Director: Rob Letterman
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton
Release Date: August 6, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
When detective Harry Goodman goes missing, his son Tim (Justice Smith) and Harry’s former Pokémon partner Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) join forces to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together on an epic adventure through Ryme City, they uncover a shocking plot that could destroy the whole Pokémon universe.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
Get ready for an out of this world family adventure in ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ which accompanies young adult Tim (Smith) who following the death of his detective father arrives in Ryne City to settle his affairs, a town where Pokéballs and Pokémon battles are outlawed and people and Pokémon live together in harmony. After discovering his father’s Pokémon partner who was also believed dead (a Pikachu who he can somehow understand) in his old office, the duo set off in an attempt to uncover the truth of his dad’s disappearance. Pairing up with a young reporter and her Psyduck, the group quickly falls deeper into a chain of uncertain events that don’t quite add up as they struggle to solve the mystery at its core.
Directed by Rob Letterman (Goosebumps, Monsters vs. Aliens) from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote with Dan Hernandez (TV’s One Day At a Time) & Benji Samit (TV’s 1600 Penn) and Derek Connolly (Jurassic World), and from a story by Hernandez, Samit and Nicole Perlman, Letterman does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ guiding along the family fun with ease and style, while displaying a consistent dedication to the source material along the way. It also benefits from a well selected cast that includes Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), Kathryn Newton (Blockers), Suki Waterhouse (Insurgent), Ken Watanabe (Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), Omar Chaparro (Show Dogs), Chris Geere (TV’s You’re The Worst) and more, the majority offering capable and fitting performances in each of their respective roles overall.
‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ is a fast-paced, visually fantastic and massively enjoyable adventure that features many of your favorite Pokémon in a faithfully crafted live-action and animation merge up that works remarkably well with the material. Crafting a mystery in this coexisting world similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit in many regards and bringing the Poke-world to life in a way that always maintains a careful attention to detail and remains faithful enough to the characters and world they occupy to appease diehard Pokémon fans. Littered with noteworthy Pokémon cameos popping up as our lead duo delve into the mystery at hand, and continuously paying homage to the original game, the anime series and other franchise properties that are sure to put a smile on the face of fans, while at the same time managing to work them all into the mix in a way that should never leave newcomers to the Pokémon world feeling lost or confused. Even those entirely unfamiliar with the game, anime series and manga, etc. should have no problem jumping straight into ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ and following along. It’s an incredibly fun, visually gorgeous and frequently heartwarming adventure for the entire family that’s definitely well worth taking. I’d strongly encourage Pokémon fans as well as those largely unfamiliar with the franchise yet are still interested in the film to try and make a point of checking it out, there’s a pretty solid chance that you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Overall, ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ is a wildly entertaining, beautifully crafted and humorous adventure for the entire family that also does justice to the source material, sprinkling in countless nods and loose references to the game, anime and more along the way. It also greatly benefits from the capable guidance of director Rob Letterman and solid overall casting, not to mention the humorous and heartwarming contribution of Ryan Reynolds whose undeniable charms do wonders in making the voice of Pikachu come alive in the best way possible. ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ is definitely recommended, both for the Pokémon fans out there as well as anyone that appreciates a fun family adventure with plenty of excitement and heart. If you’re already even moderately intrigued by this one it should easily prove well worth a couple hours of your time and the price of a rental, as well as making a great family movie night selection.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a sharp, clean and detailed presentation from start to finish that suffers no notable faults or issues along the way, while still retaining some grain and other aspects representative of its 35mm film source. It holds up impressively even during the various darkly lit, fast moving and heavily populated sequences throughout, never causing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that should have no trouble pleasing fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack offers a crisp, clean and wildly active audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels whenever the opportunity presents itself, sending action and nature effects, music, vehicle activity and a whole lot more consistently whipping throughout the various speakers, and never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible as a result. Overall, this is a marvelous Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds magnificent from start to finish and contributes plenty of additional fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ includes some noteworthy extras that fans should have a lot of fun with, such as the option to watch the film in ‘Detective Mode’ which features the full film accompanied by pop-up videos with behind the scenes footage and information, along with fun facts, stats for the Pokémon within and plenty more to truly take you deeper into the film’s creation. We are also treated to an ‘Alternate Opening’ for the movie (running approximately 2 minutes in length), along with a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes, fun videos and more including the 5-part Featurette ‘Creating the World of Detective Pikachu’ (running approximately 21 minutes), plus ‘My Pokémon Adventure’ (approximately 2 minutes), ‘Mr. Mime’s Audio Commentary’ (3 minutes), ‘Ryan Reynolds: Outside the Actor’s Studio’ (approximately 2 minutes) and a ‘”Carry On” Music Video by Rita Ora and Kygo’ (4 minutes).