‘Pokemon Detective Pikachu’ Review

Director: Rob Letterman

Writers: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Derek Connolly and Rob Letterman

Cast: Ryan Reynolds (voice), Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Chris Geere, Rita Ora, Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy

Synopsis: In a world where people collect Pokemon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

I, like many my age – no matter how bad you want to deny it – grew up watching and playing Pokemon. It’s something that, somehow, has remained in nerd culture through new generations and fans still bringing it up. If it wasn’t apparent, when Pokemon GO came out, the thing spread like wildfire and was a craze that I think people wouldn’t happened (do people still play it? Serious question, not bashing). It was because of the GO craze, Warner Bros. and Legendary decided to jump on it and announce they were developing a Pokemon movie, and they were choosing to do the Detective Pikachu route.

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t fully onboard with the idea at first. I thought Hollywood would bastardize one of my childhood favorites with another crappy CGI/live-action hybrid movie that would probably water down what made the property so good and memorable. Then the trailers came out and I was fully onboard. So, did Pokemon Detective Pikachu live up to the expectations the studio put out? Or does the video game curse continue?

Pokemon Detective Pikachu follows Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a once aspiring Pokemon trainer, who suddenly gets a call informing him that his estranged detective father has been killed in a car crash. While going through his father’s apartment, he runs into a talking Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who claims to be his father’s Pokemon partner, but can’t remember anything since he has amnesia, expect one thing – Tim’s father isn’t dead, but only missing.

The two decide to embark on a journey to find out what happened to Tim’s father, who was on the verge of breaking something huge. Along the way, they helped by Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton), an intern at the big news corporation, who has a nose for a good story, who also has her Pokemon, Psyduck, with her at all times. What follows is Pokemon shenanigans, world building, and a mystery buddy-cop film.

Detective Pikachu’s staying power is going to be interesting to see. On one hand, the movie is jam packed with Easter Eggs for the hardcore fans, to the point that you may need to watch it twice to catch some of them. On the other, non-fans will maybe have at least a little bit of a hard time with the world they are thrown into. Because, director Rob Letterman wastes no time filling the screen with Pokemon. Once we get pass the cold opening and Tim’s introduction, which shows him trying to catch a Cubone after being forced by a friend, we go straight into Ryme City.

Ryme City is the creation of Bill Nighy’s Howard Clifford, a city where Pokemon and humans coexist together. The Pokemon fill the city streets and hold jobs like everyone else. It’s here where most of the Pokemon are shown, and I’m sure fans will have a field day trying to name them all. It’s also not filled with generation one Pokemon, there were Pokemon there I didn’t even know or recognize. Dare I say, it’s almost Who Framed Roger Rabbit-esque in its story and format, and Blade Runner in terms of visual look for the first half of the movie.

All that said, Detective Pikachu can’t just thrive on the Pokemon, it is trying to tell a story. Smith’s Tim is charismatic enough to push the story along and his chemistry with Reynolds’ voiced Pikachu keeps the movie going until the credits roll. Newton’s Lucy is a hard buy at first, as her character seems to be pulled from the old noir films – which the film does try to be for the most part – but then becomes the ambitious news reporter, even though she’s really an unpaid intern, by trying to break the case along with Tim, Pikachu and her Psyduck.

Of course, the highlight of the cast and the movie is Ryan Reynolds as the talking Pikachu. Reynolds is always reliable for witty, crisp delivered one-liners, and he brings that with Pikachu, and while he’s not foul-mouthed like Deadpool – although Reynolds said there are R-rated outtakes enough a movie – Reynolds’ Pikachu genuinely funny. Plus, the chemistry he has time Smith, despite the live-action and human interaction differences, is fantastic.

All the fun aside, Detective Pikachu does have some faults that keep it from being a good movie to a great movie. The movie’s story gets a little too ridiculous for its own good in the third act, and despite some cool Pokemon action, it doesn’t really justify the direction of the story, although you might be able to guess where it was headed at some point. Of course, there is the big one – do you need to know anything about Pokemon to enjoy the movie? Sort of. Knowing little things about the world could be helpful in some moments and situations while watching the events unfold, but not knowing them should affect your enjoyment.

Then there are the tonal shifts. The first ten, fifteen minutes of the movie is pretty much a drama with Tim dealing with the loss of his father, but then Pikachu is introduced and the movie becomes a comedy. But then Tim’s story comes back and the movie stops everything to have a drama beat, and then go right back to comedy. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the movie missteps on balancing the two sometimes. To get a little nit-picky, despite the amazing designs of the all the Pokemon, and how amazingly truthful they are, there some times with they look just a tad bit wonky, again, nit-picky.

