Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Sophie Hicks compares recent film Pokémon Detective Pikachu to the game

Sophie Hicks
20th May 2019
Image: YouTube

As a fan of Pokémon and I’ve played the Detective Pikachu game, I was pretty excited for the film. I wasn’t expecting much, just a fun film. Sometimes you don’t need an Oscar-nominated masterpiece, sometimes you just need Ryan Reynolds voicing a particularly adorable Pikachu. Whilst Detective Pikachu may not be everybody’s cup of tea, I enjoyed it. If you aren’t aware of the plot, the story follows Tim Goodman, the son of a detective who goes missing, and he and Pikachu must solve the case.

I know it sounds a pretty weird plot, but honestly it just gets weirder as the film continues so you might aswell embrace it. You’re going to see a film called Detective Pikachu so what do you expect? Honestly, I feel like they could have gone further into the weirdness. At the beginning, Pikachu was making lots of jokes, but this declined the further into the film we got. There could be a slight tonal problem because the last section of the film is more serious and feels a bit rushed, but I also had the same issue with the game. They spend too much time at the beginning establishing the plot and not enough time wrapping it up with adequate pacing. It wasn’t a huge issue as it was still enjoyable, but events seemed to happen pretty quickly towards the end, and I feel that it could have been more evenly paced. That didn’t make the film any less fun or enjoyable, but the last section of the film could have been improved on.

If you’re a fan of Pokémon then I can’t see you not having fun whilst watching it.

When the film was announced I had my doubts. But honestly, I didn’t have a huge issue with the Pokémon designs in the film. Sure, they look a little odd, but they managed to maintain the overall look of each Pokémon, and after the Sonic trailer I won’t complain. Whilst some did still look odd (Mr Mime will give me nightmares), the look of Detective Pikachu himself was excellent. Like, so cute that there was an audible “Aww!” from the audience.

I don’t want to spoil the plot too much, but I will say that it only has a vague bone structure to the game. So, if you’ve played the game then you might know the basic plot and recognise some events, but the villain’s motives and even the ending are different. Whilst you may recognise the main protagonist’s name and backstory, maybe a couple events like the Aipom and the carnival, overall the plot is quite different. I don’t mind that the plot is a different because it makes it slightly less predictable for those who have played the game, it isn’t just a straight-up re-telling of a game which already had a LOT of dialogue and not tons of gameplay.

I can see this film having mixed responses, but if you’re a fan of Pokémon then I can’t see you not having fun whilst watching it.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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AUTHOR: Sophie Hicks
Former TV Sub-Editor for The Courier and BA Media Communication and Cultural Studies graduate

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