Okay, so it’s Friday and I’ve been on a blog heater this week. It’s the literary equivalent of extracting a “He’s on fire!” In NBA Jam: Tournament Edition but it’s been a bit since the last movie review. In fact, the last review concerned Endgame, so it’s safe to say Detective Pikachu has quite the act to follow.
Now, for those keeping score, out of all 90s nostalgic items of rememberence, I have a larger affinity for Pokémon than anything else. I had first edition holographic Charizards. I had Pokémon Yellow on Gameboy (the GOAT by far). I watched the shows. I had that useless, limited edition Ancient Mew card you could only acquire through seeing Pokémon: The First Movie in theaters. And I even had Pokémon Snap, which my friends and I would get drunk and play at aggressive hours of the night/day on college.
I can’t remember what I ate for lunch, but I could probably name off at least 70% of the original 150. In other words, when I first heard they were making a live action movie, I was jacked up. And I think that was part of the problem…
Anticipation, with concern to movies, can do two things: it can galvanize the masses to the box office, but it can also generate unreasonable expectations. With Detective Pikachu, it was a rollercoaster.
When I first heard about a live action Pokémon movie, I thought it’d be incredible. When I first saw the title and synopsis on IMDB, I thought it’d be terrible. When I first saw the trailer, I was back on board. When I first saw the opening reviews, I was back off board. And when I finally got around to seeing it last night, I was just a ball of “meh.”
It was sort of like flirting with a girl back in college: At first, she’s sarcastic and wearing a sundress, but then she brings up how much she loves NPR. Then, she reels you back in with a few good stories regarding a mutual friend, but follows it up by delivering the whole “I’m really sorry but I’m just trying to ‘be me’ right now” bit. But then she continues to flirt until inviting you back to her dorm, but by that point, you’re too tired/drunk to even care anymore. That’s what the buildup to this movie was.
So yeah, I went in “meh” and left “mehhh” because there really isn’t much to say about this movie. And yet again, I think that’s part of the problem..
I just never felt like Detective Pikachu knew what it wanted to be. On one hand, nearly all of the Pokémon featured throughout the film were from the original 150, which was obviously geared towards people like me who were buying a ticket for nostalgic purposes; however, the dialogue and general story arc was too conventional and unsophisticated to really do much else.
Simply put, it was one of those kids vs. giant corporation narratives that are SOOO fucking played out by this point. I’m sick of seeing 2-3 high school kids somehow expose corporate corruption. It’s so tiring unless it’s done creatively, which it wasn’t.
As for the acting, Ryan Reynolds nailed it. His voice credentials were easily one of the biggest draws going into the movie and it turned out to be one of the few redeeming aspects of the film. Justice Smith and Kathryn overacted during emotional scenes but they’re young and I don’t know, it’s a kids movie so who cares.
One thing I will say: the Pokémon world looked fucking AWESOME. The CGI was terrific throughout the film. It’s tough to convert two-dimensional, hand drawn characters into satisfying, computer-generated replicas—let alone, in a live action setting—but I thought that was one of the strongest things Detective Pikachu had going for it which, yet again, was part of the problem…
I didn’t want Detective Pikachu, I wanted an actual, live action Pokémon movie. Don’t give me this bullshit dead father narrative. Give me Ash, Pikachu, Professor Oak, Team Rocket, Meowth, Brock, Misty, and the rest of the iron.
Or at the very least, give me a Planet Earth-style documentary on Pokémon and throw that shit in IMAX. That’s something I’d actually enjoy, but then again, I’m also a psycho…
Final Score: 5.7 Boats out of 10
– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)