‘Detective Pikachu’ brings a furry friend to the big screen

The world’s favorite yellow rodent finally made his electrifying live-action debut in “Pokémon Detective Pikachu”.

Based on the 2016 game of the same name, the film explores a Pokémon universe with references to prior video games such as Pokémon Red Version and the long-running anime Pokémon. 

It was released in the US on May 10, and generated $293 million internationally, as of May 21. The film utilizes both real and animated actors, the surprisingly realistic Pokémon interacting with their partners through CGI. 

The film begins with Tim Goodman, played by Justice Smith, encountering a talking Pokémon, the iconic Pikachu, voiced by “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds. 

After being sprayed by the suspicious drug “R”, Tim gains the ability to understand Pikachu’s “pika pika” cries as words. 

Adamant about not needing a Pokémon partner, Tim refuses Pikachu’s offers of companionship until Pikachu reveals he is a detective intent on finding his former partner, Tim’s father. 

The duo then go on the search with a Psyduck, a yellow duck-like creature with chronic migraines, and aspiring reporter Lucy Stevens, played by Kathryn Newton.

One part of the film that really put me off was Newton’s character. When Lucy corners Tim, she immediately starts demanding answers from him for her story and recording him without his permission, demanding he be “on the record”. 

She also trespasses on private, fenced off property and impersonates another reporter to approach another person to interview. I don’t feel like the film portrayed reporters in a good light, and I feel like the way she was promoted on the spot was unrealistic. 

The film is set in Ryme City, an unusual city because Pokémon live alongside their trainers, who care for and help them achieve their more powerful, “evolved” form. 

Ryme City was built in the vision of having a more harmonious, closer relationship between people and their Pokémon than the bond between trainer and Pokémon.

Eagle-eyed fans can easily spot Pokémon from the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova regions in Ryme City and out in the wild. 

One of the most anticipated Pokémon from the movie was Bulbasaur, or as I like to call it, the tiny baby onion dinosaur. 

Fans on social media were raving about the cute little creature and praising the decision to include a herd in the film.

I also appreciated that the Pokémon were realistic. Their proportions matched up to the ones in the Pokédex, or the digital encyclopedia in the games that gives a thorough rundown on each of 807 different Pokémon. 

The proper proportions really made the movie much more realistic, and brought the Pokémon world closer to the real world.

The way the Pokémon’s defining features were kept consistent with their real world counterpart was also very nice. 

The Greninja, a blue bipedal, frog-like dual type water and dark type Pokémon, had slime dripping from their skin like a frog did, and Pikachu’s fur was brilliant, clumping together and darkening when wet and soft and fluffy when dry.

The film also added in Easter eggs from previous games and Pokémon films. 

Pikachu, in one scene, sings the iconic theme song of the English version of the anime, the “Pokémon Theme”, or “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”. 

A shot of Ryme City as well as the town Tim lived in was accompanied by music, a throwback to the “city music” played when a player enters a city. 

A character dressed like the original protagonist of the franchise, Red, can be seen battling with his Pokémon in a stadium.

The film also references the Pokémon experimentation from the Pokémon Red Version, mentioning Mewtwo and the events involving that Pokémon “twenty years ago”.

All in all, the film was packed with a heavy dose of nostalgia, and made me want to find a Pokémon and be their partner for the rest of my life.