News Ticker


Movie Review: Detective Pikachu

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Sadly, the anticipated film Detective Pikachu fails to live up to expectations.

Needless to say, as a kids’ show, the plot of the movie isn’t exceptionally tight. Yet, the plot-holes are so glaringly obvious that it’s hard to just overlook them.

From a couple of teenagers just conveniently infiltrating high-security research plants and surviving, to Pikachu almost dying from getting hit by a mere rock but not by Mewtwo’s attacks, the movie sometimes comes across as illogical to the point of being laughable. Suspense regarding the protagonist’s missing dad is built up from the start of the movie, and just when the audience is anticipating a mind-blowing revelation by the end of the film, it lazily concocts a tale that is hardly believable (aka he was within Pikachu all along). Honestly, the whole conclusion just looked like it was setting itself up to feature an exclusive Ryan Reynolds cameo, who is of course the voice behind Pikachu.

In terms of characterisation, many characters seem to be inserted for a single purpose, only to disappear for the bulk of the film, then reappear at the end to tie up loose ends. The acting wasn’t particularly spectacular either, although I would say the main actor Justice Smith did a decent job.

Of course I have to admit; the animation is indeed stunning. If you have ever struggled to visualise Pokemon in real life, the film does a great job in illustrating 3D Pokemon. The collective “aww” in the cinema whenever Pikachu pouted or when the horde of Bulbasaurs appeared is a testament to how convincing and likeable the Pokemon were. The range of Pokemon showcased was not bad either, spanning across most, if not all of the seven generations Nintendo has released so far.

Yet, for a movie whose appeal lies mainly in its visuals, Detective Pikachu still manages to further disappoint.

Considering that Pokemon battles are the centrepiece of the Pokemon universe, the film hardly showcases the defining factor of the franchise. Rather than immersing the audience in the canonical world of Pokemon, Pokemon are haphazardly shoved into our existing one (more specifically, the typical American society).

The only Pokemon battles for leisure that were shown were in a shady arena where two Pokemon were pit against each other, not under the instruction of their respective trainers but left to their own discretion. It was not unlike illegal animal duels in real life, and seemed to me a bastardised version of the healthy spirit of competition and sportsmanship that the Pokemon series seeks to espouse.

To compound matters, the film’s disregard for OG Pokemon fans is blatant. I watched the movie with two of my friends, all of us avid fans of the franchise since our primary school days. We came out rather crestfallen that there were little easter eggs for older fans – perhaps besides the sleeping Snorlax blocking the road.

It is clear that the movie is directed towards the new generation of Pokemon fans whose first interactions with Pokemon were likely Pokemon Go. Even the process of catching Pokemon, something considered significant and even rather sacred in the anime series, is reduced to a simple few seconds of throw-and-hope-for-the-best at the very start of the movie in the Cubone scene. There is an overall lack of respect and regard for the customs and conventions of the canonical Pokemon verse that Nintendo has so delicately created for us to enjoy.

I suppose that I may sound excessively bitter and critical about the film (especially since it has a decent score of 66% on Rotten Tomatoes), but this is a sentiment that I share with many of my friends and family who have been invested in Pokemon since our youth. 

I remember playing the remakes Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby a few years ago and actually shedding a tear at the end of the game because of the overwhelming feels, and I really believe that’s how Pokemon should make you feel. Clearly this movie didn’t do it for me, but either way, this is just my humble opinion on the film, so please feel free to form your own after watching it. Thanks for reading my (unnecessarily) long rant!

Written by Gin

Share This:

Post Tags:

No Comment to " Movie Review: Detective Pikachu "