“Detective Pikachu” Isn’t Very Effective

Bradley Hare, Centurion Staff

Detective Pikachu would like to battle!

Video game movies have always gained a notorious rep for them being some of the worst movies of all time. Be it from changing the source material too much or just having some of the worst character designs for once beloved characters (looking squarely at you, original “Sonic The Hedgehog Movie” trailer), the general public isn’t too keen on the idea of watching their beloved game characters on the big screen. Unfortunately, despite this movie being the best of that low bar, you’ll have to keep on searching.

In the world of Pokémon, a boy by the name of Tim Goodman wants nothing to do with these creatures after losing both his mother and his father, the latter who went off in the line of detective work and never returned. On a trip to Rhyme City, a place where people and Pokémon work side by side, to collect his fortune following his dad’s supposed death, he comes across a Pikachu in a detective hat only he can talk with. They realize that Tim’s dad may still live and seek to find out what happened to him.

First, the positives. The character designs are actually pleasing and even great to the eyes. Considering the other alternative (hi again, Sonic movie trailer), you could tell that real dedication went into making the fan favorite Pokémon characters really look like that belong in this world while respecting the source material.

The actors are also fine; Justin Smith plays the role of a distraught man who lost both of his parents well enough, and he does have a couple good lines, like him trying to relate to a Cubone at the start of the film who also lost his mother. Kathryn Newton, playing the energetic fast-talking reporter Lucy Stevens, was also amusing to watch on screen with how seriously she was taking her role of being a wanna-be reporter in a world filled with magical creatures more powerful than humans.

However, special mention has to go to Ryan Renalds, yes, the same Ryan that plays the wisecracking Deadpool, as Pikachu. The poor guy must be exhausted carrying this movie; he’s well aware of how absurd the idea of the movie is and plays along with it in such a straight fashion it’s actually admirable. Of course he still brings to the table his own one liners and even nice moments with Tim, helping him learn to love Pokémon again.

Now, the negatives; namely the story being absolutely insane. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but when the genre this film falls under mystery, it can raise a couple of eyebrows. The story does start out relatively simple at first, but as the film goes on, it goes more and more weird and harder to swallow. The twist that was ultimately behind Tim’s dad was one of the most stupid twists I have ever saw for anything that had a story in it, ever.

It doesn’t help that it still has its fair share of cliches. It’s a buddy movie plots after all with a similar plot progression; one of them hates the other, the hate slowly grow to being comrades with the other, they fight and break up near the end of the second act, and make up or drop the fighting at the beginning of the third act. I was able to predict the plot of the friendship between Tim and Detective Pikachu point by point, save the ending, but that’s getting into spoilers.

On a final note, for the world of Pokémon and them looking as great as they do, it’s jarring seeing how little they use the main reason of Pokémon existing; for exciting battles. Now this could be a positive or a negative depending on how you see it; a positive for them being creative enough to not limit Pokémon to just battling, but also a negative due to the main draw of Pokémon not being present enough. That said, when they do battle, the effects go all out and are a sight to behold.

In the end, Detective Pikachu does have all the clues there, but has no idea on how to piece them together to create a compelling film. If you are a Pokémon fan or saw the trailers and even thought for a second it may be interesting, you’ll probably end up getting some fun out it. But for everyone else, this is something I recommend to avoid catching.

Overall: 5/10