All in all, Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a fun entertaining movie that you’ll enjoy whether or not you know anything about the Pokemon lore or franchise. The story is a little flimsy by the end, but it’s the core cast of Justice Smith’s Tim, Kathryn Newton’s Lucy and Ryan Reynolds’ Pikachu that will keep you invested from beginning to end. Pika Pika.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu

4 out of 5

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May Movie Releases

Hello Boys and Girls!

It’s the beginning of the Summer Movie Season!

What better way to start off this run of movies than a great month of films. We got a lot of films to get to, so let’s get to it!

 

3rd

Limited Release: El Chicano

A pair of twin brothers (Raul Castillo) from East L.A. choose to live their lives differently and end up on opposite sides of the law. The movie co-stars Jose Pablo Cantillo, David Castaneda, Aimee Garcia and Kate del Castillo.

 

The Intruder

A young married couple (Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) buy a beautiful Napa Valley house on several acres of land only to find that the man they bought it from (Dennis Quaid) refuses to let go of the property.

 

Uglydolls

An animated adventure in which the free-spirited Uglydolls confront what it means to be different, struggle with a desire to be loved, and ultimately discover who you truly are is what matters most. The voice cast includes Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Nick Jonas, Emma Roberts, Janelle Monae, Gabriel Iglesias, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, Pitbull and Wanda Sykes.

 

Long Shot

Synopsis: When Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) reunites with his first crush, one of the most influential women in the world, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), he charms her. As she prepares to make run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter and sparks fly. Long Shot co-stars O’Shea Jackson Jr., Randall Park, Alexander Skarsgard, June Diane Raphael, Andy Serkis and Bob Odenkirk.

Thoughts: Directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies, The Night Before), Long Shot already has a good word of mouth thanks to its premiere at SXSW, and the trailer also does a bang up job of doing the movie justice.

 

10th

Limited Release: All is True

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, a look at the final days in the life renowned playwright William Shakespeare, who Branagh will play. The film also stars Lydia Wilson, Kathryn Wilder, Jack Colgrave Hirst, Ian McKellen and Judi Dench.

 

Limited Release: Tolkien (expansion to follow)

Tolkien explores the formative years of the orphaned author, played by Nicholas Hoult, as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. Tolkien co-stars Lily Collins, Genevieve O’Reilly, Pam Ferris and Colm Meany.

 

Poms

A comedy about a group of women who form a cheer leading squad at their retirement community, proving that you’re never too old to ‘bring it!’ Poms stars Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Rhea Perlman, Pam Grier and Bruce McGill.

 

The Hustle

A gender-bend remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists, one low-rent and the other high class, who team up to take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them. The Hustle co-stars Alex Sharp and Tim Blake Nelson.

 

Detective Pikachu

Synopsis: In a world where people collect Pokemon to do battle, a boy (Justice Smith) comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu (voiced and some motion capture by Ryan Reynolds) who seeks to be a detective. Detective Pikachu co-stars Kathryn Newton, Karan Soni, Suki Waterhous, Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy.

Thoughts: I grew up with Pokemon, so seeing a live-action Pokemon movie is right in my wheelhouse. That said, I’ll admit, I wasn’t onboard right away. The live-action/CG hybrid had me worried because those don’t usually work and I worried they would mess up the CG on the Pokmon. Plus, I didn’t really like the Detective Pikachu approach. But damn have the trailers impressed the hell out of me. I guarantee that I’m going to feel like a kid while watching this.

 

 

17th

Limited Release: The Souvenir

A young film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) in the early 80s becomes romantically involved with a complicated and untrustworthy man (Tom Burke). The film also stars Tilda Swinton and Richard Ayoade – and yes, Honor is Tilda’s real-life daughter.

 

The Sun Is Also a Star

Based on the novel by Nicola Yoon, a teenager finds love at a difficult time in her family’s life. The Sun Is Also a Star stars Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton.

 

A Dog’s Journey

A sequel to A Dog’s Purpose, a dog (voiced by Josh Gad) finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he meets. The movie co-stars Dennis Quaid, Abby Ryder Fortson, Kathyrn Prescott, and Marg Helgenberger.

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Synopsis: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere. The film co-stars Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Halle Berry, Robin Lord Taylor, Jason Mantzoukas, Asia Kate Dillon, Mark Dacascos and Anjelica Huston.

Thoughts: John Wick surprised everyone when it came out, and now it’s become a fan favorite in the short time. But, do I really need to put anything here. It’s John fucking Wick!

 

22nd

The Tomorrow Man

Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow) spends his life preparing for a disaster that may never come. Ronnie Meisner (Blythe Danner) spends her life shopping for things she may never use. In a small town, these two people will try to find love. The Tomorrow Man also stars Derek Cecil, Katie Aselton, Sophie Thatcher, Eve Harlow and Wendy Makkena.

