I never really ‘got’ Pokémon. I’ve never watched it, never read it, never had any interest in it whatsoever. I actually gave the game Pokémon Go a shot, as I was already a big fan of Niantic’s previous game, Ingress. But swiping balls randomly at floating animated creatures on the screen? Yeah, not really my idea of fun. So, why then would I go watch a Pokémon movie where, for some strange reason, Deadpool is voicing the lead character, a cute little fluffy Pikachu? Well, in the interests of providing balanced, impartial CineChat reviews that’s why. And, because my nephew asked me to take him…
I guess one of my concerns before heading in to see Detective Pikachu was how exactly the Pokémon we’re going to be portrayed. If this was going to be some kind of Smurfs or Alvin and the Chipmunks style movie, where over-the-top CGI characters are thrust upon the world of over-the-top human characters in some crazy adventure aimed at six year olds, then I wouldn’t be very happy. Thankfully, it turned out to be the compete opposite.
21 year old Tim receives news that his father, top detective Harry Goodman, has gone missing following a car accident, and is presumed dead. He travels to his father’s place of work – Ryme City, a modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live happily side by side – and joins forces with Harry’s Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu. Pikachu has amnesia, so can’t remember who he is, but feels he has to search for Harry due to the fact that his name is written in his hat. Tim discovers that he can understand what the wise cracking, cute little Pikachu is saying to him and they both set about trying to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Harry’s suspected death.
I was pretty impressed from the offset just how well this movie is presented. It’s set in a world where humans and these strange, wonderful creatures live alongside each other in harmony, yet the Pokémon are never really presented in that wacky manner that I described earlier with other CGI character movies. It’s extremely well done and feels both natural and believable. And because the focus of the movie is more on the story, and the mystery to be solved, rather than revelling in the fact that this is a live action Pokémon movie, it made it all the more enjoyable. This felt to me something more alike to ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. And I really liked it!
Better still, I rarely felt as though I needed any prior knowledge of Pokémon in order to appreciate and enjoy it. There’s a brief explainer near the beginning regarding the whole trainer/balls/battles concept, which didn’t make it any less ridiculous as far as I’m concerned, but that just didn’t matter as it wasn’t really necessary to the main plot. Having never experienced Pokémon in any other media form, I obviously can’t comment on how faithful this is to any of that, but as a family movie I’d say this is a pretty big hit.