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pokemon detective pikachu

DIRECTOR: rob letterman (goosebumps, monsters vs. aliens)
starring: justice smith, ryan reynolds, kathryn newton, and bill nighy


REVIEWER: emily carter

In a world where people collect pocket-size monsters (pokemon) to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent creature who seeks to be a detective.

Gotta be honest. I was never really a Pokemon fan as a kid. Sorry. Just speakin' the truth. Even though I was a 90's kid I was more into Gargoyles, Tale Spin, and Tintin. I just didn't get the whole Pokemon thing. So not the best to judge if there's good fan service, but good enough to see whether its a half decent movie or not. And boy oh boy. Its a very fun ride. 

Ace detective 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, wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth Detective Pikachu. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Pikachu, they join forces to unravel the tangled mystery.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu knows what kind of film it is and doesn't try and pretend to be anything else. It's aimed at fans and at kids (hence the NZ PG rating) and is directed by Rob Letterman who brought us the wonderful Goosebumps (2015). 

It's colourful, its fluffy (in the best possible way), and its a down right fun time at the movies. Ryme city, a sprawling metropolis where humans and Pokemon live peacefully side by side, is a full, rich, completely believable world. You fully believe that this place exists and its a beautiful wonder to look at. 

The story is paced well, is intriguing and inviting, and it pulls you deep within the mystery of the disappearance of Detective Harry Goodman and his son's search for him. The story isn't formulaic at all; it has plenty of surprises and twists and turns that you wouldn't necessarily expect from a film aimed primarily at kids. 

The Pokemon themselves are wide and varied and maintain a pretty even mix between a real creature and a cartoon. Unfortunately the final act does feel a little rushed, but the film in its entirety more than makes up for it. 

Justice Smith is a great lead and will probably remind you of a young Shia LaBeouf (when he wasn't making crazy videos). He's awkward, self depreciating, funny, and ultimately brave when the moment calls for it.


Ryan Reynolds gives a hilarious voice performance as Pikachu with you quickly forgetting that the same voice also belongs to a slightly foul mouthed dude in a red suit.


And Bill Nighy. Can someone knight this man, make him a national treasure, or make sure he NEVER dies? With so little this man can do so much. Just brilliant. 


Brilliantly bringing the Pokemon world to life, Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a wonderfully fun ride that will entertain audiences of all ages.

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