Tag Archives: pokemon

Movie Review: Detective Pikachu – Classic Noir Meets Video Game Fun

Detective Pikachu

Pokemon has been a major cultural force for over two decades now, but other than a few animated films, it has never really broken into the cinematic realm. And then there’s the “video game curse” which has turned even the best video games into cinematic dog crap. But Detective Pikachu defies all the odds and is really good. Focusing on character and plot– borrowing its best bits from detective noir classics of the past– and letting the video game content play as the setting was the smartest choice writer and director Rob Letterman. He seems happy to borrow liberally from the video game but then also makes the film very much its own thing that everyone can enjoy.

Why is it that so many video game movies are cursed to be terrible. It’s the medium that often makes it hard (though not impossible) to adapt to film. A good movie needs great characters, and especially needs a lead “POV” character that is the audience’s “way in” to the world of the film. We see the events unfold more or less through their eyes, and these characters usually have the most depth, development, and the best character arcs.

In a video game, the POV character is. . . you. Video games not only get away with, but encourage, more bland player characters– because they’re supposed to be bland aka “universal” so everyone who is playing the game can feel like they are actually taking the place of Mario or Sonic or even more developed player characters like a Cloud Strife or Leon Kennedy. Even if the point is playing through that player character’s story, like as Shepherd in Mass Effect or Revan in Knights of the Old Republic, or any of the characters in Detroit: Become Human, it’s more like you’re playing an interactive movie than a standard video game. Even Lara Croft didn’t really become an interesting “character” per se until her most recent games, which then became very literally adapted on the screen– which is what made last year’s Tomb Raider work and break the video game curse.

As I noted in that review, the question is always, “Would I have rather watched this movie or spent two hours playing the game?” In the case of Detective Pikachu, you definitely want to watch the movie.

A lot of that comes from the performances of its leads, which includes Ryan Reynolds as the eponymous talking gumshoe pokemon mascot and Justice Smith as Tim Goodman. Goodman in the game was literally just your avatar (Good-man, get it?) but Smith does a great job imbuing him with pathos and having fun. A scene in the middle of the film where he has to interrogate a Mr. Mime by using pantomime is incredibly funny, but mostly he does his job of being our POV character and leading us through this new world of Ryme City.

The city is brainchild of billionaire Howard Clifford (an incredibly fun Bill Nighy), it’s a city where humans and pokemon exist side by side. Visually and aesthetically it seems to smash together the best parts of New York, Tokyo, and maybe a little bit of Bladerunner‘s Los Angeles and Tim Burton’s version of Gotham City in his 1989 Batman. But what’s most fun about it are all of the Pokemon easter eggs hidden in almost every scene. You could play a “Gotta catch ’em all” type game where you name off every type that you see and that would be fun enough in and of itself.

But this movie also has a plot, and it’s also quite engaging. Tim Goodman comes to the city upon learning of his estranged father’s death from his former partner, Lieutenant Hide Yoshida (Ken Watanabe). Tim goes to clean out his father’s old apartment and finds an overly caffeinated talking Pikachu with a case of amnesia but a nose for a mystery. You know he’s a detective because of his hat! The Pikachu is convinced Tim’s father is still alive and they need to track him down. Along the way, they discover a conspiracy involving illegal drugs, underground Pokemon fighting rings, and a mysterious MewTwo who we see briefly in the opening of the film who may be the key to all of it.

It’s a pretty great mystery. And while it moves along quickly enough for little kids, it will still be engaging for adults. Also engaging for adults? Some of the dirtier jokes that might fly over kids’ heads. In this way, the film that this most reminds me of is Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Film noir type detective story? Check. Frenetic jokes and a high energy lead? Check. Corporate intrigue and conspiracies? Check. Betrayals, twists, turns? Check. Strategic cameos and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it placement of beloved cartoon characters? Check!

The only thing missing here is the more perfected animation style of Roger Rabbit. One minor complaint is that some of the pokemon may not look exactly like either their video game or animated versions– the charizard and gyarados models specifically are a little off– but most of this is spot on and lots of fun. My Pokemon-obsessed ten year old son (the target audience for this) freaked out when they went into Clifford’s office and he had giant wooden statues of Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina. If you know who those are, this movie is going to make you very happy.

