Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)
May 12, 2019 4:49 PM - Subscribe

In a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.
posted by theodolite (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Took the kids to see this yesterday, we all enjoyed it. The special effects were very good, the "real life" pokemon looked fantastic I thought, and extreeeeeemely cute (my daughter shouted out at one point, unable to contain herself, "That's ADORABLE!").

I notice some critics saying the plot is not great. I mean... it's a pokemon movie, right? I wasn't expecting Double Indemnity and I thought as a vehicle for serving up a variety of poke-things, it was perfectly fine.

My favourite was Psyduck.
posted by smoke at 6:46 PM on May 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

Mark Kermode: "Actually not bad"
posted by Pendragon at 12:32 AM on May 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

This was about as good as you could hope from a live-action Pokemon film. I liked the idea that it was set in a region where making your cute friend/pet fight to the death fainting was illegal and instead Pokemon worked alongside humans (the Squirtles helping the firefighters was cute). It had enough Pokemon-specific humour (Mr Mime, Magikarp, etc) to amuse me (adult casual Pokemon fan) and more than enough general Pokemon stuff to amuse my kid (7yo serious Pokemon fan). The only weird bit was the mime-torture - like, the Mr Mime scenes were funny but then it goes way off the rails with the threat of burning alive?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:55 AM on May 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Five minutes in and my son put his head on my shoulder and fell asleep for the entire movie. I dozed of for a while too.

Look, if you aren't invested in Pokémon, then this movie is pretty boring.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 5:12 AM on May 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I took my 7yo and 3yo to see this - both of them are pretty big fans, especially the 7yo who is working her way through Alpha Sapphire right now. The 3yo has been in love with Pikachu since the moment she first laid eyes on the little mouse. Oh and also I have played almost every entry in the main series since Red and Blue.

It was really fun! Things slowed down a ton in the second half (also the half with a lot of abelist bullshit) but it was still fun. I liked seeing the world. It worked. I think this will be a great entry point to more movies that can be a little riskier and tell a story that is fun and engaging in its own right instead of relying on the trappings of the game.

I think it looks really beautiful. The Pokemon (with some exceptions) feel "real" like they have weight and physical presence in the world. I think it had a nice "noir but for kids" vibe that really worked for the first half.

Overall it's a solid 7.5/10 from me. Not a perfect movie, but ranges from "pretty fun" to "sort of serviceable" and doesn't ever tank completely like every other video game movie.
posted by Tevin at 6:30 AM on May 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

We took our 8 year old to see it, and it was a really enjoyable movie. His face when the "real" Pokemon were first on screen was pure awe. Psyduck was awesome.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 7:27 AM on May 13, 2019

I thought it was cute! (Bulbasaur was my favourite one.) I agree with 80 Cats in a Dog Suit: it's more fun if you at least like Pokémon. I don't think it's a great introduction to the universe for a newbie, but the games are much better at that in general.

The movie really does live on the strength of Ryan Reynolds' performance , but he's entertaining, so I'm OK with that.
posted by invokeuse at 7:42 AM on May 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

It mostly worked for us, middle aged man (Poke-Curious) and his soon to be 10 year old (Poke-Fan). It was visually more interesting then its narrative which to be honest was a bit hackneyed (but no worse then any large budgeted kid aimed film). I was slightly surprised that no one named their Pokemon in this world. Justice Smith is pretty good I thought. Ryan Reynolds is Ryan Reynolds. At a hour forty five minutes and that we got free Pokemon cards from the theatre, it was ultimately a win for us. A helpful 6 year old behind us said the name of every new Pokemon as they appeared on the screen (because there are some, for me, deep cut Pokemon I wasn't super familiar with like those acorn jellyfish things with the Bulbasaurs). Main negative for me was the absence of Alolan Dugtrio and Snorlax did not figure prominently in the narrative.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:00 AM on May 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I really liked this and now my 5-year-old is Pokemon obsessed but I thought the twist was really stupid.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:44 PM on May 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

I found this movie surprisingly enjoyable, until the twist at the end. I went with my husband who was a Poke-fan when he was small. I am Poke-Indifferent. However I do love Ryan Reynolds, detective stories, weird animals, and urban fantasy, so an hour and a half with a sparky-fuzzy, Deadpool-voiced, coffee-chugging hero was pleasant enough.
posted by esoterrica at 9:56 AM on May 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

It's such a cute movie and if there's one thing the movie got really right, it's incorporating Pokemon into the not-quite-real-world of Ryme City. It's actually a little bit disappointing how quickly the novelty of seeing realistic Pokemon everywhere wore off, so good was the movie at selling that illusion.

As far as everything else goes, it holds together alright as a movie but I found myself wishing for more. More emotional beats like Pikachu's pep talk to Tim (as I grow older I become more sentimental, so of course the talk about "if your dad were here he would hug you so hard your bones would crack" really got me). More fleshed out characters; somehow even Pikachu comes off as a bit thin, but Lucy really never gels and the way she's introduced doesn't help--is that bad acting or an intentional poke at her idea of what a tough-as-nails crack reporter would be like? Only later does it become clear that it's the latter.

But the biggest omission from the game the movie is loosely based on is very minor, but also fundamental. Pikachu can talk to other Pokemon. This is huge! Both Tim and Pikachu realize what a big deal this is. And in the games, you're constantly talking to Pokemon to gather clues and solve mysteries. They all have fun personalities and little quirks, and it really helps sell the idea of Pokemon living in the world alongside us. Imagine that Flintstones thing where the dinosaurs talk back to the audience every so often. That's what the game does all the time!

The movie does NONE of this, and it really feels like a missed opportunity. Imagine if more of the Pokemon in the movie felt like they had a personality like Psyduck's or Mr. Mime's. The only other Pokemon that gets a turn in the limelight is also easily the most surprising and delightful scene in the movie. There could've been more of this!
posted by chrominance at 9:34 PM on May 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

My almost 18 year old child, a Pokemon fan, loved this film. I, an adult not particularly Poke-invested, found it dull. Reynolds kept me from falling asleep, but that's it. Is there NOTHING that man can't make work? Oh yeah, Green Lantern.
posted by ubiquity at 7:39 PM on May 17, 2019

I kind of liked it and am now a PsyDuck fan. The "twist" was pretty evident early on in the movie and so it felt ham-handed when it was "revealed" but what do you expect with this kind of film, is what I told myself. The ending, though, was really confusing and had me wondering if some sort of time travel had occurred. Like, why was Tim's dad calling him "kid?" Given the alleged depth of his love and devotion, that didn't scan.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:53 PM on August 19, 2019

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