‘Detective Pikachu’ brings Pokémon franchise to new audience

Parker Otto

After the release of “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” it’s safe to say that any film, no matter how ridiculous the premise, will be good as long as it has Ryan Reynolds. While many might shudder at the idea of a live-action Pokémon film, the creators of the film clearly have put effort into an adaptation of source material an average person would dismiss as “kid’s stuff” to create a film both long-time Pokémon fans and newcomers will be thoroughly entertained by.

“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” tells the story of Tim, played by Justice Smith, who has the ability to communicate with an electrical-manipulating Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds. The two team up to solve a mystery surrounding the disappearance of Tim’s father, a detective who was on the verge of discovering something of vast importance, only to uncover a gigantic conspiracy.

Most of what gives the film its charm is Reynold’s performance as Pikachu and the creature’s bond with Tim. Reynolds has the ability to blend sarcasm and quick wit to make the most average of jokes gut-bustingly hilarious. Smith also does fine and has a story arc that is convincing. The viewer will want to see him come out on top, but to be honest, Smith just can’t hold a candle to Reynolds. It’s like pairing up Arnold Schwarzenegger with Neil Patrick Harris; one is just going to stand out more.

Kathryn Newton rounds out the cast playing Lucy, a journalist intern ready to prove herself as a reporter, who teams up with the aforementioned duo. Her enthusiasm for her job and her desire for the truth make her a great fit for the crime solving team. Her Pokémon, a platypus-looking Psyduck, also adds a bit of comic relief but not to the point where it becomes grating.

The design of the Pokémon in the film is also something to be admired. This is the first live-action portrayal of these creatures, which have been a part of popular culture since 1995 with the release of the first video games, and every single Pokémon looks like they could really exist in our world. When Tim picks up Pikachu, it looks like he’s really holding something.

It’s difficult for computer-generated effects to be made at all,so when people take the time to make these creatures as realistic as possible, it shows how much the people working on the film love this franchise.

The main drawback for the film is the plot. It’s not a terrible plot, because most who see the film will be somewhat invested. There ought to have been a more convincing mystery, since the film is called “Pokémon Detective Pikachu.” And for a franchise known for fights between Pokémon, there is hardly any action besides a fight in the middle of the film and the climax.

Granted, most of the time is spent on the plot and on the relationships of the characters, but there could have been a couple of more action sequences.

The creators of this film, based on the passion put into the project, have respect for the source material and want to not only make fans happy but to create an entertaining film. The same can be said for comic book films and “The Lego Movie.”

The kids who grew up with this material are now filmmakers and want to repackage the things they loved and present them to a new generation. “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” may not be a game changer, but it is a film that will leave the viewer satisfied with the film they just witnessed.