“Detective Pikachu” was directed by Rob Letterman and is based on both the “Pokémon” animated series created by Satoshi Tajiri as well as the 2016 video game of same name. This being the first live action Pokémon film, the cast includes Ryan Reynolds as both live & voice over animated and motion capture while Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Chris Greere, Ken Watanabe & Bill Nighy all play live actors.
Following the death of his father, Tim Goodman (Smith) heads to the Rhyne City , a metropolis where humans & Pokémon live among each other, to collect the belongings left behind. Tim’s father was a detective and was last seen on a case involving some alleged illegal experiments going on at a corporation, led by Howard Clifford (Nighy) and his son, Roger (Greere). All seemed to be normal until a talking Pikachu (Reynolds) finds Tim and the 2 began finish where Tim’s father left off. With the help of young intern (Newton), they uncover a well thought out plan involving a terrible serum that could bring about the end of not just Rhyne City but all the Pokémon in the world.
The Pokemon series has always been one of the popular mangas of all time and had tremendous success from their animated series, films & video game adaptations but they hadn’t yet made the transition into live action motion picture. This a huge step in the right direction and can put the Pokémon on par for its own live action movie. The chemistry between Ryan Reynolds & Justice Smith is really what carries the movie. Acting almost as a buddy cop comedy, these 2 have the charisma that made it work. The look of the Pokémon is great and really gives them their characteristics that makes stand out individually. Where the film falls apart however, is the story. The cliche of fallen agent who has his last mission carried by his next of kin or partner has been done many times. “Spy Kids 3” & “Tomb Raider” have similar plot lines while it also resembles other murder mysteries like “Brick Mansions” & “I, Robot”. The human characters were solid but it’s look & feel of this Pokémon universe that make this movie appealing & entertaining.
Overall, this is visually entertaining film with a great lead performance and chemistry but tells a very moderate & cliche storyline that has been many times. Nostalgia is a big factor in this film and very fan service which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but when it only appeals to fans of the TV show, it makes average movie goers uninterested.