‘Detective Pikachu’ is Saturday Morning Pokémon Brought to the Big Screen


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While “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” brings countless Pokémon characters to life with modern CGI, the film still leaves audience members with nostalgia for the original Pokémon cartoons.

Nicholas Hung and Benjamin Kim

In 1995, Ken Sugimori and Satoshi Tajiri created the fantastic world of Pokémon, and their cute characters quickly spread around the world. Twenty-four years later, “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu,” produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, adapts their creation to the big screen, recreating beloved Pokémon with modern CGI in a live-action film, a first for the franchise.

The film has amassed a worldwide total of $287.4 million as of May 19, according to Variety Magazine. It is a hit overseas, steadily maintaining its top spot at the international box office for the second week in a row since its release on May 10.

Like a true detective movie, the film opens in a reclusive laboratory on a dark night with a thrilling action sequence complete with suspenseful music composed by Henry Jackman. Throughout the movie, seamless transitions between suspenseful and comedic moments vary the plot’s speed, keeping the audience engaged.

The movie’s main selling point is the nostalgia it brings to audience members. From the battles to the very first Pokéball throw, everything in the film is reminiscent of original Pokémon cartoons. The film’s protagonist, Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), even mentions several iconic Pikachu attacks in one scene, such as Thunderbolt and Volt Tackle.

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While the movie allocates more than enough time to introduce the audience to its vibrant, engrossing universe, the plot sometimes lags. We especially felt it in the middle, when the awe at the level of detail of Ryme City and abundant Pokémon wore off. However, viewers leave the movie with something to remember, thanks to the strong story arc about the importance of family. Tim hunts for his missing estranged father, and along the way, realizes how much his father loved him, although he wasn’t great at expressing it.

While we expected a predictable PG movie solely centered around cute Pokémon, the plot takes several unexpected turns, creating an exciting film even for teenage viewers like us. In the words of Pikachu, “that’s a twist. That’s very twisty.”