May 6, 2019

CINEMA | 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu' Chooses Mystery

Ryan Reynolds Rob Letterman | Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

Based on the popular Nintendo video game franchise, Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a wildly offbeat Who Framed Roger Rabbit meets Blade Runner style CGI live action adaptation that blends so many different influences for a somewhat conventional but imaginatively amusing mystery adventure.

Directed by veteran filmmaker Rob Letterman and unmistakably voiced by Ryan Reynolds, the hybrid film doesn't explain much as the "pocket monster" creatures' existence quickly fades into the background of its setting despite the ever-presence of its subject.

Starring Justice Smith as Tim, he and Reynolds' chemistry makes the film's hijinx mostly worth watching. Set in the utopian Ryme City, a futuristic metropolis where people and Pokémon live in harmony, the central mystery and flashback structure unfold in a predictable fashion with the usual beats or reveals.

Ryan Reynolds Justice Smith Rob Letterman | Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

The film's look and aesthetic from cinematographer John Mathieson make the world feel so imaginatively lived-in and wondrous. The animation and look of the creatures really stand out. Combining Reynold's trademark vocal performance and knack for snarky humour, Pikachu is so wonderfully realized, cute, cuddly, and utterly adorable.

There's a better than needed supporting cast to flesh out the world. Kathryn Newton hams it up a news intern channelling the hardboiled journalist archetype as another fun sidekick for Tim. There are plenty of noir influences and references to detective thrillers mashed together with kid-friendly adventure fun. Both Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy bring strong hands as dramatic figures who ground the convoluted plot credited to five separate screenwriters.

Detective Pikachu is fun that lives up to the nostalgia and amusement of the multimedia franchise. It blends top-notch special effects and cinematic humour to bring the world of Pokémon to life. It's a truly strange adaptation that mixes together so many wild ideas with its standard plot.

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