author: quinn bell | a&c writer
The Sherlock Holmes of Pokemon
The first official trailer for Warner Bros’ upcoming Pokémon film Detective Pikachu was released on Nov. 12, and Ho-Oh does it ever look good. Trending on YouTube and IMDb since it’s release last week, Detective Pikachu has been creating quite the Electabuzz around town and causing a Cloy-stir online. It seems like everyone has an opinion on this one! If you’re a Slowpoke and haven’t had the chance to watch the trailer as of yet, you really should. You may have overheard your friends bashing the Purugly live-action aesthetics or Exploud-ing about a talking Pikachu, but trust me, you have nothing to Fearow – go check it out.
Well, crappy Pokémon puns aside, let’s take a quick Pikachu at what this movie has to offer (I promise, I’m done now). Detective Pikachu is based on a spin-off game of the same name that came out for the Nintendo 3DS in March, 2018. So, this is not going to be your typical Pokémon adventure – no going out to catch pocket monsters and no training for gym leader battles. Instead, Detective Pikachu follows the hero, Tim, as he searches for his missing dad with the help of a peculiar talking electric mouse who fancies himself a private investigator.
Tim is played by Justice Smith, son and spitting image of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air (though in the trailer, he specifically rejects being anything like his dad, so maybe I shouldn’t mention that?). Other main actors include Kathryn Newton as Lucy (a young ginger reporter with a Psyduck – familiar?) and Ken Watanabe as Lt. Yoshida, a friend of Tim’s father. Oh, and did I mention that the Pikachu detective is voiced by Ryan Reynolds? Isn’t it wild? He even has some of the spunk and ironic dialogue that we love in Deadpool. I personally think this a cool Heracross-over: Deadpool in the Pokémon universe is an unexpected treat.
This has many folks up in arms, however. How could Warner Bros go and mess with our childhood companions like this? How could they make Pikachu talk? Many, I’d wager, might even call it criminal. To these people, I have a few things to say. The first of which is that Pokémon was basically my source of life when I was young, and that if anyone should be upset it should be me. I’m not upset, so I guess you shouldn’t be either. I’ve also grown up, though. It’s just Pokémon, it’s just for fun, so chill.
This is also not the first talking Pokémon. I know it feels weird that it’s Pikachu doing the talking, but it’s really nothing too Farfetch’d. There are tons of examples. What about Meowth, the original comic interest of the series? Or Mewtwo? These two characters also both had tons of attitude, so having Ryan Reynolds there really isn’t stretching it. Also, count yourself lucky. Rumour has it that Danny DeVito was originally set to voice the detective – so it could have been a lot worse. Speaking of which, it already has been worse. If you want an example of what not to do with a nostalgic franchise, check out Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! (2017), where it’s Ash’s Pikachu who does the talking… and… yikes.
For those who are hoping for some good nostalgic moments in the new film, you’re definitely in luck. For one thing, when Detective Pikachu isn’t speaking with Tim (the only human character who seems to understand him), his cute “pika-pika” noises are voiced by the one and only Ikue ōtani, the original voice actress of Pikachu since 1997. Now that’s a trip down memory lane. I think it’s pretty special. For another, it looks as though the filmmakers have included some really classic moments – Easter eggs for those who grew up with the franchise. For example, the trailer reveals what looks to be a Jigglypuff acting pissy in a karaoke bar.
There is another bit of tension people seem to having about Detective Pikachu: the aesthetics. Let me first say to those I’ve talked to about this: I also think that Charizard looks like a total mess in the trailer, and it’s rather disappointing. But I also think Pikachu looks hella cute. I’m not sure if that’s enough to Absol-ve the animators of their mistakes, but it’s not like there’s anything much we can do. Besides, this is the first time that the franchise is playing around with live-action. It’s going to be an experiment and it’s bound to upset some people. Again, I hope we can all remember that’s it’s all just for fun.
Detective Pikachu comes out in theatres on May 10, 2019. I know that seems like a long time to wait just now, but don’t get all Gloom-y! It’s really just a Hoppip, Skiploom, and a Jumpluff away [Editor’s Note: sigh]..