets over to Jaz and Di… only to have the baby shower shifted to a different weekend! All-In-All to say, I destroyed my friendships getting those tickets back… and it was well worth it (they actually gave the tickets over willingly and I am eternally grateful). I’m sorry, is this a review or a Saskia journal entry?

Detective Pikachu follows Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a disillusioned young adult who once dreamed of becoming a Pokemon trainer. When his Detective father’s disappearance brings him to Ryme City, a massive metropolis where humans and Pokemon live and work together in harmony, he must team up with his father’s sidekick – a sassy, wise-cracking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) to solve the case!

As the movie takes place in a setting which is unfamiliar to your standard Pokemon fan, a city where Pokemon trainers are not welcomed and all Pokemon roam freely, you’re not hit with as much nostalgia as I was expecting! I mean, they definitely chuck in a few throwbacks and all your fav Pokemon are there looking all real and stuff, but it’s made very clear that this is a whole new world (can you tell I’m ready for Aladdin to come out already). If they do a sequel, they’ve lined things up pretty perfectly for the characters to visit the old and familiar regions! After seeing what they’ve done so far, with Detective Pikachu, I am definitely excited to see that happen.

As I’m sure you already know, Ryan Reynolds is flawless. He’s possibly a little TOO good for Detective Pikachu, though. He gives life to such a spunky, loving and personality-filled Pikachu, that everyone else seems pretty wooden in comparison. Justice Smith started pretty strong, but couldn’t really hold his own next to Reynolds. Kathryn Newton plays, Lucy Stevens. an over-enthusiastic newsroom intern. At first she had the kind of over-the-top lines that you’d expect from the random trainers you encounter while wandering the pathways in the Pokemon games (which I was on board with)… but once the movie really got underway I had no idea what they were going for with her character. She didn’t really have emotional range of any kind and was ultimately quite forgettable once she had served her plot purpose. Bill Nighy is a fantastic person, so even though his character wasn’t anything tooooo amazing, he still stole every scene *heart eyes*. Ken Watanabe makes a great Lieutenant and other than Pikachu, delivered the best heart-string tugs in the film.

While the actors/characters are probably the weakest part of Detective Pikachu (except for Ryan Reynolds), the story is surprisingly decent. I was intrigued the whole time and even though some of the major plot points don’t come as any surprise… several do! It was also just really nice to sit down and enjoy a family flick without anything edgy being chucked in there. No injuries are shown, potentially scary moments are often soon followed by comedy and even though it tackles some serious stuff, it is ultimately a movie that leaves you feeling great.

The world of Detective Pikachu is what really got me, though.  A flock of wild Pidgeot soar overhead while a herd of Bouffalant play and graze in a meadow below. Replacing all animals we encounter on a daily basis with their Pokemon equivalent is probably exactly what you were expecting – but it’s just done so well. The visual effects are spot-on. Getting to see the Pokemon we know and love interacting with live-action humans and it ACTUALLY LOOKING PLAUSIBLE is an experience in and of itself! There were so many moments throughout the film where I found myself getting all emotionally worked up purely because a Pokemon I’ve loved for years was being so well represented in a particular scene. Also, you get to see a Lickitung slap a lady in the face with it’s tongue. You get your money’s worth right there.

SO! You just want to know if Pokemon: Detective Pikachu sucked or not, right!? Well as my husband said as we left the movie: “I can’t believe they’ve done it. They’ve made a good Pokemon movie!” Amen husband. Amen.  If you’re a Pokemon fan, get yo butt to the cinema ASAP, but don’t expect a nostalgia bomb. If you have yet to experience the world of Pokemon, this might just make you a Poke-convert!




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