Movie Review – ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Let’s talk about ‘Pokémon’! Yes, I watched this as a kid in the late 1990s. I was around when the ‘Pokémon’ Game Boys happened as well as the trading card games. I saw the original anime TV show as a kid. I was there when the ‘Pokémon’ madness happened in late 1990s/early 2000s. Live with it! 😀

For those who have followed my blog, I have included photos of Pikachu from ‘Pokémon’ in my convention reports for ‘GEEKS Salisbury Comic Con’ in 2017 and the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ in 2018. I took a photo of a giant Pikachu in Salisbury and purchased an original Pikachu toy in Folkestone. With that said, I’m not what you would call a big avid ‘Pokémon’ fan. At least, not really.

‘Pokémon’ was around at the time of the late 1990s for me and I was beginning to come out of watching GMTV shows on Saturday and Bank Holiday mornings in the 1990s. I watched shows like ‘Power Rangers’, ‘Beetleborgs’ and ‘Beast Wars’. ‘Pokémon’ came in on TV a bit late for me as a kid.

I didn’t really get enthused with ‘Pokémon’ as a kid like many others did. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t into cartoons anymore and I wanted something more live-action or CGI by that point. I have kept a few ‘Pokémon’ memorabilia items over the years, including a Pikachu trading card that I still do like.

But I’ve never really followed it and it never caught on for me as a kid. I guessed it wouldn’t last long and how wrong I was as it’s still talked about today. There have been recent revivals and remakes of ‘Pokémon’ including new video games; anime TV shows and anime movies. Will all this ever stop? 😀

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, ‘Pokémon’ started out life as a Game Boy made in Japan before it became the trading card games and the anime TV shows. It’s this franchise about catching a collection of pocket monsters called Pokémon and training them in Pokémon battles.

‘Pokémon’ tends to be more kid-friendly and thus grown-ups wouldn’t take it to as kids. This I can appreciate as it did often tend to be goofy in certain places looking back from when I watched the 1990s anime episodes. It still holds certain nostalgia for me but it’s something I wouldn’t go back to.

I’ve wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about ‘Pokémon’ for some time now but could never find a way to express them. And thus here we are today as I’ve seen the latest live-action ‘Pokémon’ movie released at the cinemas called ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’. I honestly enjoyed this movie!

There have been movies made of ‘Pokémon’ over the years, but they’ve all been in anime form. I never saw ‘Pokémon: The First Movie’ at the cinema and all the films after that. This ‘Pokémon’ film raised my interest as it is the first live-action film and I wondered what it’d be like on the big screen.

I had my doubts mind since I saw the trailer for the movie and it featured a talking Pikachu which…I couldn’t see how this would work. Pikacku is mostly remembered for saying “Pika-Pika-Pika-Pikachu!” So to see Pikachu actually talking and speaking English in the trailer seemed disrespectful.

But after hearing positive things said about the movie in reviews, I was willing to give this film a chance and find out what it was like. So my best mate Stephen and I went to see the movie at the cinema. Stephen is more a ‘Pokémon’ fan than me. I could rely on him for any information I needed.

The film ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ is set in the ‘Pokémon’ universe of course. By the way, it is strange everyone in the ‘Pokémon’ universe is obsessed with catching Pokémon and training them when there are other things in life to do. Mind you, seeing the live-action film adds more reality. 😀

Anyway, the film focuses on Justice Smith as Tim Goodman (good reason why this film’s so good since the main character is called Tim! 😀 ) Anyway, Tim learns his father Harry died in a tragic car accident whilst investigating a case since his dad happens to be a private-eye detective in the movie.

But as the film progresses when Tim travels to the metropolis of Ryme City, he discovers that his father is not dead. With the help of a talking Pikachu, Tim tries to find out what actually happened on the night that his father got killed. He and Pikachu soon discover some terrible plot being unravelled.

I think it’s fair to say that Pikachu is my favourite Pokémon from the series. He’s pretty iconic as a character, hence why I’ve taken those photos of him at comic cons. This film is loosely based upon a 2016 video game called ‘Detective Pikachu’. It was released in Japan first before worldwide in 2018.

Since Pikachu can speak our language in this movie, he’s played both in voice and motion capture by Ryan Reynolds. Ryan Reynolds? I’ve heard that name before. Wait! He’s Deadpool in the ‘Deadpool’ movies! Wow! This movie got dodgy from what I’ve heard about the ‘Deadpool’ films. 😀

Actually, to be honest, I’ve not seen the ‘Deadpool’ movies, so I can’t really criticise Ryan Reynold’s performance based on those films. On the contrary, I found his voice for Detective Pikachu to be really good. I liked the balance of comedy and drama in Ryan’s performance as Pikachu throughout.

I enjoyed the interaction between Detective Pikachu and Tim Goodman in the film. I was intrigued about how Tim could understand what Pikachu was saying when he would normally say “Pikachu!” all the time. The film got interesting once the mystery of Howard Goodman’s ‘death’ was connected.

The film also features Kathryn Newton as Lucy Stevens, a junior news reporter who assists Tim in his investigation of his father’s death. Lucy has a Pokémon Psyduck with her. Remember Psyduck anyone? She’s not exactly a love interest for Tim, although Tim later on admits he is attracted to her.

There’s also Bill Nighy as Howard Clifford of Clifford Enterprises in the film. Wow! Bill Nighy is in a ‘Pokémon’ movie?! And a live-action one at that! I’ve heard Bill Nighy in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ radio series and I’ve seen him in films like ‘Stormbreaker’ and the ‘Dad’s Army’ 2016 movie. He was also in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘Vincent and the Doctor’. Amazing Bill Nighy is in a ‘Pokémon’ movie here.

There’s also Ken Watanabe as Detective Hideo Yoshida; Chris Greere as Roger Clifford, Howard Clifford’s son; Suki Waterhouse as Ms. Norman; Omar Chaparro as Sebastian; Rita Ora as Dr. Ann Laurent; Karan Soni as Jack, Tim’s friend and Josette Simon (who appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ audio episode ‘The Sontaran Ordeal’ with Paul McGann) as ‘Grams’, Tim’s grandmother in the movie.

There were a number of Pokémon characters I recognised in the film as well as Pikachu and Psyduck. There were Pokémon like a number of Bulbasaurs, Charmander as well as Charizard, Squirtle, Jigglypuff, Snubball, Ditto, Mr. Mime, Magikarp as well as Gyarados and some Pidgeot and Pidgettos.

I can’t say I recognised every Pokémon in the film as there were too many and my memories of ‘Pokémon’ these days are rather vague. I was pleased to see Mewtwo, the most powerful Pokémon ever created to appear in the film compared to not seeing him in ‘Pokémon: The First Movie’ before.

‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ has been worth watching at the cinema! I enjoyed the story and the character-driven plot featured in the film. This brought back nostalgia for me with ‘Pokémon’ as well as adding something new with live-action and a story about a young man who has a talking Pikachu help him to investigate the ‘death’ of his father. Even if you are not into ‘Pokémon’, you’ll enjoy this!

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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