At some point we really should all petition someone to make Ryan Reynolds’ voice box a national treasure as for years now it’s been entertaining the crap out of us no matter the ultimate quality of the film he’s in. Obviously, the most well known example of his dulcet, wise-ass, tones giving us unlimited joy was when it was enimating from that red and black gimp mask we all know as Deadpool but now we can add another character to this list, and it’s….. Pikachu?
That’s right, in the first Pokemon live action feature, the dandelion yellow electricity rodent is not only voiced by Reynolds but is also a world class private detective out to solve a heinous crime.
If it all sounds a little Who Framed Roger Rabbit (and lets be honest, not enough movies ARE Who Framed Roger Rabbit for my liking) then you’ve hit the nail on the head because the similarities are fairly striking.
We join a world where people and Pokemon live together freely without the “slavery” and “forced fighting” (that they apparently love) and the sight of a dozing Snorelax holding up traffic is a daily occurrence, into this humanitarian Poké-world comes Tim Goodman, a twenty-something who doesn’t really get the whole Pokemon thing. He’s arrived to tidy up the affairs of his estranged private eye father, Harry, who is missing, presumed dead, but instead bumps into a Pikachu whom he can actually understand and the eventually team up to crack the mystery.
Yep, so far, so Roger Rabbit (humans and fictional creatures living as a society, film-noir overtones, odd couple buddy cop movie, massive merchandising opportunities), but what sets Detective Pikachu apart is the sheer amount of cameos from all these hundreds of little video gaming critters that should stoke the fires of every fan both new and old. Remember, Pokemon Go! wasn’t THAT long ago and that was huge while it lasted.
Of course to the uninitiated who don’t know their Jigglypuffs from their Charzards, that isn’t going to mean a whole lot, but despite the plot being textbook blockbuster bunkum (some shit about mutating Pokemon evolutions that involve stealing the Joker’s plan wholesale from the 1989 Batman movie), it moves at a fair old place and any time it starts to flag, Ryan Reynolds larynx swings in for the save. But to be honest (and I’m revealing my age a little here), I was too old when the Pokemon craze first hit and although I do actually know a decent amount about it over the years (purely from osmosis and an ill advised viewing of Pokemon: The First Movie), if you are a bemused parent taking their kids to this thing, you’ll more than be able to follow it.
Problems? Yeah, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a blockbuster kids film based on pixelated animal fighting. Scatty character motivation and big leaps of logic are everywhere (none more than having to accept Rita Ora as a fucking geneticist) but that’s surely part and parcel of the genre itself and besides, far more thought has been poured into how to utilize such a rich world (the good cop, bad cop interrogation of a mime based Pokemon for example) and that pays off as pure, undemanding fun. Failing that? RYAN REYNOLDS, WE CHOOSE YOOOOOOOU!!!
In fact, although technically you could say this is more an off-beat adaptation of the animated series, the fact that it concerns characters that originated from a videogame means that this comfortably is the best videogame movie ever made by wide margin.
So if you’re a long time fan or just if you have kids; treat yourself and catch a screening. I mean, you don’t have to catch ’em ALL, just one will do.