 

24th

Booksmart

Directed by Olivia Wilde, making her directorial debut; Two academic superstars and best friends (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) who, on the eve of their high school graduation, realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night. Booksmart co-stars Billie Lourd, Noah Galvin, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte.

 

BrightBurn

Synopsis: What if a child (Jackson A. Dunn) from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? Brightburn co-stars Elizabeth Banks and David Denman

Thoughts: Produced by James Gunn, and written by Gunn’s cousins, Brightburn is basically the Superman story, but with him being evil from the very beginning. I’m all for it.

 

Ad Astra (It’s still technically on the schedule, but no trailer. Some reports saying it’s moving later this year, but looks about right)

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edge of the solar system to find his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones) and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. Ad Astra co-stars Ruth Negga, John Ortiz, Jamie Kennedy and Donald Sutherland.

 

Aladdin

When a street urchin (Mena Massoud) finds a lamp with a genie (Will Smith) inside, he uses the lamp to turn himself into a prince in order to win the heart of a beautiful princess (Naomi Scott). But an evil vizier (Marwan Kenzari) is after the lamp too. Aladdin co-stars Billy Magnussen, Nasim Pedrad, Numan Acar, Navid Negahban and Alan Tudyk.

 

 

31st

Ma

Synopsis: A lonely woman (Octavia Spencer) befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host. Ma co-stars Diana Silvers, Corey Fogelmanis, McKaly Miller, Juliette Lewis, Missi Pyle and Luke Evans.

Thoughts: The movie reunites Spencer with her The Help director Tate Taylor, in let’s face it, the weirdest, but intriguing movie in both their careers.

 

Rocketman

Synopsis: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s (Taron Egerton) breakthrough years. Rocketman co-stars Richard Madden, Jamie Bell and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Thoughts: The movie just looks bombastic.

 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Synopsis: The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collies with Mothra, Rodan and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. Godzilla: King of Monsters stars Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Ziyi Zhang, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Thomas Middleditch, Bradley Whitford and Charles Dance.

Thoughts: It’s FUCKING GODZILLA, RODAN, MOTHRA AND KING GHIDORAH ON THE BIG SCREEN AGAIN!

 

What are you looking forward to?

My Most Anticipated Movies of 2019

2019 is here! So you know what that means – NEW MOVIES!

Of course, there are a lot of movies coming out this year, and while I’m looking forward to many of them, there are some that stand out among the rest. So here I am, give you my most anticipated movies of the year. It should be noted that of course things could change. For example, movies get shifted around, pulled off the schedule or new movies are put on the schedule that I end up really looking forward to.

So with that said, this list is based off the current schedule that’s out, and they’ll also be done by release date, because it’s just easier that way. Let’s get to it!

 

*Note: My Best/Favorite Movies of 2018 Podcast will be coming out hopefully this weekend. That’s why you haven’t seen it yet.*

 

Captain Marvel – March 8th

Yes, this list will include Marvel’s big three movies coming out – deal with it! Okay, now that that’s out of the way, Captain Marvel is something I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced. Not only is the movie Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie, it has a pretty damn great cast. Brie Larson plays the titular hero, aka Carol Danvers, an army pilot who gets caught in the middle of an intergalactic war between two alien races – the Kree and the Skrulls. The movie will also be a good introduction to the character to a lot of people who don’t know anything about the character, and that said, Captain Marvel has some good stories to tell. Captain Marvel co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Lee Pace and Annette Bening.

 

Us – March 15th

Jordan Peele is back behind the camera with another terrifying story, and this time he’s not hiding the creep factor like he did in the trailer for Get Out. Us follows a family (Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex), who while on a family vacation with friends run into some unexpected visitors. Everyone was talking about the trailer when it dropped on Christmas Day, and it was well worth it, because the trailer starts off innocent and slowly gets weird and creepy until it goes full-on “what the hell is going on?” and just like that, Us, has gone on a lot of people’s Must-Watch List. Us co-stars Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Anna Diop and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

 

Hellboy – April 12th

As hard as it might be for some – including myself – let’s move pass the notion that we will no longer get a third Hellboy movie directed by Guillermo del Toro. That said, the first trailer for the new Hellboy movie actually had me pretty excited. Directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent), the new movie has Hellboy (David Harbour) facing off against an ancient sorceress (Milla Jovovich) named Nimue the Blood Queen bent on revenge. It looks like a Hellboy movie, and seeing Harbour get a lead role in a big movie like this is great. I was a fan of his before Stranger Things and seeing him finally get the recognition he deserves should be awesome to watch. Hellboy co-stars Sasha Lane, Penelope Mitchell, Daniel Dae Kim and Ian McShane.

