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Detective Pikachu -Review-

90’s kid wet dream

I have seen the new Pokemon movie…and liked it. So, Here’s a brief Detective Pikachu review because: why not?

Yes, I know. I named it “Uncanny Valley-the Movie” after checking its first trailer. I was in doubt. I mean, we live in an era where we’re having one of the most unbelievable (in a negative way) Sonic live action, how bad this could it be?

I was wrong –well– for the most part.

Detective Pikachu is a good movie.

Let’s start with the basics, shall we? the plot is irrelevant, a detective movie with a couple of twists you can guess the first 20 minutes. No one really cares, really, because you’re not watching a Pokemon movie for the plot. If you do, you’re fucking stupid.

You watch a Pokemon movie for the FUCKING POKEMONS

And boy, are they good

Now, at first I wasn’t sure how to feel. Make pokemon real…is sure a feat, as they are highly cartoonized in their basic design. So, if you render them 1:1 to the originals, you will have high fidelity, but they will look completely out of place. Make them hyperrealistic and you’re skyrocketing at match speed into horror-uncanny zone.

Bulbasaur’s iconic bedroom eyes

The direction that the movie takes is of a balanced compromise. Pokemon looks like some sort of…living plushes? They looks realistic, you can clearly associate the texture and bodies to something existing, but at the same time their big eyes and feature reminds of big plushies..and that’s not really bad. By doing that, Pokemons establishes themselves as real and coherent to the world they inhabit, but at the same time by being something… else they retains the features of their videogame counterpart. After the initial shock, they blend naturally into the world the director created, and you want to simply see more of them. And more. AND MORE

“By doing that, Pokemons establishes themselves as real and coherent to the world they inhabit”

Because we all know that, deep inside, if you went to see this movie it’s because you are a fucking 80/90 kid. We all know that, entering the cinema, your mind fled back in time, when you were just a kid playing Pokemon red on a Gameboy with your hands dirty with Nutella/peanut butter/anything sweet while dreaming of becoming a Pokemon trainer. Also, it’s easy to imagine your internet browser history and no, it’s too late now to delete that “hot Pikachu rule 64 snorlax vore” on your bookmarks bar.

And we know all of that because, if we’re entering this cinema, we’re all like you. And the director perfectly KNEW.

There is almost no explanation what a Pokemon or a Pokemon trainer is; what are the pikachu’s or ditto’s power; Pokemon types, battle or culture: NOTHING. Because we already know. We don’t want a stupid, empty origin story that creates a Pokemon cinematic universe: leave that bullshit to Disnelx* . We wanted a movie with POKEMON on it. And here we have it.

It’s very smart how Detective Pikachu avoids the pitfall of wanting to be “a Pokemon Movie” and instead becoming “a movie with Pokemon on it”. The basic setting is a new city/region in which Pokemon and humans live together. No Pokeball, no fighting, no “catch ‘em all” bullshit. Everyone has a Pokemon partner, and everyday life simply follows this harmonious co-existence.

A screenshot of a Pokemon getting caught by a poke-ball. The CGI is stunning

Again, I’m not delving into the plot (a detective story) since it’s enjoyable, but not the strongest point: this awards goes to (just after the CGI Pokemon themselves) Detective Reynolds. It would be a lie saying that he’s not the driving force of the movie; sometimes indeed he’s even a little too much of a protagonist, and having him shut up for a moment would be better, but otherwise he creates a silly yet entertaining character. Nothing to say on the other actors: The sub-protagonist, Justice Smith, acts better than expected and manages very well the more emotional moments of the movie. Kathryn Newton (I had to google her name) act like she’s in a 90s teenagers budget movie: random looks at the camera, though outside but clumpy and emotional on the inside.

Yeah.

Let’s move on.  (It’s not THAT terrible btw but, most of the times, you simply wish she wasn’t there)

Direction is ok, some scenes had more special effect than needed (as they probably had to throw away some money); lightning are fine, switching between metropolitan neon and more warm and earth colors, depending on the setting.

Conclusions

What else to say? Not much, really. Detective Pikachu is a good, cute movie, and honestly I can’t wait to see more Pokemon on the big screen.

Just, next time: please add Gardevoir to the roster for…reasons. And maybe put the voice of Jack Black on an Evee or something, I’d watch that shit.

And now, all we have to do is to wait is the existential crisis of entropic nothingness made real that is Sonic: the hedgehog –the Movie.

But that deserves entirely another post…

*Disney+Marvel+Fox. You’re welcome

** witch doesn’t mean we’re not getting pokemon battles, are you crazy?

***consensual and approved by the law, of course)

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