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'Pokémon Detective Pikachu' Movie Review (2019)

As an avid movie watcher with a Bachelor's in Creative Writing, Aurelie is uniquely qualified to review and give opinions on Movies.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Basics

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) is a live-action movie starring Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geere, Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy. And of course, Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu.

We follow the son of a detective, returning to the city to collect his father's things after being notified his father has died in a car accident.

Produced by Legendary Pictures and The Pikachu Company.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

A thing I did appreciate was that I had no idea what this movie was about from the trailer, it may have given away some of the funny moments in the movie. But the actual plot was completely a mystery.

The CGI was incredibly odd, it looked good and bad all at the same time. I wanted to appreciate the visuals but a lot of the furry/fluffy Pokemon just looked super off. In addition to that, most of the actors/actresses appeared to have never worked with this type of CGI before and it was obvious. They would caress the Pokemon or touch them, and there was just nothing natural about it.

That ruined a majority of the movie for me, because I just couldn't get into the whole humans and Pokemon living in harmony bit when the humans didn't even believe in it. Working with CGI takes a certain amount of imagination that some actors/actresses just cannot pull off. Doesn't mean they're bad at their job. But it does mean they shouldn't work with CGI. For example, Transformers, lots of CGI involved. Shia Labouf did a fantastic job working with the CGI Autobots/Decepticons and I never doubted a single interaction he had with the transformers which made the movie feel incredibly realistic.

There were moments when it looked really good, but just for a quick second, then it looked weird again.

The young reporter, Lucy Stevens played by Kathryn Newton, comes across off as well. As if her character is just trying too hard. It didn't come naturally, with a hint of Noir which felt extremely out of place. I didn't connect with her, but come to think of it I didn't connect with the main character either. Tim Goodman played by Justice Smith. In the beginning of the movie he comes across as uncaring about his deceased father, due to their distance over the years. Then we switch to him caring about the loss of his father, but his emotions felt incredibly "Okay, I have to be emotional now." It just wasn't organic.

Overall the biggest issue, aside from the unnatural CGI acting, going back to the characters. I didn't care about any of them, which essentially destroys any interest in following through with the movie. To be honest I just kept with it because I wanted to see the Pokemon, which brings up another issue I had, there just wasn't enough focus on the Pokemon. I know we're following the people but come on, everyone should know that what we're all really here for is to see the Pokemon. I wish there would have been more variety in those that we did see.

The Pokemon we DID see were used very creatively which I just would have appreciated much more if it had occurred more often throughout the movie. Instead we saw multple Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle - of course I love them but there are so many other Pokemon out there that could've been shown in addition to them. I think this movie had a lot of potential but it just fell short of what I was expecting. The plot needed work, actors with more experience with CGI and overall characters that actually made me care for them.

MPAA Rating

This movie was donned as PG—most likely because it was about Pokemon and they didn't want to lose their audience. However, I do believe this movie would have been a bit better if it had been geared towards a slightly older audience i.e. PG-13. Honestly, I don't think they would have lost their audience because the people who GREW UP with Pokemon would be adults now but definitely would still be interested in this movie.