Detective Pikachu stunning to the eye, but otherwise an average kids movie

Detective Pikachu opened on May 10

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Detective Pikachu opened on May 10

Mia Zak, Reporter

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Making its mark as the first western-produced Pokemon movie, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu released in theaters on Friday, May 10. Based off of the 2016 video game of the same name, Detective Pikachu is the first live-action film based off of the prolific Nintendo series, following 21 animated films featuring the characters of the animated series.

Before entering this movie and thinking about it critically, it is necessary to acknowledge that this movie has a target audience: kids who like Pokemon. Sure, it’s effective as nostalgia bait for all of the grown-ups and teenagers who grew up with the older games, but when you break it down, it’s a movie based on a game marketed to kids. Due to this, it obviously wasn’t the optimal viewing experience for a 17-year-old such as myself. That being said, I perfectly enjoyed the movie despite not being the target audience, although it was a bit awkward being the only one in the theater who wasn’t part of a parent-child unit.

Detective Pikachu stars Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith as Detective Pikachu and Tim Goodman respectively. This pair was the highlight of my movie-going experience, personally. It’s kind of funny, really, as you wouldn’t expect Deadpool’s voice to fit the cute and beloved appearance of Pikachu, but Reynolds was easily the standout of the movie by far. This was heavily due to the animators’ work on the film. If Pikachu had not been animated as well, or certain facial expressions did not track, then Reynold’s performance would have likely seemed much more out of place than they did. Smith’s performance was less impactful than Reynolds’, he was still able to capture the persona of a worn down young adult coping with loss. Especially compared the performance of some side characters, Smith’s performance was acceptable, and still is a positive part of the film.

In regards to the plot, it is not groundbreaking in any sense of the word. However, I don’t think it needs to be. Again, Detective Pikachu is a kids movie, so it’s not like I expected a masterpiece. To put it shortly, the plot is predictable, but still charming to watch. If you’re looking for something fun and easy to digest, this is the perfect movie.

Another highlight of the movie is the visual effects. Unlike most movies about video games, it is clear that there was a close collaboration with and respect for the source material. With a few exceptions, each Pokemon is extremely similar to its two-dimensional counterpart. It would have been extremely easy for something to go wrong and have the creatures go too far into uncanny valley, but this luckily did not happen.

In conclusion, I’d say that it’s perfectly acceptable to skip this movie, especially if you’re not a fan of the Pokemon series. In fact, if you aren’t, I don’t think you should see this movie in theaters at all. Either wait for it to go on Netflix or DVD, or don’t watch it at all, as it’s really not made for you, and I doubt anyone without this prior knowledge can fully enjoy the movie in the slightest. If you do love the Pokemon series, there’s nothing in this movie which would cause me to warn against seeing it. It’s a perfectly calm kids movie, and while it doesn’t necessarily have a large impact critically, it is enjoyable all the same.

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