'Pokémon Detective Pikachu' will delight fans, bemuse uninitiated
Pokémon Detective Pikachu
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Rob Letterman
Writer: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, Derek Connolly
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rated: PG for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements.
SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Tim Goodman has no interest in following his father’s lead and becoming a Pokémon detective, trainer or anything connected to the pocket monsters. When his father is killed, Tim tries to pick up the pieces of his life and unravel the mysterious circumstances that led to his death. To aid him is Detective Pikachu, a Pokémon with amnesia.
Review: I missed the Pokémon bandwagon. Initially I was simply too old and later it had more to do with the fact that I didn’t have children. So, entering “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” I knew that there was going to be moments that I didn’t quite understand the gravity of. I was aware of the mechanics of the world, but the nuance was going to be lost on me.
Fortunately, I found myself in a pack theater filled with children and young adults who had a close relationship with the franchise who communicated, either by a gasp, an excited murmur or a sudden shift in physicality, when something relating to the Pokémon universe, but not necessarily important to the story being told, appeared on screen.
I never felt lost as the story moved through its various acts. There’s an obvious twist, but it works within the simplistic structure of the narrative. There also isn’t a lot of world building in the sense that we’re simply thrown into a world filled with humans and Pokémon. We’re not shown where Pokémon come from, we are just to understand that they exist and have a history with mankind that hasn’t always been harmonious.
I can’t say that I loved “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” but I certainly didn’t hate it. Having Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu is a little distracting in the sense that it feels like Deadpool has been displaced into the body of a yellow fuzzy monster. There are even bits that feel like something Deadpool would say. Children will miss the majority of the innuendo, but it is there. I was a little disappointed that the movie didn't make me want to run out and buy a pack of Pokémon cards, but I was thrilled that it appeared to satisfy the faithful.
Ultimately, “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” is a film that will excite fans of the Pokémon franchise. For those on the outside of the phenomenon, it’s like jumping into the middle of a fast-moving river without ever learning how to swim.