I shrugged off the embarrassment of seeing a Pokémon movie alone to bring you this review. I know I took another week off, but there really wasn’t much to cover anyway.
I did check out an indie murder mystery called A Dark Place I thought was pretty good. It’s about a kind of slow-witted garbage truck driver who takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of what happened to a young boy in their small town. The odd thing about it was, his sidekick or female partner looked just like an old girlfriend of mine, so it was slightly awkward while watching it. But besides the kind of disappointing ending, I do give A Dark Place a recommend, it’s worth checking out.
I also watched Wine Country on Netflix, and… not for me. If I was a middle-aged woman, maybe I’d get something out of this. Mostly I couldn’t stop thinking about how attractive I used to think some of these ladies were when they were on SNL. But that was before several pregnancies and just time itself got ahold of them. I mean, it wasn’t looking at Brigitte Nielsen in Red Sonja then seeing Brigitte Nielsen post Flavor Flav levels, but still…
The only real options open to me were to just wait until Pokémon comes out. So that’s exactly what I did. For some reason it didn’t even occur to me that I’d have to also suffer a theater full of annoying little kids. I guess I can’t be too upset by them this time around as at times they were the only thing keeping me awake.
I hate to admit this, but this isn’t the first Pokémon movie I’ve seen in theaters.
I used to be a big fan of Pokémon when growing up, even if I was slightly too old to be watching it. I remember when Pokémon first premiered back in 1997 I thought, this will never catch on. Oh was I wrong about that. I know that Pokémon started out as a popular Gameboy game, but the only handheld I was loyal to was the Game Gear, so I knew nothing about Pokémon before the tv series premiered.
Since this was the 90’s and I was all things anime, of course Pokémon was something I had to watch because that was the law back then. If it came from Japan, you had to watch it if you were an anime fan. Thems the rules.
That’s why I also ended up watching Digimon and Fighting Foodons, a Pokémon ripoff series where you fought food monsters. That’s right, instead of cute animal-like creatures, Fighting Foodons gave us exciting four-course meals battling it out… to be eaten? I really don’t remember much about the premise of that show, just that since this was a Japanese series, it was horribly reedited for a western audience.
No way would an American boy know what Omurice is, but they know what a normal omelet looks like. Omurice by the way is very delicious and easy to make, so if you have never tried it, give it a shot.
One day after school, my dad drove me to the theater without telling me and dropped me off at the theater to see the first ever Pokémon movie. Again, I was a bit too old at this point but it was anime, so it was still something I wanted to see as embarrassing as it was.
During that screening the film broke and they needed time to replay the movie. Back then they still used actual film in their projectors instead of casting a DVD like they do nowadays.
I got a glimpse at my future when the lights came on and I noticed mixed in with the small crowd of moms and their kids there was this one large creepy guy who I swear looked just like George R. R. Martin.
They gave us tickets for a free movie for our time and about 15 minutes later the film started up again.
Oddly enough, that movie also featured the first appearance by Mewtwo, this OP Pokémon who could talk psychically. It’s also a movie I remember getting a gut punch when Ash, our lead character, dies and Pikachu keeps shocking his dead body to wake him up.
And! To bring up some more comparisons, the opposite happens in Detective Pikachu, with Pikachu dying. Spoilers?
One thing became very clear to me as I was watching Detective Pikachu with a theater full of kids and adults, this was not the movie for me. I have zero nostalgic feels for Pokémon it seems. Which is weird because now that I’m getting older, I have nostalgic feels for just about everything. I still miss Pogs, damn it.
It’s become very clear to me that this movie is going to be slightly hard to do a review on, as a lot of Pokémon pop up in this and I just don’t remember what they were called. I remembered a few that were prominent on the show but most of the time I had no idea what Pokémon I was even looking at was.
It also made me question the world these people were even living in. Are Pokémon just animals? Because it seems like they’re a bit higher up on the food chain. Also, do normal animal that don’t have special powers exist? If not, does that mean the people eat Pokémon?
We see that they are experimented on, so it goes to reason they are used for other things as well, not just for fighting. Possibly for sex? Are people fucking their Pokémon? If there’s real life animal porn, I’m sure there’s got to be Pokémon porn in this universe.
Also, why fight them?
