Pokémon: Detective Pikachu Movie Review

Detective Pikachu has set a new standard for video-game movie adaptations.

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Videogames haven’t been adapted well onto the big screen. The likes of the Super Mario Bros movie proves that evidently. It seems like Hollywood doesn’t particularly understand the source material that it’s working with. This will clash with the core fanbases of each franchise which isn’t great when you are dealing with avid gamers. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is something special. It is a very enjoyable movie that stays true to its respective franchise. At times the film does seem like a weird fanfiction starring Ryan Reynolds. However, its easily a new beginning for video games on the big screen.


The movies plot is probably its weakest element. For a movie based on the Pokémon franchise, I would have expected something ‘safe’ in terms of story. While that is inherently true for the most part, I found Detective Pikachu’s narrative to be somewhat strange. There are many cool moments in the story that’ll impress Pokémon fans, but my main criticism lies with its presentation. Some ideas in the film feel a little off for the franchise that its working with. For example, one moment without giving too much away is a little bit cringe-worthy. It’s an idea that I thought could have been done differently and it doesn’t help that its CGI is a little bit jarring during the scene.

While that may seem like I’m bashing on the film. I’m not, I thoroughly enjoyed most of the storyline, but I thought it could have been done better. I feel like other aspects of the film overshadow its negative elements. The references to the games and anime is present throughout the entirety of Detective Pikachu.

True to its source material?

You’ll see moments that reference episodes of the Pokémon animated television series and others that respect the source material in different ways. Obviously, the biggest appreciation that I had is the variety of Pokémon that are seen during its runtime. One of my favourite Pokémon is Treecko, and when I saw him on screen you can imagine that I fanboyed a lot. It has at least one Pokémon that you’ll like. Some Pokémon that appeared are from later generations, and I was impressed at the obscurity of a couple of them. There aren’t many surprises that were not already shown in the films trailers, but the Pokémon that are there are really impressive.


A fear that I had with having a live action Pokémon movie was the CGI. We are used to Pokémon being in an animated cartoonish setting and the thought of seeing realistic looking creatures put me at unease. However, for the most part the Pokémon look great. Bulbasaur is probably the best-looking design, and if anyone says otherwise, I might just have to challenge you to a Pokémon battle. While I do enjoy seeing these designs on the big screen, there were a couple of moments where the animation of some of the Pokémon could have been a lot better.


Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is the best video game movie full stop. That’s the simple way to describe the impact of this film. It has set a standard for what big screen adaptions of games should look like. There are rumours of turning Pokémon into a cinematic universe and I’d be extremely pleased if that was the case. If you are a Pokémon fan, you owe it to yourself to see this film. It’s full of heart and was a pleasure from start to finish. While a couple of story elements and CGI feel a little bit iffy, the rest of the film casts a shadow over its negatives.

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu



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