Another Look At Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu

By Megan Williams.

I’ve been a Pokemon fan since I was six years old. I collected the cards and played the games, and have followed the franchise ever since its creation in 1997. However, the release of the Nintendo 3DS game ‘Detective Pikachu’ baffled me. The game is unique to the Pokemon franchise in that it is a mystery solving experience.

As well as this, the main character, Tim Goodman, interacts with a talking Pikachu that sounds extremely similar to Danny Devito. Out of all of the games in the franchise, this is the one that was least expected to be adapted for the big screen. And yet, ‘Pokemon: Detective Pikachu’ was released in cinemas on the 10th May 2019.

‘Pokemon: Detective Pikachu’ is a live-action/CGI adaptation starring Justice Smith and Ryan Reynolds. After a car accident causes Detective Harry Goodman’s supposed death, his son Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) travels to Rhyme City, a place where humans and Pokemon work together in peace. Once there, he discovers that his father might actually be alive, so decides to uncover the truth, with the help of Harry’s Pokemon partner Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). 

I am pleased to announce that the curse of bad video game-film adaptations has been lifted. While Ryan Reynolds carries the film as a witty but charming talking Pikachu, Justice Smith is also fantastic as a lead character, and they work off each other extremely well. I look forward to seeing Justice Smith in more films, and I hope he gains more lead roles from this point onwards. Ryan Reynolds should also pursue more voice acting roles; while it’s a strange casting choice, it’s a choice that works due to the narrative, and the craziness of the whole film. 

As a child, I never thought Pokemon would be brought to the ‘real world’, or at least a recreation of the real world. However, the incredible CGI and visual effects have brought them to life in a way fans have never seen before. The film has chosen to keep their iconic appearances from the animated show, and placed them in the real world, rather than giving them a more realistic look.

The former is a much better, and obvious, decision. The world-building is amazing; even if Pokemon weren’t featured, this would still be an enjoyable experience. The Pokemon aren’t always put in the limelight; they just happen to inhabit the same space as humans. ‘Detective Pikachu’ opens up the possibility of more Pokemon films like this, which is an extremely exciting thought for fans of the franchise. 

The musical score, by Henry Jackman (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Ant-Man, X-Men: First Class), is also fantastic and helps bring this new world to life. The mixture of orchestral and 8-bit style sounds demonstrates that, while the franchise has grown and evolved, it hasn’t forgotten its Gameboy Colour origins. And, if moviegoers weren’t convinced by that, then ‘Detective Pikachu’ also features the original TV show theme tune, and the main menu music from the original games. While ‘Detective Pikachu’ shows us new Pokemon, it hasn’t left fans of the original Pokemon media behind.

Overall, ‘Detective Pikachu’ is charming, funny and a lot of fun. The two lead actors work extremely well together, and the visuals are incredible. This will appeal to both long-time fans of the franchise, as well as those who are just starting to show an interest in the world-wide phenomenon. After seeing this film, I am really looking forward to the future of Pokemon films.


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