 

Avengers: Endgame – April 26th

Arguably, the biggest Marvel film to date, Avengers: Endgame (yes, it’s called Endgame, you figured it out, good for you) finishes the story they started in Avengers: Infinity War. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect from this, and I like it. The story could pretty much go anywhere, and even though we’ve seen set photos, without that context, we’re just talking in the abyss. I always keep my expectations, hype or what-have-you at the door when watching big movies like this, but I don’t think I’ll be able to contain myself watching this in a theater with all the other fans around.

 

Detective Pikachu – May 10th

Loosely based – maybe – off the game of the same name, Tim (Justice Smith) meets an intelligent talking Pikachu (voiced and also apparently motion-captured by Ryan Reynolds) who help each other as they look into the mysterious disappearance of Tim’s father. I, like many probably reading this, grew up with Pokemon and have a special place in my heart for the property. However, I had my doubts about the movie, mainly because it was going to be a CGI-Live Action hybrid, and those tend to not be that great. But DAMN did the trailer change my mind. The world looks great, the designs of the Pokemon look great too, and might be unexpected; because I know I didn’t envision Pikachu with fur. Detective Pikachu co-stars Kathryn Newton, Karan Soni, Rita Ora, Suki Waterhouse, Bill Nighy and Ken Watanabe.

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 – May 17th

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is back again, and this time he’s being hunted down by everyone. At least that’s the impression we got after the ending of John Wick: Chapter 2. The first movie came out of nowhere, and now John Wick is one of the best action series out there. Are they simple (plot-wise)? Sure, but damn there are a lot of fun. John Wick: Chapter 3 co-stars Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Jason Mantzoukas, Robin Lord Taylor, Mark Dacascos and Anjelica Huston.

 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters – May 31st

The gigantic sequel follows the agency Monarch trying to control the chaos that is to come when Godzilla battles three new monsters that have been awaken in Mothra, Rodan and the three-headed King Ghidorah. I know the first new Godzilla didn’t get a lot of love, but I personally enjoyed it. Now, not only do we get a sequel, but one that has all of the well-known other monsters we’ve come to know and love/hate. It also helps that the trailers are also great, and it looks epic! Godzilla: King of the Monsters stars Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Ziyi Zhang, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Thomas Middleditch, Bradley Whitford and Charles Dance

 

Spider-Man: Far From Home – July 5th

The last Marvel movie of the year, Spider-Man: Far From Home follows Peter (Tom Holland) and his friends on a summer vacation to Europe, where Peter is recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to stop a powerful threat. Of course, there have been a lot of set photos to come out, and it’s also been revealed that Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck aka Mysterio isn’t a villain and will be working with Spider-Man. Other than that, we don’t know much, but given that Homecoming was a great new addition, Far From Home should be good too, right? Spider-Man: Far From Home co-stars Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jacob Batalon and Marisa Tomei.

 

Fast & Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw – August 2nd

A spinoff of the Fast & Furious franchise, Hobbs & Shaw follows Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) teaming up with once again with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Despite how you feel about the Fast & Furious franchise – I personally think they are the ultimate turn-off-your-brain/have fun with it movies – the addition of Johnson’s Hobbs and Statham’s Shaw added a much needed boost to the franchise. Plus, the chemistry between Johnson and Statham was one of the best things about The Fate of the Furious, so a spinoff announcement had me onboard. Add on the fact that the movie will be directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) and have Idris Elba as the villain. Come on, I’m getting in line opening night. Hobbs & Shaw co-stars Vanessa Kirby, Eddie Marsan and Eiza Gonzalez.

 

Honorable Mentions

Glass – January 18th

The Prodigy – February 8th

The Curse of La Llorona – April 19th

Brightburn – May 24th

Men in Black International – June 14th

Toy Story 4 – June 21st

The Lion King – July 19th

It: Chapter 2 – September 6th

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – August 9th

Zombieland 2 – October 11th

Are You Afraid of the Dark? – October 11th

Star Wars: Episode IX – December 20th

 

So, what movies are you looking forward to this year?

New Podcast – Avengers: Infinity War, Live-Action Mulan, Masters of the Universe & More

The Movie Pit Podcast is up!

The podcast is up everybody and ready for your listening enjoyment. I got some good stuff, just saying.

New Podcast: Star Trek 4, Pokemon Will Follow Detective Pikachu? Gary Marshall Passes & More

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New Podcast: Pokemon Live-Action Movie, Kingsman: The Golden Circle Return & More

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Also side-note, my Ghostbusters review will be up during the middle of the week. I’ll be going out of town for the weekend, but plan on seeing the film tonight.

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