This is the perfect dessert sorbet to clear your palate after the heaviness of Avengers: Endgame. It’s light and fun but also has some deeper elements. If you took classics like Double Indemnity and The Third Man and added a billion cute little pocket monsters into it, you’d have this. And it is delightful. Even if you are meh on Pokemon and have never played a game, this is a lot of fun.

4 out of 5 stars

VIZ Announces New Anime and Manga Releases for May

VIZ Media has announced three new home media and manga publishing titles scheduled for May release.

POKÉMON THE SERIES: SUN & MOON—ULTRA ADVENTURES COMPLETE COLLECTION

Blu-ray MSRP: $49.99 U.S. / $57.99 CAN · DVD MSRP: $44.98 U.S. / $52.99 CAN
Available May 21st 

When Ash sees the Legendary Pokémon Solgaleo and Lunala in a dream, he makes a promise to them. But when he wakes up, he can’t remember what it was! Will the strange Pokémon called Nebby help jog his memory? Along with their new friend and the rest of the students at the Pokémon School, Ash and Pikachu explore the Aether Foundation, an organization dedicated to Pokémon conservation and care. But it may not be as innocent as it seems, and Ash and his friends will have to work together to protect the people and Pokémon they care about as they face a mysterious power like nothing they have ever seen.

POKÉMON THE SERIES: SUN & MOON—ULTRA ADVENTURES COMPLETE COLLECTION

JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: PART 4 – DIAMOND IS UNBREAKABLE

By Hirohiko Araki
MSRP: $19.99 U.S. / $26.99 CAN · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens
Available May 7th 

In April 1999, Jotaro Kujo travels to a town in Japan called Morioh to find a young man named Josuke Higashikata, the secret love child of his grandfather, Joseph Joestar. Upon finding him, Jotaro is surprised to learn that Josuke also possesses a Stand. After their strange meeting, the pair team up to investigate the town’s proliferation of unusual Stands!

JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: PART 4 – DIAMOND IS UNBREAKABLE

SNOW WHITE WITH THE RED HAIR

By Sorata Akiduki
MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN · Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Available May 7th 

Shirayuki is an herbalist famous for her naturally bright-red hair, and the prince of Tanbarun wants her all to himself! The prince from the neighboring kingdom, Zen, rescues her from her plight, and thus begins their love story.

Pop! Pokémon – Charmander is out this May

Grow your Pokémon team with this famous Pokémon! Charmander’s tail will flare up when it gets angry, but this Pop! Charmander will be happy to join your team! Charmander can typically be found in hot, mountainous areas, but this Pop! Charmander should be easy to capture without a trek to your nearest mountainous region.

Pop! Pokémon – Charmander is out this May from Funko.

Pop! Pokémon - Charmander

ECCC 2019: Detective Pikachu Gets a Graphic Novel

In anticipation of this summer’s big-screen adventure Pokémon Detective Pikachu, the first-ever live-action Pokémon movie with a cast led by Ryan Reynolds opening May 10, Legendary Comics announced at Emerald City Comic Con the official movie graphic novel Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Written by Brian Buccellato, with art by Nelson Dániel, it is set to debut online and in stores in Summer 2019, following the film’s release.

The graphic novel draws inspiration from the upcoming film that is based on the beloved Pokémon brand—one of the world’s most popular, multi-generation entertainment properties and one of the most successful media franchises of all time. Readers are invited to follow along as lead character Tim Goodman, played in the movie by Justice Smith, journeys through Ryme City searching for his missing father. With twists and turns around every corner, nothing is more twist-y than Tim’s unexpected partner: a Pikachu with a penchant for coffee and danger, and the amazing ability to speak human language. In a city where humans and Pokémon live together in harmony, unexpected dangers surround them as they try to solve a mystery.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

VIZ Media Gains Pokémon: The Power of Us Manga and Home Media Rights

Pokémon  The Movie: The Power of Us - Zeraora

VIZ Media has announced the home media distribution rights for Pokémon: The Power of Us in the US and Canada and manga publishing rights for Pokémon The Movie: The Power of Us – Zeraora under license from The Pokémon Company International.

