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Naomi N. Lugo

Feature: Review: Detective Pikachu

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Detective Pikachu had its opening weekend and was able to pull its weight against heavy hitter Avengers Endgame. Not totally surprising. This movie has quite a few things going for it that contributed to that success. Pokémon, duh, anything with that logo is gonna grab some attention. Sly but charming lead man Ryan Reynolds, that family-friendly rating etc. etc. But what makes this movie successful isn't just the fact that it's branched off of a ridiculously popular franchise, but the respect paid to the multi-generations of fans. This brings it to that rare next level and makes it a truly decent video game movie. 


One of the best moments in the movie for me (don't worry, this review will be spoiler-free) lies within the first few minutes. The camera soared above this alternate universe, unassuming, like any other movie. However, a key detail stood out. The birds that flew alongside the camera were Pidgeots, unassuming Pokemon themselves, but they blended in so well they become a natural part of the scenery. I'm definitely a Pokémon nerd, and I'm totally not ashamed to say that seeing this made me tear up, just a little. 


As a lifelong Pokemon fan, I wanted, nay needed more.



Charmander with scales? Whaaaa?


But let's back up a little first. When the first trailer came out for this movie it didn't exactly grip me. Detective Pikachu, the game, wasn't one that I had been particularly invested in. It seemed like an odd choice for such a big budget film. And then there were the character designs. Oh wow, the character designs. 


Jigglypuff's characteristic innocent blue eyes melted away into horrifically realistic veiny orbs. Mr. Mime... Mr. Mimed. It all seemed seconds away from a fatal misstep, one that would lead these companion creatures I've known and loved for so long down a dark and creepy path. 


But that vital piece of the puzzle prevailed, the Pokémon piece. It kept me curious and ensured that I would indeed see this movie.



It's Pikachu, with Ryan Reynolds voice!


When we enter the main location for the movie, Ryme City, we the audience receive an onslaught of Easter Eggs. There are Pokémon from all generations EVERYWHERE. I think this is what heaven looks like.


In all seriousness though, it is an amazing sight to see. The wonder is relentless, it's seamless. Pokémon are as much a part of the city as the people who inhabit it. It took a lot of love to create a world this full and well, possible.


The plot becomes secondary to the magical world they were able to create. That same magic is what made me fall in love with Pokemon in the first place. Pokémon gripped in part me because it seemed like an ideal world. Going on an adventure with a magical best friend? Heck yea! So bridging that gap to reality helps heal my cynical Millenial soul just a little. 


Detective Pikachu has shown the audience that the franchise has grown up with them. Instead of being perpetually stuck at 10, fans were finally allowed to see Pokémon in their world. A gritty world with crime, underground fighting, street drugs. They are allowed to exist in a world that has more similarities to our own than the usual polish that we get from Nintendo. Because of that, Pokémon become just a little more real. 


Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games

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