Much like the last time the Editor bought a round of drinks we thought that Pokemon had been long forgotten but Pokemon Go proved hugely popular with its catch phrase, ‘Gotta catch em all’, being at the fore front of Jimmy Saville’s mind whenever he was visiting a children’s home. But now after the spectacularly cheap looking Pokemon animated films from the late 90’s Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a marked step up.
Set in modern day America where everyone seems to have their own pokemon who shadows their owners like a pet. One of the few people who doesn’t have one is is Tim (Justice Smith). It’s only when he visits the flat of his missing, presumed dead, Uncle that he encounters Detective Pikachu, a doe eyed yellow ball of fluff that is voiced by Ryan Reynolds in typical sassy smart arsed quip cracking style that proves a little jarring at first but soon settles down. Wearing a deerstalker hat it turns out Detective Pikachu was Tim’s Uncles personal pokemon and together they set off to find out what’s happened to him. So what initially seems to be a kids family film becomes something of a film noir albeit unfortunately its only briefly.
Into this is thrown Lucy (Kathryn Newton) as a junior journalist who is actually an intern keen to land a scoop that she can Impress the CEO of the new channel CNM in by a typically avaricious Roger Clifford (Chris Geere) who has taken the reins of the company sinve his benevolent Dad, Howard (Bill Nighy) retired from the company to find a cure for his illness. Howard has also created a pokemon friendly city where man and pokemon can live in perfect harmony. From the moment that a corporation is introduced you know who the bad guy is going to be and right from the opening scene where a giant malevolent genetically engineered pokemon escapes wreaking havoc you know the corporation is up to something.
Director Ron Letterman has created a pokemon world with a level of photorealism that’s wholly believable and invests it with a level of believability that will please fans though the script is over egging it somewhat when someone spouts that Pokemon ‘brings out the best in us’ as opposed to ‘Pokemon gets kids to pander to a captitalist craze urging them to part with their pocket money’. Detective Pikachu is endearing enough though many of the lines are lost with Reynolds rapid fire delivery a la Deadpool and the first half of the film is good before it ultimately becomes formulaic good guys v bad guys in a typically bombastic CGI driven finale. It’s a shame because though there are some funny lines and the most inspired scene is the interrogation of a pokemon mime artist the script could have benefitted from more laugh out loud lines which four credited scriptwriters should have come up with.
For fans of the games Detective Pikachu will undoubtedly please and whilst the film easily pulls you into its world its plot is wafer thin.
Here’s the Detective Pikachu trailer……