And why aren’t they ever given names? They just call them by what they are? But humans do own them, right? Though they do go out of their way to call them “partners”.
There are also some very dangerous Pokémon out there that they just let roam around the city. Even a dragon is free to walk around unsupervised. In some states you aren’t even allowed to own a Pitbull, I can’t imagine what they’d do with a Pitbull that had special elemental attack powers.
I know Pokémon Detective Pikachu is geared more towards little kids, so maybe I can give a pass to the predictable plot. But the kids, at least in my theater, couldn’t care less about the plot. They just wanted to see their favorite Pokémon do shit.
Even that was a slight letdown as Pikachu doesn’t even know how to use his own powers. We get very little Pokémon on Pokémon action. You’re mostly tasked with trying to unravel a mystery surrounding a purple gas found in a vial and if the main character’s missing dad is really dead or not.
But even that was easy to figure out.
Again, through most of the film the kids were talking, asking if it was over yet or getting up to run around the theater. They couldn’t give a shit with what was going on.
Less than 20 minutes in, I heard a kid behind me ask if the film was over yet.
I also heard him drop his box of candy on the floor, then scoop everything back into the box to eat again. So maybe I wasn’t dealing with the smartest kid in the theater.
From the trailers I thought the film looked interesting. It had this Blade Runner vibe to it that I kind of loved, and having the Pokémon in this live-action world seemed like the way to go. However, I’m stuck with a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, I think the best way to do a Pokémon movie was doing it live-action.
The conundrum being however I don’t think it worked. It was odd seeing the CGI Pokémon mixed into this real world with real non-CGI people. It was like seeing Mario in that realistic city in Super Mario Odyssey. They stand out and not in a good way.
I guess the way to combat that would be to make the Pokémon look less cartoony and more realistic, but that could end up making them look more frightening, losing their cuteness, ergo the main appeal for little kids. Or you change the look too much and you get the backlash the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie is getting.
Our lead is Tim Goodman an insurance salesman. Every child’s dream job.
Unlike I guess the mass majority of the population, Tim doesn’t own a single Pokémon. His friend Jack, who we never see again following this scene, gets Tim to try to capture this… I don’t remember what he’s called… tiny dino that wears a skull mask.
Yes, I could look these up, but I think this way might be funnier.
So bone mask tiny dino is crying in a field, I guess because he wants to be captured? Or is lonely because no one has captured him? I don’t know…
Tim is pressed to go and capture him, but he screws up, angering the tiny dino, resulting in him tossing his bone club at him.
This scene, as odd as it is, sets up the backstory for our main character Tim. He once was really into capturing Pokémon, even wanting to become a Pokémon master.
I think in a flashback or video, we get a glimpse of Ash Ketchum, main character from the series, battling in a tournament. Which kind of makes you wonder why aren’t we watching that movie?
We also learn that Tim’s mother died when he was young, ending his love for Pokémon. We also learn that Tim has an absentee father that he hasn’t seen in years AND! That he has recently died.
Yeah, we get a lot of info in that first 5 minutes.
Tim heads off to Ryme City, a metropolis where Pokémon run around freely. Just think of all that poke shit people must have to avoid stepping in. And does this mean they’re homeless, they’re like homeless cats wandering around until someone captures them? Again, I don’t get how this universe works exactly.
As Tim visits the city, we learn that his father was a police detective, him and his partner Pikachu aren’t exactly dead but missing after a car crash.
The film starts out with Mewtwo breaking out of a science lab, perusing a fleeing car, Tim’s father. He attacks the car, knocking it off a bridge.
While checking out his dad’s apartment, he runs into Lucy and her Psyduck. This Pokémon I actually remembered. He’s basically just a fat duck. When he gets too upset however, he explodes.
Lucy is a junior investigator, who is looking into how Tim’s dad died.
Tim refuses to take her seriously and shews her away.
When Tim gets inside his dad’s place, he finds a strange vial filled with purple gas, and then discovers a Pikachu hiding behind a desk. The strange thing though is he can hear what this Pikachu is saying.
This Pikachu doesn’t have any memory about who he is or where he came from, just that he’s Tim’s dad’s partner.
The two of them get chased by these monkey looking Pokémon who have gone crazy after inhaling the purple gas from the vial.
