So, anyone who has spoken to me about it knows I have been looking forward to this. Since Detective Pikachu was just a game concept, I’ve been excited, I loved the game, I couldn’t wait for the movie, and had high hopes for it from the get-go. And when it came down to it, it definitely hit a lot of my expectations. I adored it and it’s probably going to be one of the few times where I actually pick up a Blu-ray of a movie myself. And possibly the soundtrack as well.
This post will not be spoiler-free so if you haven’t seen the movie OR played the game, you may not want to read beyond the next few paragraphs. I will say, however, that the movie did fix some of the issues I had with the game which was nice.
If you’re looking for a movie adaption of the game though, that isn’t what this movie is. More accurately, it’s a redone version of the concept of Detective Pikachu. The only things brought over from the game are: Detective Pikachu, Tim Goodman, Harry Goodman, and Roger Clifford. Similarly, some Pokemon from the game do make it into the movie, but not all of them. As for the plot, other than R being at the center of the plot, everything else is quite different in the long-run.
This isn’t really bad and I think the movie is still great on its own (and genuinely gives a more satisfying ending), but if you’re looking forward to seeing some scenes from the game on the big screen like I was, you may be a bit disappointed. I knew it would be different from the game, but I didn’t expect it to such an extent.
Despite this, I did enjoy the movie a lot. It does a great job at taking the game’s material and even does a much better job at the finale. The music is great (though, a bit surprising), the acting was fantastic, and it was a really heartfelt movie. I want to see more movies in this universe so badly and I adore Ryme City. I’d love more games as well. I even pre-ordered the Art and Making of Pokémon Detective Pikachu because one of the best things with the movie is just… all the attention to detail. Like I wish I could’ve just paused to take everything in more often than not because it goes by so fast and there is SO much to take in. I loved seeing all the Pokemon so much too and while there wasn’t a huge amount (Only about 7% of the total amount of Pokemon right now), it didn’t really take away from my excitement. Considering time and costs, I’m guessing that’s part of why, but I hope we’ll see more Pokemon in the future.
Please include Mega Audino, guys.
I will say I was a bit mixed on the casting before seeing the movie. I didn’t really understand why they picked a different voice actor for Detective Pikachu, why Tim Goodman’s appearance changed, or any of the other changes… But it honestly worked out. Justice Smith does an amazing job as Tim Goodman and brought so much to the character, Ryan Reynolds did an amazing job as Detective Pikachu, and Kathryn Newton’s character, Lucy Stevens, who essentially takes over for (and takes the character much further than) Emilia Christie, is just a really great character and it really made the movie feel more like a group over just Tim and Pikachu with Emilia generally being off to the side. Lucy was already good to go, so to speak.
As for any further… Well, that goes into spoiler territory now.
As mentioned above, only four characters make it in from the game and Roger Clifford is not the antagonist this time, even when it seems he could be. I will admit I still thought he could be until the very end, but that isn’t what ended up happening– the villain actually being his father, Howard Clifford, with help from his Ditto. At first, I felt mixed on the beady eyes as, while a lot of Ditto merchandise does use it, Ditto doesn’t usually have that issue–in the game, it transforms perfectly and the whole point of Duplica’s Ditto’s arc was trying to get it to that point. But considering it was mentioned that Howard Clifford experimented on the Ditto, it actually made it work–like for it to transform to so many different things (Though, considering Ditto could turn into a cannon in the anime, I really didn’t think twice about it turning into a person) and it also explained why those who worked for him never spoke… As it was just Ditto.
Even Mewtwo, despite not being bad in the game, I was a little confused on what was planned with him because everything seemed so different from the get-go beyond R coming from him. The lab itself was essentially completely unique and the only case that really came close to being from the game was the parade at the end–just much more extravagant (And honestly, what the finale case should’ve been. It was so lackluster in the game and really got all the credit it deserved for a proper finale in the movie). The only other similarities were with certain Pokemon getting hit with the R gas like Aipom and Charizard.
