Wednesday, September 20, 2023

I Finally Watched Detective Pikachu

It took me a long time to get interested in watching Detective Pikachu, because I’ve never been the biggest fan of Ryan Reynolds (I think his personality is too loud for me, a good guy I’m sure, but he takes a lot of energy out of me). When the movie came to the Tubi app recently, I figured I should watch it. I mean, it’s me and it’s Pokémon. So naturally, after giving it a try, I have to share my thoughts with you.

As much as I’ve always dreamed of live action Pokémon, but this movie showed me that I think they’re better left as cartoons. There was something about having live actors playing the humans that pulled me out of the wondrous world of Pokémon. Maybe it’s the style of storytelling, but there are things you can do in a cartoon that you can’t do in live action.. For example, the way the Pokémon themselves are so animated is strongly contrasted by the seriousness of the human characters. Even with the best actors, you can’t have the eye-popping and exaggerated facial features that cartoons provide, specifically anime in this case.

To be fair, some of that comes because this story was darker in nature than Ash’s adventures. We had the weight of a story, and a mystery that couldn’t have been told any other way. While there are plenty of serious anime out there, I don’t think this story could've done well, at least in anime form.  That being said, even trying to take the tone and the plot into account from both sides, it was still jarring to see the Pokémon in live action. Naturally, the Pokémon had to be CGI. The problem is that the CGI still made them look very animated and anime. Perhaps  that was the intent,, but to me, that was one more thing that pulled me out of the story. As if the two styles, live-action and anime, were trying to coexist. I’m not sure how you could’ve done it differently, I’m certainly no director, or producer, but it was still a drawback for me.

All that said, the plot was wonderful and I enjoyed it. For those who haven’t seen it, it could be placed about 20 years after Mewtwo Strikes Back or perhaps after Red/Blue/Yellow (putting it five years or so after Sun/Moon). As the story progressed, I had no idea who the real villain was. They led me one way and I followed them blindly and I fell for it. So when the plot twist came and uncovered the real villain of the story, I was blown away. So top marks for the plot. However if you’re looking for a fun Pokémon movie to watch with your kids I would not recommend this one. There's some minor language (biblical swear words) and some innuendo. I’d recommend this movie for teenagers and adults who grew up on Pokémon.

Also, despite what I said about the CGI Pokémon not meshing with the live action world, there were plenty of CGI Pokémon that just came out beautifully still, so I’ll finish off with some of them below.

PS: Regardless of whether I like or dislike Ryan Reynolds, there’s something beautiful about him, singing the original Pokémon theme song as Pikachu.

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