MOVIE REVIEW: Pokemon Detective Pikachu

One News Page Staff Monday, 13 May 2019
MOVIE REVIEW: Pokemon Detective Pikachuby 👨‍💻 Graham Pierrepoint



Dir: Rob Letterman

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geere, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy

starstarstarstarstar    3.5 STARS (out of 5)

While it may only have been a matter of time before the Pokemon franchise finally claimed itself a live-action movie all of its own, it really has been a long time coming. It’s been over 20 years since the cute monster-catching videogame franchise first hit the Nintendo Gameboy, and with the hugely popular anime and scores of follow-up games continuing to rack up profitability for Nintendo, The Pokemon Company and Game Freak, there’s little wonder why Pikachu and friends have hardly been out of the public consciousness.

But how does a series like Pokemon translate to the big screen? The anime has, of course, seen its fair share of feature-length adaptations over the years. This time, however, we’re going live action, and the story and characters involved are loosely based on Pokemon spin-off game Detective Pikachu, strangely enough. This is a movie which has plenty riding on it – not just the interest and hopes of millions of ardent Pokemon fans, but also the fabled ‘videogame movie curse’. This refers to the fact that barely any movies based on videogames have worked well in practice. Here at One News Page, we rated Rampage and Angry Birds positively – but how does Detective Pikachu measure up?

In an alternative universe where Pokemon – strange creatures which can be caught, trained and befriended – exist alongside humankind, Tim (Smith) finds himself called to Ryme City, a locale where people and monsters co-exist peacefully. Almost everyone here – except Tim – has a Pokemon partner. Tim arrives in Ryme upon hearing that his estranged father, a local detective, has passed away. However, his passing occurred under suspicious circumstances – and Detective Goodman’s Pokemon partner, Detective Pikachu (Reynolds) is intent on finding out what happened. What’s more, Pikachu and Tim can understand each other – which proves to be very useful when it comes to solving a potential murder mystery!

Pokemon Detective Pikachu - Movie Review
Pokemon Detective Pikachu (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Firstly, the positives – it’s safe to say that Detective Pikachu is a curse-breaker. Visually, it’s incredible. It’s been floated for a long time as to how Pokemon could be portrayed alongside people on-screen, and the mixture of realism and cartoonishness really pulls off well. There are also plenty of recognisable creatures and characters for franchise buffs to get behind. The look of Pikachu himself is incredibly cute – and Reynolds does more than enough to really push the character to its fullest. He’s a wisecracking critter with incredible gusto.

The acting, too, is on point. Justice Smith is a very capable actor and it’ll be interesting to see where he heads to next – his partnership with Reynolds in the movie is, oddly enough, believable – they are a great fit for each other. Seeing Bill Nighy on-screen talking about Pokemon is something I never knew I wanted until now – and, as always, while he may not be flexing his biggest acting muscles here, he’s a joy to watch. The ensemble cast, too – while they don’t have too much to do – all fit together well.

Where the movie does fall down a little is the story. It’s a little bit of an odd fit for a film which is supposed to be introducing us to the world of Pokemon for the first time. An adaptation of the first game’s story, or even some of the anime, may have been a better route to take. In any case, while the story is pleasing enough and has plenty of twists, it’s simply not original enough – and it is very predictable, even for younger viewers. As such, the movie does rather rest on the laurels of spectacle for most of the runtime. All things considered, you could probably sneak in any plot beneath these cute critters and get away with it!

It also feels a little too short – the perfect Pokemon movie should be one which focuses a little more on the wider world of creature catching and training – and while Detective Pikachu does well to put its choice of story across, it all feels a little bit haphazard. For many viewers, it may feel to be over far too soon – for many parents, however, it probably can’t be over and done with soon enough! It’s certainly manic and has an incredible amount of energy and optimism behind it. What’s more, it does stick to the core of the franchise’s principles and themes and doesn’t make any glaring changes or omissions which fans would seriously gripe about.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu - Official Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Detective Pikachu is a pleasing movie which is possibly the best videogame movie adaptation released in the past 30 years (if you discount Street Fighter on being so bad it’s good). That being said, there’s room for improvement – and I’d generally recommend this only to die hard fans of the franchise. With Nintendo quietly working with Illumination Studios on bringing Super Mario Bros back to the big screen, could we be seeing a wave of new videogame movies released for theatres in the years to come? Are we ready for a Nintendo Cinematic Universe?


