Friday, June 7, 2019

Detective Pikachu (a movie review post)

Yes, I went to see Detective Pikachu, and you can shut your faces. I went with my teenage kids, and we all wanted to go see it. And I'm glad I did (because I won't lie and say I wasn't worried about it) because it was a fun movie. Well, it was fun if you have the background to understand it.

That's a flaw, by the way. By far the biggest flaw of the movie: it's not accessible to people who don't already understand Pokemon. There's little to no history or explanation given for the world, what Pokemon are, and how they relate to anything. This is not a gateway movie. It knows its target audience, and it doesn't care about anyone else. Not beyond a little bit of lip service about pokeballs and catching Pokemon, which they could have just left out since it doesn't relate to this movie at all. It actually served to muddy the waters more than offer any useful information for the novice poke-goer.

However, if you have any familiarity with Pokemon in any of its iterations, it's a fun movie. Total popcorn fluff, but sometimes you need an excuse to eat popcorn for an hour. (Yes, the movie is longer than an hour! No, the popcorn didn't actually last an hour!)

Of course, the biggest draw of the movie is seeing the Pokemon onscreen. Kind of just to see which ones they included in the film, but there are also some great interactions. The interrogation of the Mr. Mime serves as an excellent example.

I feel like I should give a more in-depth critique, but that feels like going to the store and buying a loaf of white bread and complaining that it's not healthy enough or wheat enough. If you go and buy white bread, that must be what you want, then it's not really fair to compare it to bread with more and better flavor. This movie isn't very deep; the protagonist takes the death of his father sort of like losing a wallet but with less panic; the villain's evil scheme is more about the visuals for the movie than any actual sense that it makes.

There have been a lot of animated Pokemon movies over the years, not to mention the several different TV series, the vast majority of which I have not seen other than glimpses of my kids watching them. However, I did take my oldest kid to see the very first Pokemon movie in the theater when it came out some 20 years or so ago. At the time, I thought it was pretty dumb, not that he cared; he was, like, four or something. I'm sure I would think the same of it today.
BUT! This movie tied all the way back into that one, which I thought was pretty cool, I guess, because it was kind of like, "Hey! I understand what's going on there!"

Of course, the movie was all about Ryan Reynolds and Pikachu. They really nailed that. All of it. The animation, the voice acting, the interactions. The movie hinged on it, and it's part of what made the movie fun.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you've ever in your life had a love for Pokemon, you'll probably get a kick out of this movie, even if just for nostalgia's sake. If not, skip it, and don't feel bad about it.

1 comment:

  1. I never really got into the whole craze, although I probably know enough to muddle along if I chose to watch the movie. I'm glad people are enjoying it.