Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
New SWITCHCast episode out now! Click to listen to interviews with 'Rockabul's' Travis Beard and 'Thunder Road's' Jim Cummings.x
review, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Pokémon, Detective, Pikachu, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Suki Waterhouse, Ken Watanabe, Chris Geere, Rita Ora, Ikue Otani, Rob Letterman, Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci Fi film rating




By Brent Davidson
5th May 2019

I have been challenged, dearest readers, by my colleague Daniel Lammin to make this review not about my childhood at all - no references, no shaping, no cute anecdotes - no childhood at all. Well, as always, the joke's on him.

Based on the popular video game, ‘Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’ follows Tim (Justice Smith, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’) as he pieces together his father’s disappearance aided by his father's Partner Pokemon - the adorable mascot of the franchise, Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds, ‘Deadpool’ franchise). Oh, and unlike other Pokémon who can only say their name, this Pikachu talks.There is something afoot in Ryme City, and the pair are joined by investigative journalist Lucy (Kathryn Newton, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’) and her semi-trusty Psyduck to uncover the deeper truth of what has been going on.

The fact that I can write both the words Psyduck and Pikachu in a review fills me with an uncontrollable amount of joy.

So Pokemon is the world's most valuable franchise - sorry Hello Kitty and Star Wars, but facts are facts. In what could be a heartless money grab (in an age full of heartless money grabs) comes a rare gem of a film that fulfils all its absurd promises, and then some! This is the first "live action" Pokémon film, something fans have been waiting for for over 20 years. There are (soon to be) 22 animated Pokémon features, so how to fit a live action into this pantheon is no easy feat. It makes sense to take what is familiar and use a slight deviation to create this world and surprising to me, and hopefully you, it works.


Everything about it works.

The film is teeming with life, with Pokémon present in every scene, but never in an obtrusive way. The world is set up and then the story unfolds from there. What a fun story it is too, with enough twists and turns and heartfelt moments, as well as some very well done action; ‘Detective Pikachu’ is a delight to watch. The script is also sharp with enough for the kids to laugh at and enough that can go over their heads for the adults can laugh at. Let’s be honest, most of the audience will probably be in their late 20s and feeling a huge hit in their nostalgia glands, but new audiences (and non-fans) will find just as much to be excited about.

Fan service is something of a dirty word these days. The fan service in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was epic but also on the nose. The fan service in 'Detective Pikachu' is there, but doesn’t draw attention to itself, leaving beautiful moments for Super Nerds and Pokemaniacs to enjoy along the way. It’s all about how you handle it, and for me 'Detective Pikachu' gets it right. Everything sticks to the (extensive) cannon and is the closest imagining to “what if we did actually live in the Pokemon world” question we have yet to see.

The cinematography is beautiful and combined with the lighting is almost a film noir, which makes sense - it is a detective film, after all. The casting is genius, and Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu was a make or break decision - and it definitely makes. Justice Smith is great, and Bill Nighy is delightful. If there is a way that this could get nominated for a Best Visual Effects Oscar that would be wonderful, because every Pokémon has been brought to life in such astounding and beautiful way that it reminds you of how you first felt encountering these creatures. The only small gripe I had with the film was trying to convince us that the city of London was Ryme City, an amalgam of London and Tokyo; it’s just that London’s skyscrapers are iconic and the "Cheese Grater" is a key location, but instantly recognisable. As is The Gherkin and other London financial district buildings. It’s a very small gripe, but one that must be mentioned

Pokémon instilled in me an inherent sense of adventure, belief and fun that I try and take into my every single day.

So I haven’t spoken about my childhood at all, and as instructed, spoke mostly about the film. But the thing for me is, Pokémon isn’t just a part of my childhood. It's a part of my everyday life. I have a Pokeball tattoo (that recently turned 1), and play some form of Pokémon game every day. For the relatively hardcore fan such as myself, the beauty of the film is that Pokémon are for everyone as they are to me. Pokémon instilled in me an inherent sense of adventure, belief and fun that I try and take into my every single day, and I am reminded of that every time I look at my arm. Yes, I am a fan, but this film will hopefully bring about a whole new generation of fans, beyond what the anime, video games, cards, wearables and all the other merchandise could. This is what I hope is the new phase of the Pokémon universe, a universe in which people and Pokémon work together. Okay, yes, I cried. Yes, it pulled my nostalgia heart strings. But at the end of the day, it's a fantastic film that delivers more than you could ever expect. One might say it’s the very best, like no one ever was.

RELEASE DATE: 09/05/2019
CAST: Ryan Reynolds
Justice Smith
Kathryn Newton
Bill Nighy
Suki Waterhouse
Ken Watanabe
Chris Geere
Rita Ora
Ikue Otani
DIRECTOR: Rob Letterman
PRODUCER: Thomas Tull
Aladdin - A whole new world of suffering
TRENDINGALADDINA whole new world of suffering
Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion - An almighty family animation adventure
TRENDINGWIN ASTERIX: THE SECRET OF THE MAGIC POTIONAn almighty family animation adventure
Triple Threat - The world's biggest action stars combined
TRENDINGWIN TRIPLE THREATThe world's biggest action stars combined
NT Live: All About Eve - A powerful stage adaptation of a cinema classic
TRENDINGNT LIVE: ALL ABOUT EVEA powerful stage adaptation of a cinema classic
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Top End Wedding - Outback fantastic
The Heiresses - An escape from the gilded cage of privilege
TRENDINGTHE HEIRESSESAn escape from the gilded cage of privilege
Dublin Oldschool - A flat and tuneless rave drama
TRENDINGDUBLIN OLDSCHOOLA flat and tuneless rave drama
Dog's Best Friend - Good boys, great doco
TRENDINGDOG'S BEST FRIENDGood boys, great doco
The Curse of the Weeping Woman - Horrifically mediocre
My Big Gay Italian Wedding - A ridiculously fun love story
TRENDINGMY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDINGA ridiculously fun love story
Buffy - A 20th anniversary love letter
TRENDINGBUFFYA 20th anniversary love letter
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
Cinderella - Pure Disney magic in every way
TRENDINGCINDERELLAPure Disney magic in every way
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders - Your new playmates
Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion - 60 years on, Asterix is as fresh as ever
TRENDINGASTERIX: THE SECRET OF THE MAGIC POTION60 years on, Asterix is as fresh as ever
Rockabul - Travis Beard on documenting Afghanistan's first heavy metal band
TRENDINGROCKABULTravis Beard on documenting Afghanistan's first heavy metal band
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir - An endearing tale of destiny
The Captain America Trilogy - The finest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe come to 4K UHD
TRENDINGTHE CAPTAIN AMERICA TRILOGYThe finest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe come to 4K UHD
The Man Who Feels No Pain - Not your typical Bollywood film
TRENDINGTHE MAN WHO FEELS NO PAINNot your typical Bollywood film
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us