The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for Review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
In 1995 a franchise known as Pocket Monsters came out. The monsters itself were called “Pokémon” It was a game boy game then a trading card game, then a cartoon, and now almost 25 years later its still a global phenomenon. I remember going into my local comic book store when the little stuffed animal came out. I saw a purple one with a hypnotic wheel on its stomach and thought it was cool. I bought it and put it in my Camaro. I have had a lot of cars since then and in fact just a few months ago bought a new Jeep Liberty. That same little guy sits on the dash of my new car, as he has all my past cars. He has been traveling with me for all these years and I never had a name for him. Well a few years ago my son started playing the Pokémon card game and informed my his name was “Pollywhirl” I may not know much about Pokémon but my son sure does. So because of him I learned to play the card game and watched countless hours of the cartoon show. So when it was announced that they were making a live action movie with Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, my sons favorite comic character) as the voice of Pikachu I knew I would be going to see it.
Detective Pikachu takes place in the Pokémon universe where humans and Pokémon co-exist. We meet Tim, he was a promising Pokémon player who after his mother passed away decided to grow up and become and insurance salesman. He father is a cop in Ryme City. See in Ryme City Pokémon live side by side with the humans, as opposed to the usual human trainer Pokémon fighter routine. One day Tim gets a call saying his father has been killed in a car accident. He travels to Ryme City but when he gets to his father old apartment he takes a face full of gas. This gas doesn’t hurt Tim, but it sure makes all the Pokémon in the area insane. It also gives Tim the ability to speak to, and understand the Pokémon’s language. He meets a yellow Pokémon named Pikachu that he is able to communicate with. It turns out Pikachu is a detective who was helping Tim’s father Harry on a case when Harry disappeared. I say disappeared as his body was never recovered, and Pikachu believes he’s still alive. Tim decides to help Pikachu investigate further.
Now one thing definitely standing in the team’s way is the fact Pikachu has amnesia. He only remembers a few choice things, one luckily enough are most of the details of the case. He and Harry were looking for a developer of “R-Gas”, the stuff Tim took a face full of. Turns out this gas will not only make Pokémon go nuts it will make them bigger, stronger, and more violent. Like a steroid gas for Pokémon. The two have help in the form of a reporter named Lucy Stevens, who also thinks Harry is still alive, and Howard Cliff, the man who created Ryme City. Throughout the film they will fight off and team with various Pokémon in the hopes of not only solving Harrys disappearance, stopping the R-Gas from infecting the city, and getting Pikachu his memory back.
If you love Pokémon then you will be in heaven. Charizard, Mewtwo, Psyduck, Greninja’s, and more. They look fantastic. Visually this is a stunning film. Every action sequence is beautiful. Ryan Reynolds does an amazing job as the voice of Pikachu. Using his trademark smart-ass tone and trademark sarcasm he really brings the character to life. Even though he is simply voicing a cgi character he is the scene steal and star of the movie. The film has the humor, the looks, and enough Pokémon to make any fan of the games happy. My son could not get enough of it. He’s already waiting for the inevitable sequel. It’s a stunning funny action packed film for Pokémon fans.
That unfortunately is the problem. If you play the games, and watch the cartoon your all set. You will know every backstory, every fact, every detail of the film will appeal to you. However if you don’t play or watch you will be utterly confused. I had no idea what the hell was going on with most of the characters. No one was slowly introduced. You are expected to know everything. This film entirely skips the origin story and just stars off like we have all grown up with Pokémon are entire lives and should know all about them. Now like I said if you did grow up and are a fan then this is definitely a crowd pleaser for you. I’m not saying it is fun to watch, as the collapsing forest scene alone is worth the view, you just wont “Get it” on a level that fans will.
As I stated the film looks fantastic and the Blu-ray transfer by Warner Brother only exemplifies this. The video and audio are great. The Pokémon look as colorful on the screen as they do in animated form. You can hear all there little voices and background noises perfectly. As I mentioned there is a scene in the film where the group is trying to escape a collapsing Poke-forest of some sort that is just breathtaking. It looks so great and the audio just bellows from the speakers.
Overall this is a fun movie that fans will love. If you have never seen it, or just don’t know every little thing about the Pokémon universe you will find yourself lost at times. Had it been done as an origin story I would have probably liked it better.
Overall 2.5 out of 5 Stars!