Tim decides him and Pikachu should team up and investigate what happened to Tim’s dad. They need help, so they turn to Lucy for clues. She is able to track down an old informant of his dad’s a mime like Pokémon.
After some mime play, they learn about an underground Pokémon fighting arena Pikachu was last seen at.
When they arrive, they are challenged by the head of this illegal fight ring for a rematch against his Charizard, a dragon like Pokémon. After Sunday’s night episode of Game of Thrones I’m about done with dragons.
Charizard was my favorite Pokémon from the tv series. He was Ash’s most powerful Pokémon but also the one he couldn’t control.
While preparing for the fight, the Charizard is slipped some of that purple gas that makes them crazed.
To make matters worse, Pikachu can’t remember how to use any of his shock powers.
Before things get out of hand, the police show up and Tim gets this Sebastian guy to spill the beans on where they got the gas.
Tim is taken to see Howard Clifford, the richest man in Ryme City, he was the one who hired Tim’s father to look into some shady business he suspected his son might be into involving Pokémon.
The son by the way you might recognize if you watched the series You’re the Worst.
But since this is technically a noir detective story, it still follows the same tropes as one, meaning the one that’s usually behind the crime you’re investigating, is most likely the one who put you onto the case in the first place.
They can try to mislead you into thinking whatever they want, I know that this Howard Clifford guy is the one behind everything.
I know who, but not the why.
Well, actually I knew the why but I shrugged it off as too stupid, so in my head I came up with an ever dumber idea. A dead giveaway for what he’s up to comes when they make it pretty clear Howard Clifford is dying and has searched for years for a cure.
My first thought was, oh he wants to make himself into a Pokémon. But then I thought maybe he just wants to have powers like a Pokémon. Turns out I was right the first time. Well, mostly right.
Tim is led to the science lab his father was investigating, where Tim , Pikachu, Lucy and her Psyduck run into more gassed up Pokémon, I forget which ones.
While fleeing, they run into Pokémon that have been genetically altered to be the size of mountains.
Pikachu dies but with the help of Mewtwo, is brought back to life. Or maybe he was just severely injured. Either way this was about the time in the plot I figured out why Tim could hear Pikachu talk to him.
Tim goes to confront Howard Clifford when he reveals his true plans, he wants to transfer his conscience over to Mewtwo, so he can use his powers to mind meld Pokémon with their owners.
Once you learn Mewtwo has that ability, you should pretty much guess what the twist is with Pikachu. I mean, they go out of their way to not show who Tim’s father is. So clearly it had to be Ryan Reynolds, who voices Pikachu in this.
Tim stops Howard Clifford’s plan by simply removing the psychic headset he was wearing to control Mewtwo.
Mewtwo separates Tim’s dad from Pikachu, reuniting them after years apart.
Tim decides to stick around in Ryme City, possibly becoming a detective like his old man.
Though when I think detective in this scenario, I think Private Eye, not police detective which is what Tim’s dad was, right?
There were a few scenes of Tim talking with his father’s police Captain or chief, so why was Tim’s father hired by Howard Clifford in the first place?
Do they not know the difference between police detective and private investigator?
Maybe I missed something, I was slipping in and out of sleep here and there from time to time. Maybe I missed that part. When Tim goes to check out his dad’s place, it looked less like an apartment and more like an office you’d see PI’s having.
Anyway… So that’s Pokémon Detective Pikachu. If you’re more of a Pokémon fan than me, you might get more out of this. To me it didn’t work or was too geared towards little kids that I lost interest almost instantly.
When it does have action, it is done pretty well I thought. I enjoyed the reveal of those giant mountain-sized Pokémon, no I don’t remember what they were called.
The romance between Tim and Lucy never gets off the ground, maybe they were worried little kids wouldn’t want any lovey-dovey stuff in their movie, which might be why there’s 100 seasons of Pokémon and not once does Ash and Misty ever hint at a romance.
I give Pokémon Detective Pikachu a RENT IT rating it is almost a SKIP IT but I feel fans of the games and shows will find some enjoyment. It wasn’t terrible, but did very little to keep my interest. I’m not sure it will keep the attention of your youngest either. There’s way too much plot going on for a movie that should essentially just be a movie about Pokémon fighting each other.
Next week is John Wick 3!!!
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