I don’t normally review films, I just take them for face value and move on. But this was a special film for me. I can remember when I was young, talking to friends and wondering just how Pokemon would look if they were real, I’m pretty sure I used about thirteen birthday wishes trying to make that a reality.
The film is great and enjoyable for new and old fans of Pokemon, it introduces characters well and is easy to follow. The action scenes are great and (especially for old fans) the Pokemon look fantastic, they act like you’d imagine them and the writers have clearly done everything with the source material to make sure they get it right. We see businesses named after pokemon and used by pokemon, we see throwbacks to the games and also nods to the anime series. For newcomers to the series, it warmly introduces Pokemon to the fans, not shying away from them but embracing that they are a key element to the series. The story, as stated, is easy to follow with some twists, happy moments and sad moments to keep you engaged. The acting is good and Ryan Reynalds humour will be funny to both kids and adults, there is some dark humour that will float over children’s heads.
I would recommend this film to anyone, young or old, new or even veterans to the series. They put the time in to make sure it was tight and there is a stream of action that will keep you engaged throughout the film.
This Will Be Spoiler Heavy beyond with point; You Have Been Warned.
Since Pokemon are not real, I guess I will settle for Ryan Reynolds voice acting Pikachu… that is a weird sentence. But, he actually does an amazing job, it’s funny and also brings in a little adult humour that would be lost on the children. Reynolds voice acting brought the humour to the story, but the story was… well kinda as I expected, there are a few holes that irritated me, but all-in-all it was an enjoyable experience.
Before the story, I want to just mention the pokemon. They absolutely nailed it! Each pokemon made sense and fitted into their natural habitat. Ryme city was an incredible place, pokemon were no longer subjected to battling and could be treated as equal. I enjoy the Pokemon games, but they are actually brutal in concept, capture cute animals to force them to beat each other up… weird. But Ryme city as a concept was interesting, the poster that was put out showed the city and there are many references to pokemon throughout the image.
This is not the only place within the movie that they have paid close attention to detail, throughout the movie they try to stay as close to the pokemon lore as possible, whilst bringing it to real life. More notably was the Cubone scene at the beginning of the film, where Tim’s friend finds a Cubone and states something along the lines of, it was a full moon last night and this little guys been crying since. Taking a Pokedex entry from the Pokemon Alpha Saphire and Omega Ruby games it states;
“Cubone pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on the skull the Pokémon wears are made by the tears it sheds.” – Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Pokedex Entry.
It’s the little things that make me happy… Not that a Cubone crying for its dead mother makes me happy but… well you get the picture.
Another interesting thing that they did was mention that Mewtwo broke out from the lab in Kanto twenty years ago. The first movie was released twenty years ago, a little nod to the people who’ve watched the first movie.
Also, in the scene where Tim and Pikachu visit the underground battling arena, we see a Gengar and a Blastoise fighting. Gengar uses double team which creates a clone of itself to distract its opponent. Blastoise uses a combination of rapid spin and water gun to destroy each of the clones of Gengar. I liked this scene because it showed how natural the fighting was to these creatures, my own problem with the anime is that the battles are always one-sided until Ash figures out how to win. There’s no learning curve, they’ve been battling for some time presumably because they are fully evolved Pokemon, they have some idea how to deal with difficult situations. Blastoise knows to hit all targets quickly, Whereas in the anime it would be Ash just saying “Be Careful!” and Pikachu or whoever still ends up getting hit because after experiencing double team a thousand times they still don’t know how to counter it…
The story follows Tim and Pikachu as they search for Mewtwo to find out what has happened to Tim’s father, they meet Lucy and her Psyduck on the way. The investigation leads them to a chemical called R, maybe a nod to team rocket? We eventually find out is used by Howard Clifford to drive pokemon crazy. This allows Mewtwo to merge souls of humans and pokemon, Howard’s plan is to merge with Mewtwo and then merge all people with pokemon as a better means of evolution.
Howard’s plan doesn’t even seem to be too far-fetched for me, simply because I’ve played the games and watched the anime. The plans that the evil teams cook up in the games are just as crazy, some want to evaporate the sea others want the world to just be the sea… They have crazy plans… so I could be a little forgiving on this one.
The Characters within the film were okay, Tim and Pikachu being the main characters, they were amazing and we develop emotional ties to them quickly. The acting was great too, I didn’t find that any of the actors took me out of the film or had a bad performance. I found the idea that Tim hates pokemon because of his father rather interesting after his mother dies his father heads to the city to work as a detective with his partner pokemon. What I found interesting was that he projected the anger he felt towards his father onto pokemon. Now I imagine just like in our world with animals, in a world full of pokemon there are going to be a few people who dislike them. But rather than him being attacked, as we see with Lillie’s arc in the current Pokemon Sun & Moon series, he has personal reasons for his dislike of them. Misplaced yes, but interestingly realistic, children and adults have a tendency to project their emotions onto things that may not be the direct cause of the negative emotions.
Mewtwo is my big complaint about this movie. Let’s get this out of the way first, Mewtwo was incredible, powerful as always and works well as a villain. There is a scene in which Metwo is captured in a capsule of some kind and it is very reminiscent of the first Pokemon movie, in which Mewtwo is created. I loved before Mewtwo breaks out it says “They are outside”, which after the ending we know is referring to the Greninja, it really reminded me of the “This cannot be my destiny” Monologue before it destroys the lab in the Kanto region.
So, what irritated me about Mewtwo? after Howard fails and is separated from Mewtwo, it decides that it now knows that all humans are not bad. Which wasn’t that the entire point of the first pokemon movie? Mewtwo knows that some people are evil and some are good, so why does it need reminding? they confirm that the past movie happened with stating where Mewtwo was created, so surely this is a lesson Mewtwo does not need? That really confused me, but I suppose that’s me being a little picky. After deciding that the human race wasn’t so bad, Mewtwo undoes all the actions of Howard, with one wave of his hands. There was no consequence, Howard’s business stays the same, his son takes over and I guess they all live happily ever after? I know it’s a children’s film, but come on, there has to be some consequence, right?
But overall, my final verdict of the film is that it was actually great, allowing Ryan Reynolds to act in a goofy and silly way really amplified his personality, as we’ve seen with Deadpool, silly suits him. Justice Smith (Tim Goodman) and Kathryn Newton (Lucy Stevens) also both play their roles really well and I liked that Kathryn wore very different clothing, I think it pays homage to the weird outfits in the games that the trainers and evil teams wear.
Detective Pikachu is a fun experience and whether you’ve caught them all before or never picked up a Pokeball, it is well worth the watch. Hope you’ve enjoyed my rambling and I’d be really interested to see how you felt about the film!