MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” stars Justice Smith (Paper Towns, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, Self/less), Kathryn Newton (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Big Little Lies [TV series]), Bill Nighy (About Time, Love Actually), Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Inception), and Chris Geere (You’re the Worst [TV series], Urge). It is directed by Rob Letterman (Goosebumps , Monsters vs. Aliens), who also wrote it with Dan Hernandez (The Tick [TV series], 1600 Penn [TV series]), Benji Samit (One Day at a Time [TV series], Super Fun Night [TV series]), and Derek Connolly (Jurassic World, Safety Not Guaranteed). After his father is murdered, Tim Goodman (Smith), along with his newfound friend Pikachu (Reynolds), follow a string of clues that uncover a bigger scheme than they could’ve ever imagined.
I remember the days in elementary school where Pokémon cards were like crack, with various snot-nosed kids wheeling and dealing the pieces of laminated paper like it was nobody’s business. My younger self wanted to join them, but alas I was never allowed to get Pokémon cards for reasons still unknown. Flash forward to now and I could care less. Yes, it’s not so much of an adult fanfare unless you grew obsessed with the little creatures who could be contained in a special ball, but the thing is, after elementary school I stopped caring. I don’t like Pokémon. Not the show, the cards, or the video games (unless you count the playable characters in Super Smash). So, what the heck was I doing going to “Detective Pikachu”? Well, my friends wanted to, and I wanted to kick back with them (one of which was one of my best buds, Vintage Bullet). It’s dangerous territory paying for a ticket to see a movie for a franchise you don’t like. I wanted to have an open-mind, no matter what. The trailers didn’t look terrible, and Ryan Reynolds has proven to be quite the talent given the subject matter. Him voicing Pikachu wasn’t necessarily my go-to (leave that to Danny DeVito), but at least you’re guaranteed an entertaining night. That is, if you like Pokémon. Boy, was this a snooze fest. I mean, there were some solid moments strung throughout the runtime, but overall the piece was just… meh. Here we have a world where Pokémon exist, leaving a lot of the visuals and flare up to the many species that roam about on the screen. I’m sure this is heaven for the fans, as the visual effects are actually good and don’t try to change their designs to make them uber realistic, yet garbage (cough cough “Sonic” cough cough). The visuals are honestly the best part of this experience. Alongside them lie some cool sequences that feature some battles with Pokémon as well as straight action chases. Not all are that amazing, mind you, but it has its moments. It’s just a shame that these good moments are few and far between for me. Really, I wasn’t that entertained by “Detective Pikachu.” If you were to strip away the Pokémon element and study it for its detective mystery, you’d find it to be dull. Our main character couldn’t be more one-dimensional, bending to whatever whim the writers force on him. One minute he hates his father, the other he loves him and wants to find out who murdered him. Another thing that flip-flops is the whole point of his father BEING dead. I couldn’t tell you how many times the confirmation of the dad’s life was switched. He’s dead, then he’s not, then he’s dead again. Give me a break. Honestly, for what it’s worth, the whole conflict at stake for the Pokémon was pretty fresh. I won’t give away spoilers, but the whole endgame to it all was interesting, albeit it was only implemented for about ten minutes. I’ve never watched anything of Pokémon, so it could’ve been done before, but as far as I know it was something unique. I just wish the investigation leading up to it was worth my money. Our whole journey impinges on the chemistry between Pikachu and Tim. While they may have their moments, I really only relied on Reynolds to keep the boat afloat with his remarks. For the most part they worked, but I don’t know. There just wasn’t anything to chew on for me, folks. For what it’s worth, it’s a decent flick all around for audiences. It has humor, a mystery, and Pokémon. If you aren’t a fan, you won’t really like the film. Plain and simple. But if you are a fan, you’ll get a kick out of it, or at least be entertained. The group I went with were made up of almost all Pokémon fans, and for the most part, they thought it was okay. No one thought it was amazing, so that gave me enough of a gauge with my review. It certainly isn’t a terrible movie, but at its core “Detective Pikachu” is just another throwaway feature in the theater. If you’re a fan, check it out. If not, see “John Wick: Chapter 3.” FINAL SCORE: 65%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: