Detective Pikachu

Director: Rob Letterman

Starring: Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ryan Reynolds

Release Date: May 10th 2019

When Rob Letterman first introduced the world to his latest film, Detective Pikachu, there were mixed feelings. The Pokémon fanatics were certainly excited. A full-length feature starring Ryan Reynolds as a CGI Pikachu sounded like a win. But there were a number of people concerned with what exactly Detective Pikachu would become.

Since the creation of Pokémon in April of 1997 these creatures stayed true to their roots.  The Pokémon couldn’t speak, at least not in English the way Ryan Reynolds does in Detective Pikachu. Needless to say, this movie was a wild watch.

Justice Smith stars as Tim, Pikachu’s partner and the son of a detective who recently went missing. Tim and Pikachu go on an adventure in search of Tim’s father, who also happened to be Pikachu’s first owner. Smith is charismatic and does enough to hold our attention while Reynolds is his usual self as Pikachu: Sarcastic, obnoxious and a little bit of a dick, which given the aesthetic of Pikachu, makes for some funny dialogue.
Letterman’s movie lacks in the story-telling, with a lot left to be interpreted. If someone had never seen Pokémon he may not even know how to address the creatures.

An online backlash from the OG Pokémon fans criticized the fact Pikachu could talk and the lack of Ash, a main character from the show. As for the rest of us? We just didn’t know what to think.

Early on in Rob Letterman’s career it was clear what he wanted to do. Whether it was Directing Shark Tale or Monsters Vs. Aliens. Letterman wanted to make kid movies. For Letterman these attempts were not well received. Both movies came and went without leaving a mark. By 2015 the director seemed to transition into a new way of movie making. By then he was making movies like Goosebumps. An adventure/comedy starring Jack Black based on the classic children novels.

Now in 2019 Rob is sticking to that same approach. Detective Pikachu feels like a shout out to the past. A nostalgic look down memory lane. Still intended for kids, but more for people who grew up with Pikachu in the late 90’s. This is the same concept used in Goosebumps.  Over time it will be interesting to see where he leads Detective Pikachu. It feels like the next big movie franchise. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing.

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