Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

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Pi-ka, Pi-ka.

Okay, Detective Pikachu was fine.  Thing is… it was not made for me.

This is a movie whose target audience was the Pokemon fans who have grown up with the “Gotta catch’em all” attitude.  Those people who know the difference between Bulbasaur and Charmander.  I have a passing knowledge of Pokemon which is to say, I know Pikachu, Charizard and that duck one.  I know the Weird Al polka song, Polkamon.  Other than that…

That does not mean this is a bad movie.  In fact, I liked it fine.  I just believe that people who know the franchise more would have enjoyed it more.

In Detective Pikachu, Tim (Justice Smith) comes back to Ryme City when he hears that his deadbeat father had died.  He meets up with his father’s Pokemon, Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) whom he could understand.  To the rest of the world, Pikachu could only say “Pi-ka, pi-ka” but Tim could hear everything he said.  The pair team up to try and discover the truth behind what happened to Tim’s father.

Of course, Pikachu has amnesia, which is one of the laziest contrived plot devices imaginable, and this one, when the truth does come out, makes even less sense.  The whole amnesia angle is a drag on the story.

The best part of the film is easily Ryan Reynolds.  He does a tremendous job of bringing Pikachu to life with his voice work.  He is funny and full of life and his connection with Tim was strong.

The story itself was decent too, as the whole thing had a noir feel to it.   There was a mystery to solve and, although they do not really let the audience play along, it was compelling enough.

Bill Nighy had an important role as one of the leading Pokemon supporters and a huge businessman.  It is always fun to see Ken Watanabe in a movie too.  Unfortunately, most of the movie’s other actors are, let’s say, average.

There is a funny scene with Pokemon Mr. Mime, which, unfortunately, had been spoiled by the trailers.  I think that could have been a laugh out loud moment in the movie if I had not already seen it a few months ago.

I was not much of a fan of the third act overall.  I can’t go into much detail about the parts I disliked without going into spoilers so I’ll just say that the third act had several things that I was not wild about.

Overall, the film was fine.  It was not as great as I had thought it might be, but I did not hate watching it.  Ryan Reynolds is all kinds of charming and is worth the price of admission alone.

3.2 stars

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