“Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” blends humor and nostalgia

Warner Bros. Entertainment / Courtesy Photo

Animated live-action remakes are a double-edged sword. When done right, like “The Jungle Book,” they can be a thing of beauty. When done wrong, like “Dragonball Evolution,” they can ruin themselves and their non-live-action cousins… Such as the “Dragonball Z” anime series. “Pokémon,” one of the biggest entertainment properties on the planet, has recently gotten the risky live-action remake, in the form of “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.”

“Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” is set in the fictional town of Ryme City, a place where humans and Pokémon harmoniously live together . The protagonist, Tim Goodman (played by Justice Smith) is investigating the disappearance of his father. To help him uncover the mystery, he brings along Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) his father’s former Pokémon partner. Only Tim can understand Pikachu, and together they search far and wide for the truth.

The movie is a family-friendly adventure with a puzzle at the center. Smith and Reynolds work well together, although at times, Smith’s acting is a little wooden. Reynolds brings the usual charms he possesses to the table, similar to what he had done with his character in Deadpool. Alongside the occasional “eye-rolling” punchlines, there are some funny jokes in the film.

Visually, the characters are top notch are top notch, with the most notable being Pikachu himself. He is an adorable creature with the ability to garner “ahs” from the audience. The design of Pikachu stays close to the manga and anime, and the same can be said about most of the creatures on screen. Fans of Pokémon can be excited when their favorite ones show up on screen, and will have fun watching the way they interact with the physical set.

Warner Bros. Entertainment / Courtesy Photo

While character design overall is great, CGI (Computer-generated imagery) is a different story. For the most part, it is decent, but it does not blend in with the physical set the way that great CGI does. A scene that involves Charizard is a good example, which has some marginal effects that stick out like a sore thumb.

Ryme City feels like a real, breathing place. It looks like it will continue on with its life even when the characters are not there. In the city scenes, the audience can get pleasure in noticing how Pokémon assist humans in everyday activities or just simply in marvelling at the fictional technology created by the filmmakers.

Audiences can enjoy the movie even without being  Pokémon fans themselves. The movie provides viewers with enough information to follow the story. With a title like “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu,” people can expect that this movie will have to deal with a lot of investigations. This is an off-beat choice for a series like “Pokémon,” which is known its battle scenes.

The detective tone works for this movie, but people might be disappointed with the lack of Pokémon battles. Kids will be fascinated with the way the film turns the table and reveals twists, but to an adult viewer, it can be predictable.

With the flaws pointed out, it is important to know that “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” is not looking to be a masterpiece. It is fun, entertaining and perfect for families to enjoy together.