After a fairly quiet two weeks of new releases, following the arrival of Avengers: Endgame, this week sees the opening of a new blockbuster – Detective Pikachu. The movie is based on the Nintendo game of the same name and stars Justice Smith, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe and Ryan Reynolds.
Detective Pikachu is a crime story set in the world of Pokémon. The film follows a young insurance salesman as he investigates the death of his father, with some assistance from Pokémon icon, Pikachu.
First and foremost, I must make it clear that I don’t class myself as a fan of Pokémon. I have watched a few episodes of the anime series and I’ve played a couple of the games (Pokémon Red and Blue for those keeping score), but it’s not a property that I have any real interest in.
Now that said, there’s something universally appealing about Pikachu – he’s cute, cuddly, and pretty damn adorable. So, going into this movie I was neither excited or disinterested in the franchise as a whole, I was simply open to giving it a go.
Having now watched Detective Pikachu, I can safely say my interest in the property remains the same as it was before. To put it simply, the movie was fine to watch but it did little to convince me to take a deeper look at the world of Pokémon.
Is it because Detective Pikachu is a bad movie?
Nope, far from it, it’s a perfectly fine way to spend a couple of hours and it’s arguably one of the better game-to-movie adaptations. However, it simply did nothing for me and I’m on the fence when it comes to recommending it.
Ryan Reynolds was reliably good in the role of Pikachu; the special effects were (mostly) decent throughout; and the film did a perfectly fine job of creating a world in which humans and Pokémon co-exist. At times there was also Who Framed Roger Rabbit vibe, which made this seemingly impossible world feel very real. Well done!
But there was something lacking. For me, what let the film down was the story, which was fairly predictable and far too slow for it’s own good.
At around the midway point of the movie I was bored. I genuinely lost interest in what I was watching.
Had I been watching this movie at home, rather than at the cinema, I would have put the film on pause to return to at some undetermined point in the future. Yep, that’s how disconnected I became with the material.
During the slower periods of the movie, I looked around the auditorium to check for signs of restlessness amongst the audience, as I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just me. There was a large proportion of youngsters in attendance during our screening and yep, quite a number of them were showing signs that boredom was setting in.
Upon exiting the cinema I asked my husband what he thought of the film, as he’s somewhat of a Pokémon fan. His response? “It was alright.”
That was pretty much it. He more or less shared the same thoughts as me – fine to watch, but slow and predictable in places.
The world of Pokémon clearly doesn’t grab me the way it grabs others, I get that, and many people will come out of watching Detective Pikachu with a completely different opinion to mine. However, on the basis of this being a movie (and I do watch a lot of movies), Detective Pikachu is watchable, just not extraordinary.
Ultimately, if you’re a huge fan of Pokémon or you have a very strong desire to watch this film, then head out to your local cinema – I’m fairly confident you’ll like what is on offer. But, if you’re not into Pokémon or you’re only vaguely aware of what a Bulbasaur is, I’m not sure this is for you – you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your money, but there is probably something on in Screen 5 you might enjoy more.