“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” is positioned to become this generation’s version of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”. But that is a beautiful thing, actually – because instead of marvelous world where ‘Toons’ and humans interact, in this movie the humans and various Pokémon coexist. It makes for a movie version of “Pokémon Go”, where a rich and full array of Pokémon characters are found in the cinema world.
The colorful and exotic ‘pocket monster’ creatures are rendered as normal as traffic cones and neon signs. There are plenty of those there, also – because the movie takes place in Ryme City. This paradise of Pokémon and human interaction is threatened by some mysterious events that are taking place. There is a plot to uncover and a missing detective to locate, and who better to take on that task but Pikachu? The small furry little Pokémon Detective is in a tough spot and could use a little help. There are clues to trace and adventures to be had…
Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is a young son of a Ryme City Detective, Harry Goodman. There was an attack on Harry’s car, and he is presumed dead. Tim gave up on his dreams to be a Pokémon trainer years ago, so he goes back into Ryme City to try and get closure. He goes and meets his dad’s old boss, Detective Yoshida (Ken Watanabe). Everyone else in Ryme City has been connected to a Pokémon and has one for a friend and companion. But Tim has never found one that bonded with him. He visits is dad’s place and runs into Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds).
There is some reason that Tim and Pikachu can hear and understand each other. Pikachu has lost his memory, but soon determines that he was Harry Goodman’s partner – up to the point where he disappeared days ago. Pikachu is still aware that there is a sinister plot that is on the move, but he has forgotten all the details. The mastermind behind Ryme City is Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) who has created this perfect paradise for Pokémon. But his dedication to the task has led to a debilitating disease, and now he is bound to a wheelchair. He and his son run the media conglomerate, and there is young associate intern (that is: unpaid blogger) who sniffing out a big story.
Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) and her sidekick Pokémon Psyduck meet up with Tim and Pikachu. Together they find that some awful things are about to happen in Ryme City. Bouncing from place to place and gathering more information about a mystery drug that make Pokémon go crazy; Pikachu, Tim, Lucy and Psyduck get closer to the evildoers. But they also get deeper and deeper into trouble. They find an ancient Pokémon called Mew Too that might hold the key to the mystery or might be the top bad dude on his own. There is a connection to Mew Too and the disappearance of Harry Goodman, and a connection getting closer between Pikachu and Tim.
When there is a final confrontation, everything turns out not quite the way that it seemed before. There are some tricks that were being played, and some folks are not as clean cut as they first appeared. Tim and Pikachu find that the Pokémon who are drugged and turn violent are not doing it on their own. There was some foul play and with the group catching the bad guys, all will be put back in order. Lucy gets noticed for all of her fine work, and Detective Yoshida gets a resolution to a mysterious case of Harry Goodman’s car crash. Detective Pikachu is ready to get back to work, and Tim might have a new career. But will all the Pokémon of Ryme City still be working with all the humans in harmony?
This is a delightfully fun movie that matches a reluctant hero (Tim) with a helpful, if sarcastic, sidekick (Pikachu). Justice Smith does a compelling job as Tim, and he is curious, yet halting in his discoveries. He is unsure of himself and why he is not able to bond with a Pokémon like everyone else. But then he meets up with Pikachu and things turn magical. Ryan Reynolds is playing the voice (and the facial expressions) of Detective Pikachu – this works in a charming manner. His dialogue is witty and sometimes slapstick. Reynolds gets just the right tone for the little yellow fuzzy Detective, and he makes it shine.
The computer graphics to design and render Detective Pikachu (and really all of the Pokémon) is very sharp and clear. Each of the little (and not so little) Pokémon characters has a distinct personally and sweet goofiness of their own.The story plays second fiddle to the spectacle of scores and scores of Pokémon living a city that is a cross between “Babe: Pig in the City” and “Blade Runner”. There is a futuristic atmosphere along with large portions of whimsy and frolic. Everyone there sees no problem having a Pokémon as a guide and companion. “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” brings everyone’s favorite Pokémon to the big screen in a big way…