If you’re looking for a good dose of nostalgia and cuddly fun, along with a beautiful message of love and heart then Pokémon Detective Pikachu is the film you need to line up for immediately.
In the Pokémon universe, Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is a failed Pokémon Trainer and the son of prominent detective Harry Goodman. When his father disappears in a car crash, Tim arrives in Ryme City and ends up meeting Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) who was Harry’s former Pokémon partner. Tim is somehow able to understand the Detective and they reluctantly team up to find Harry and uncover the mystery surrounding his disappearance.
Pokémon. It’s a media landscape that has touch all of our lives and now it comes to life on screen in an amazing piece of cinema that is packed out with incredible CGI visuals and plenty of heart and it’s just AWESOME! Director Rob Letterman really gets to the heart of why we love Pokémon so much here and he brings a strong sense of detail to the film and his breadth and command of world building narrative really makes for something impressive here.
Letterman also brings a strong relationship narrative to the film between our lead character Tim Goodman and Detective Pikachu and it’s interesting to watch these two characters grow and develop throughout the film. Letterman’s success with Detective Piukachu really boils down to his understanding that this film needs to be fun, and even though there are great scenes of danger and action he really takes it back to the idea of enjoyment and love, which is why many of us first fell in love with this world and its characters to begin with.
Anytime Ryan Reynolds returns with a new project I’m well excited and his performance here as the titular Detective Pikachu is pure comedic gold. Reynolds is the type of comedian who can just freestyle the hilarity and his unique handling of words and how they play into the situational comedy that he’s handling result in terrific hilarity. But along with the comedy that Reynolds brings to the film there is also the warmth and heart as well, and he brings a reassuring sense of calm as he looks out for Tim. Reynolds has played a large variety of very unique characters throughout his career, but they don’t come more cute, cuddly or comedic than Detective Pikachu and it’s a performance that will really get you going.
Joining Reynolds are newcomers Justice Smith as Tim Goodman and Kathryn Newton as Lucy Stevens. Smith’s Tim is young man who is lost in the world and doesn’t really have any plan for how he wants his life to unfold. That is until a sparky yellow Pikachu who likes coffee a bit too much suddenly shows up on his doorstep and drafts him into this adventure. Smith plays off Reynolds really well and their shared character arc has a lot of interesting development to it. Kathryn Newton’s Lucy on the other hand is an aspiring journalist who is on the track of a large Pokémon conspiracy and soon becomes embroiled in the adventure of Pikachu and Tim and with her own Psyduck beside her, this new team get up to plenty of amazing things together.
Lending the film a great gravitas of authority is Ken Watanabe as Detective Hideo Yoshida, a veteran police officer and Tim’s father’s supervisor who offers him plenty of guidance along the way. Watanabe’s zen cool gives the film plenty of balance and he has a real presence that gives our young heroes plenty of reassurance as they march off to uncover the vast conspiracy before them.
It also must be said that the CGI and visual effects of Pokémon Detective Pikachu are absolutely phenomenal. All of this converges in Rhyme City, a Pokémon/Human oasis where both species live in harmony together and it’s easy to get swept up into the visual splendour of the images that arrive before us. Mixed into this is also the incredible action that we’ve come to expect from Pokémon and the battles do get big, especially the raging showdown between Pikachu and Charizard and this cage fight gets EPIC pretty quickly. I also loved that Letterman also brings a strong ecological theme to the surface here as he looks into the relationship between humans and the world around us and my favourite scene in the film echoes this beautiful pilgrimage through nature between Tim and Pikachu that has the overlays of traditional Japanese shinto wrapped into it.
In terms of a viewing experience it simply doesn’t get more fun than Pokémon Detective Pikachu and this is a film that will really put a smile on your face! Pika Pika.
Image: Roadshow Films