The big difference between the two was in the game, Richard wanted power. Here, Howard wants essentially a cure–he wants to evolve into something better. Someone who isn’t handicapped. The use of his body again and for him, that’s switching his consciousness to Mewtwo. It’s only possible when Pokemon are under the influence of R and apparently can even cause people to completely merge with their Pokemon with Mewtwo essentially taking their bodies away. The odd thing here though is being so upset with a wheelchair (which… a lot of people can do great things in them–heck, they’re also helpful for people who may just need them for brief moments) where in the world of Pokemon, it feels like less of an issue. He literally has a Ditto. Why not just have the Ditto carry him places sometimes? It can already push his cart and with the technology they used to such an extent for Mewtwo, I find it odd they couldn’t do more for him. Even a levitating chair would’ve made more sense for an end-result with Mewtwo’s telekinesis than full-out transferring yourself to a Pokemon. It feels like there was some disconnect between his motivations that I still don’t get, but I don’t feel it fully took away from the film anymore than the weird villain motivations did in the game itself.
I will say one of the things it had a bit of a problem with is pacing–the movie starts off a bit slow, gets the ball rolling, and then kind of shoots straight off a cliff. While the ending was still great, it felt we rushed there so fast and while the game itself also had a bit of issues with pacing, it felt like we got to see more of the mystery while with the movie, it felt mostly solved and like we were just picking up the pieces. A lot of the big points felt shown in the trailers as well.
The movie does give a much better conclusion though, with Detective Pikachu really being Tim’s father as expected. It was heavily hinted in the game so I wasn’t surprised, even if the game went and gave a cliffhanger for it, but I guess part of me wanted it not to be. Detective Pikachu’s big pull is the fact that it’s somehow a talking Pikachu who solves mysteries and so it… not being able to talk anymore kills some of that mystique. It’s not bad and I’d still go along with seeing any future movies with it, but at the same time I’m not sure how it’d work. Which makes me even more thrown off about what the already confirmed sequel will be about.
Despite that, I still stand by what I said earlier–I would love to see more movies in this universe. They did such an amazing job bringing the Pokemon World to life that I really don’t want them to stop, even if it can’t be the same Detective Pikachu. I want to see these characters return. I want to see more Pokemon explored. There’s so much more they can do and so many regions to see and I really hope Pokemon will consider even more games in Ryme City. I feel like there’s so many other regions and places we hear of, but rarely get to see much of. Even Pokken had some beautiful environments and that was one of my favorite things about the game.
And even though the characters are different from the game, it really helped Tim Goodman grow more into a character over just a protagonist. As mentioned at the start, I also loved Lucy a lot and would love to see both characters again in the future. Going to the Pokemon roles for a second, with the merchandise selection… I expected to see Mr. Mime a lot more, if not Snubbull as well, but other than Pikachu, the only Pokemon with a good amount of screentime with Psyduck. Audino got more than I expected though which was nice.
Finally, I want to bring up the music… The music actually in the movie featured nearly exclusively instrumental tracks which I did NOT expect after hearing the music in the trailers. There were a lot of remixes which was great, but the only vocal music in the movie itself was
Ryan Reynolds’ Detective Pikachu’s rendition of the first Pokemon opening and some songs in the end credits (which I wish I could find the names of, but the soundtrack listings only included the instrumentals… :( ). We didn’t even hear the song from the “leaked” footage (the dancing Pikachu video)!!
Seeing this really made me think some of the GNN case would make it into the movie (and I was still crossing my fingers for the cruise ship…), but it didn’t:
We never actually got to see Detective Pikachu dance like a pro :(
But yeah, these things aside, I really did enjoy the movie so much. And this makes me really curious for some of the cut footage which will hopefully make it into a DVD/Blu-Ray which I will be buying… as soon as I see it on sale, honestly.