We delve into a time where humans are coexisting with Pokemons, with whom they are uniquely partnered like some sort of gaming familiar. Tim (Justice Smith) is the exception to that rule until fate calls with news that his father has met a grisly end. Thus he leaves his mundane suburban insurance job and ventures to the capital, Ryme City where he must uncover the truth about his father’s accident and in so doing finally face the issues that have plagued him since childhood.
Pokemon Detective Pikachu (directed by Rob Letterman) marries expert CGI animation with live action cinematography to breathe life into a bustling metropolis where the stuff of Satoshi Najiri’s imagination wanders the streets just as freely as the humans who would seek to capture them. Ryme City is an amalgamation of Tokyo, New York and LA with its cosmopolitan populace, looming skyscrapers and collection of flashing neon signs. It is here where our story takes hold as Tim gets acquainted with the life of his father Detective Harry Goodman and his Pokemon, the super cute super sleuth Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds).
The two develop a bond unlike any other human-Pokemon connection as remarkably they can understand each other. Suffering memory loss Pikachu is however convinced of one thing and that is that Harry is still alive despite the devastating car crash the pair were involved in. Between the crippled billionaire and Ryme City visionary Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) and his son Roger, the passionate young reporter Lucy Stevens and her Psyduck Pokemon, and the Pokemon trainer Sebastian; there are an array of colourful characters who help Tim and Pikachu piece together the mystery surrounding Harry.
What is the cure Clifford is working towards? What does the R gas have to do with it all? What really happened to Harry Goodman?
There’s action, suspense, thrills a plenty and, it goes without saying, generous bouts of comedy Reynolds style. Watching with my 7yo and 4yo I will say to parents of younger children, namely 4 and under, who scare a little more easily, just be aware that there are bits that may require some hand-holding or cuddles.
Boy suffers tragedy, boy meets girl, boy goes on electrifying adventure with animated sidekick… The story may essentially be one we’ve seen played out many times before, but it is the chemistry between Smith and Reynolds as the vehicle for a would-be father and son dynamic that serves up the unique heart of this tale which is at once heart-warming as well as thoroughly entertaining.
Pokemon Detective Pikachu (PG) is out in cinemas nationwide from 9 May 2019.