Geek Review: Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

In the interest of full confessions, I am not now nor have I ever been much of a Pokemon fan.  The “gotta catch ’em all” catchphrase sounds like an unhealthy obsession, and then there’s the idea that the story involves having your pets fight other pets.  Sounded too much like dog-fighting to my tastes.  That and I may be a wee bit too old to have really gotten into it when it first hit the States, and even at the height of a certain smartphone game fad, it didn’t have much interest to me in large part because I lacked a smartphone back then.

Bonus points to Jimmy Impossible for actually suggesting I find a place where a lot of folks were playing the game and pretend to play with my flip phone.

But, I will admit that the new movie Pokemon: Detective Pikachu actually looked pretty interesting in the trailers.  So, here we are.

Insurance agent Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) gets some bad news:  his detective father Harry is missing and presumed dead in Ryme City.  Tim had dreams of being a Pokemon trainer in his youth, but those dreams fell by the wayside, and Ryme City was specifically built as a place for humans and Pokemon to live and work side-by-side.

Just out of curiosity, are there any non-Pokemon animals in this universe?  It sure didn’t look that way.

Anyway, Tim, the one person in the entire city without a Pokemon partner of some kind, soon comes across an amnesiac Pikachu in a deerstalker hat with the voice of Ryan Reynolds.  For some reason, Tim and Tim alone can understand what the Pikachu is actually saying.  And this Pikachu, who fancies himself a detective, believes that Harry may not be as dead as the police are claiming.  Harry and his Pokemon partner were onto something, something big.  Can Tim and Pikachu figure it out?

Now, I went in hoping I’d get something like a kid friendly Deadpool with Reynolds wisecracking his way through the movie, and indeed, there are many scenes of Pikachu cracking wise, but as the movie progresses, those scenes appear less and less.  I suspect had I been a Pokemon fan, this might have worked out better for me, but it is a fairly fun movie, very kid-friendly, and it probably won’t bother adults too much.  The Pokemon themselves, strewn throughout the movie, are actually rather impressive bits of special effects, looking both like real creatures and like their video game counterparts, and Ryme City–a place that seems to be a mishmash of many other, real-world cities that would be the result of deliberately engineering of a place for both humans and Pokemon–is rather impressive as a setting.  This one may be worth seeing for just the art direction, the special effects, and Reynolds’ voice.  But, again, it may work better for people who are actual Pokemon fans, and I am most assuredly not one.  7.5 out of 10 feelings in the jellies.

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