You Might Like

💡 One News Page Knowledge: Other News Mentions

Nintendo Nintendo Japanese video game company

The DS was Nintendo at its best and weirdest

Nintendo has always been a strange company. The Kyoto-based game maker turned an Italian plumber into one of pop culture’s biggest icons, and the company has..
The Verge

Nintendo has discontinued the 3DS

Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge

Nintendo has discontinued every model of the 3DS, according to its Japanese website. The page listings for the New 3DS..

The Verge
'Animal Crossing' helps put Nintendo on a roll [Video]

'Animal Crossing' helps put Nintendo on a roll

Nintendo says subscriber numbers for its Switch Online service are booming, in large part thanks to the success of family-friendly game 'Animal Crossing'. Julian Satterthwaite reports.

Credit: Reuters Studio    Duration: 01:12Published

Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a wonderful history lesson

At their core, 3D Super Mario games are all about the same thing: collecting shiny things. It could be stars, or moons, or whatever “shines” are. Sure,..
The Verge

This is Why Mario is a Plumber, According to Shigeru Miyamoto

Nintendo's plans for this year may have been scuppered thanks to the...

Suki Waterhouse Suki Waterhouse English actress

Robert Pattinson COVID Recovery: Making Out With Suki Waterhouse [Video]

Robert Pattinson COVID Recovery: Making Out With Suki Waterhouse

Looks like Robert Pattinson has recovered from coronavirus. The Batman actor was photographed making out with his girlfriend Suki Waterhouse in a London park on Wednesday. Perhaps fighting off a deadly disease made R.Patz a little less shy about showing his love for Waterhouse in front of photographers. The diagnosis caused production on The Batman, which had just resumed, to be "temporarily paused" on September 3, according to a statement Warner Bros provided to CBS News.

Credit: Wochit News    Duration: 00:32Published

Warner Bros. Warner Bros. American entertainment company

Warner Bros. reassures fans that J.K. Rowling isn’t directly involved with new Harry Potter game

Photo by Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Warner Bros., the studio that’s behind the latest Harry Potter video game title — Hogwarts Legacy, which will..

The Verge
Wonder Woman 1984 Pushed Again [Video]

Wonder Woman 1984 Pushed Again

Wonder Woman 1984 won’t be flying into theaters anytime soon. Warner Bros. has announced that the latest DC superhero flick has been delayed again, this time set to come out in late December. As reported by Variety and Deadline, Wonder Woman 1984 has been moved from its previous release date of October 2 and will now come out on December 25—more than a year after its original release date.

Credit: Wochit News    Duration: 00:32Published

Wonder Woman 1984 delayed again, this time to Christmas

Warner Bros. has delayed Wonder Woman 1984 once again, moving Patty Jenkins’ sequel to December 25th, according to Variety.

“Patty is an..

The Verge
Ellen's Talk Show Sets Return Date [Video]

Ellen's Talk Show Sets Return Date

"The Ellen Show" will return to the airwaves on September 21st, 2020. Tiffany Haddish is set to help DeGeneres kick off the new season. The show will be filmed in-studio on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles but not in front of an audience, the studio said in a release. CNN reports that other premiere week guests will include Kerry Washington, Alec Baldwin and Chrissy Teigen. Ellen and her show have been under fire for creating a toxic work environment.

Credit: Wochit News    Duration: 00:32Published

Tweets about this


Mike Can Harry Potter magic tourists back to Japan? #news #feedly 2 hours ago


ALVA RT @SarahRoots: So excited for our new project in Tokyo! exciting news looking into the future during these difficult times. BBC News - Ca… 3 hours ago


@EbruTVKenya Can Harry Potter magic tourists back to Japan? 8 hours ago


ponta_fujii Can Harry Potter magic tourists back to Japan? 12 hours ago


Harry Spotter Can Harry Potter magic tourists back to Japan? #harrypotter 12 hours ago


Sarah Roots So excited for our new project in Tokyo! exciting news looking into the future during these difficult times. BBC N… 15 hours ago


Daily-Sun Can Harry Potter magic tourists back to Japan?-500386 17 hours ago

CarHireUKdotco Japan hopes to magic back tourists with Harry Potter attraction 18 hours ago

•More original news reports from One News Page