For a lot of people who were kids in the 90s, watching Pokemon on morning kids TV was a staple part of the day, so the thought of bringing those character to life in a live-action movie is one that a lot of those fans will find tantalising. This may not be the story or the format that those fans thought it would be but those doubts disappear when you first see the usually 2D, traditionally animated Pokemon rendered in 3D with a very effective CGI conversion.
The world that is built works, even for those that are not Pokemon fans. A world where humans live alongside weird and wonderful creatures of all types is brought to life effectively, with just enough explanation for people new to the world while there is plenty of fan-service and nods for those die-hard fans as well.
All this gloss doesn’t hide the fact that the plot itself is fairly poor though. The title gives away that this is a mystery in need of a detective, with Justice Smith’s Tim Goodman trying to find his disappeared Father with the help of a Pikachu that sounds like Ryan Reynolds. So far, so good and it does start strongly, with some unique experiences with classic Pokemon like Mr Mime. However the cracks begin to show as the movie progresses and it is clear that this “investigation” is just a series of signposted directions that take our characters from A to B to C with little issue.
It is never boring, just not very imaginative considering the source material and the full potential this world has. There are some moments where this magic is realised and some great set-pieces involving Pokemon which fans and non-fans will be impressed by as this world is really brought to life.
It also helps that the titular Pikachu is voiced by Ryan Reynolds on full sarcastic, comedic and charming mode. He adds some great sparkle to the dialogue and some much needed laughs in places which makes the movie much more watchable.
This isn’t enough to save Detective Pikachu from feeling like a forgettable missed opportunity. There was a real chance here to bring the world of Pokemon to the live-action big screen and launch a great potential franchise but Detective Pikachu doesn’t feel like it has enough life to be that effective starting point.
Overall, Detective Pikachu will impress a lot of Pokemon fans with the way it brings this much-loved world to the big-screen. Ryan Reynolds adds some much needed light-relief while there are some amazing set-pieces. Unfortunately, the plot is shallow and dull and it never really feels like the great opportunity has been grasped fully here.
Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)
As always get in touch below with a comment but also like our page on Facebook (Views from the Sofa) or follow us on Twitter – @viewsfromsofa