HOLLYWOOD—There are those films made to appeal to all, and then you have those flicks that tend to have a specific audience they attempt to target. I’m not a major fan of such films because I believe true cinema can appeal to anyone, it just depends on how the script and characters are written and depicted rather that success is achieved.
I know all too well about the world of Pokémon because my little brother was engrossed with the animated characters growing up. He loved the TV show and he and his pals battled with Pokémon trading cards all the time. So for me, I was fairly versed in Pokémon dialogue and the variety of characters watching this movie, but if you’re not a fan that is going to hurt you in the long run.
That is a question that is imperative: do you need to be educated on Pokémon to be fully invested in this movie. The answer is yes. If you don’t you’re going to have a problem making sense of things transpiring in the live-action version of the flick. Note: there has been several animated Pokémon movies that were released in the early 00s. I found myself comparing this flick to the recent film “The Happytime Murders” starring Melissa McCarthy and some foul-mouthed puppets.
No, “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” does not have that level of crudeness as that movie, but it meshes to universes that should never be together: humans with Pokémon. These characters with superpowers live amongst humans in a subdued world where Pokémon are not allowed to battle. The element of the flick that works so well is the mystery, hence the name ‘Detective’ because it is indeed a mystery that kicks off the film and ends with a big revelation and slight twist.
Our film follows Tim (Justice Smith), a former Pokémon trainer, who has taken a back seat to his job after the death of his mother and sudden disappearance and death of his father, Harry. This pushes the narrative forward when Tim stumbles upon a Pikachu, a small kitten-like creature who has the power of electricity and is voiced by actor Ryan Reynolds.
Reynolds really is the star of the flick, not only voicing this iconic character, but providing the facial movements for the character as well. He brings a snarky element to this pint-sized superhero that works well, its teeters on being funny, but not pushing the boundary too far that it can’t appeal to kids and others. The big reveal is worth the wait considering the various twists and surprises that this mystery offers.
The biggest issue “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” suffers from is that if you are educated in the world of all things Pokémon, you will thoroughly enjoy this movie. However, if you don’t know too much about Pokémon, how they operate, their relevance, you might be fairly lost with this flick. You may enjoy it, but you will not appreciate it as much as fans of the characters.