The 21st feature film of the beloved Pokémon entertainment franchise caught the attention of fans when it screened in theaters in the US and select international territories last year. Pokémon The Movie: The Power of Us is slated for release on Blu-ray and DVD. Pokémon The Movie: The Power of Us – Zeraora depicts the exciting manga backstory to the movie and features story and artwork by creator Kemon Kawamoto. The manga will be published by VIZ Media this summer.

A young athlete whose running days might be behind her, a compulsive liar, a shy researcher, a bitter old woman, and a little girl with a big secret—the only thing they have in common is the annual Wind Festival in Fula City. The festival celebrates the Legendary Pokémon Lugia, who brings the wind that powers this seaside city. When a series of threats endangers not just the festival, but all the people and Pokémon of Fula City, it’ll take more than just Ash and Pikachu to save the day! Can everyone put aside their differences and work together—or will it all end in destruction? 

Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! Manga Adaptation from VIZ Media this December

VIZ Media delivers adventure and fun with the release of the Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! manga on December 11th.

Under license from The Pokémon Company International, the Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! manga adaptation of the popular 2017 anime film depicting Ash and Pikachu’s first adventure together is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $19.99 CAN. The Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! manga features story and art by Ryo Takamisaki.

When Ash Ketchum oversleeps on his 10th birthday, he ends up with a stubborn Pikachu instead of the first partner Pokeěmon he wanted! But after a rocky start, Ash and Pikachu become close friends and true partners—and when they catch a rare glimpse of the Legendary Pokeěmon Ho-Oh in flight, they make plans to seek it out together. Trainers Verity and Sorrel join Ash on his journey, and along the way, they meet the mysterious Mythical Pokeěmon Marshadow. When they near their goal, an arrogant Trainer named Cross stands in their way. Can Ash and Pikachu defeat him and reach Ho-Oh as they promised, or will their journey end here?

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Gets its First Trailer

The world of Pokémon comes to life! Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is the first live-action film base on the Pokémon franchise. Being released May 11, 2019, the Warner Bros. Pictures film stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Detective Pikachu, with Ken WatanabeJustice Smith, and Kathryn Newton in live-action roles and directed by Rob Letterman and written by Nicole Perlman.

The story begins when ace private eye Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world— they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon Complete Collection Gets a Six-Disc Set November 6

VIZ Media has announced the home media release of Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon Complete Collection on November 6th.

Under license from The Pokémon Company International, the Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon Complete Collection will debut exclusively on DVD and will feature all 43 episodes on six discs. The set will carry an MSRP of $49.99 U.S. / $57.99 CAN with episodes presented with English-dubbed as well as English SDH-subtitled dialogue options. Extras include clean opening and ending credits.

In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, what starts as a summer vacation in the tropical Alola region turns into the next exciting chapter in Ash Ketchum’s quest to become a Pokémon Master! There’s plenty for Ash and Pikachu to explore in this sunny new region, with exciting new Pokémon to discover and interesting people to learn from along the way—including the cool Professor Kukui and the fun-loving Samson Oak. More new faces will help guide Ash’s Alolan adventure, in the form of a group of skilled Trainers—Kiawe, Lana, Mallow, and Sophocles—and a mysterious research assistant called Lillie. Frequent foes Team Rocket have also made the trip to Alola, looking to swipe some high-powered new Pokémon. But they have some heavy competition on the villainy front: the ruffians of Team Skull, who delight in causing chaos and may have more sinister intentions…

Pokémon Pocket Comics: Classics is Out November 13 from VIZ

VIZ Media has announced the print release of Pokémon Pocket Comics: Classics on November 13th.

Pokémon Pocket Comics: Classics is the fourth volume in the best-selling dual activity and gag comic series. The latest volume debuts in a pocket-sized book packed with four-panel gags, Pokémon trivia, and jokes based on the characters from the first three generations of Pokémon, corresponding to Red & Blue, Gold & Silver and Ruby & Sapphire Pokémon video games! The MSRP for Pokémon Pocket Comics: Classics will be $10.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN.

What trouble will your favorite classic Pokémon get into in this volume of four-panel comics? This volume of the best-selling series stars your favorite classic Pokémon: Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander and Psyduck…to name just a few!

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