Detective Pikachu is a Bizarre & Beautiful Effort For Pokemon Fans Only (4K Blu-ray Review)

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Pokemon Detective Pikachu is available to own on 4K Blu-ray now! Directed by Rob Letterman and starring Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton – here is my review of the 4K UHD Blu-ray combo pack.

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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.


Review:

I grew up playing Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow on my Gameboy Color. That was my first exposure to the global phenom that for some reason just now delivered its first and only live-action film adaptation. Detective Pikachu is a bizarre but beautiful film that delivers plenty of “LOOK! THERE’S A PIDGEY” moments for fans of the videogames/cardgames, but I don’t think there’s anything for nonfans to enjoy aside from Ryan Reynold’s wonderful voice performance as the titular character.

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Having a noir-ish detective story be the first live-action Pokemon film was a bold and strange choice, especially when you go back and consider the most entertaining elements of the film, and how none of them have anything to do with the mystery/detective plot of the film. The most fun I had was watching the Pokemon arena battles between giant beasts like Gyarados and Charizard. Justice Smith is a fine lead and I did sympathize with his character for much of the film, even during the plot twist (which I could see coming from a few miles away), but let’s be honest – we want Pokemon fights. That’s what we wanted to do in the game – and those are the moments that shine in the film.

Director Rob Letterman did an admirable job adapting such a massive and strange franchise for the first time, but now that we’ve exposed the masses to this world of live-action Pokemon, it’s time to ditch this Detective Pikachu schtick and deliver a new story that focuses on training/tournaments etc. This movie was a mess in nearly every aspect, but most glaringly – the pacing was a wreck. The middle stretch was almost too painful to sit through and it included a giant action sequence that went on forever, seeing our leads tumble down the side of a mountain even. But none of it snapped me out of my Poke-haze until the glorious action set pieces near the very end of the movie.

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Pokemon Detective Pikachu is visually amazing and I loved all of the live-action designs for these creatures. Reynolds kills it like he always does in every single anything, but the film never manages to reach a level much higher than simply satisfying. The best parts were in the trailers too, so that pisses me off, but that’s not the film’s fault either. Go in with low expectations and stay for the incredible Pokemon battles even if they were too few and far between.

Special features:

  • Detective Mode
  • Alternate Opening
  • My Pokémon Adventure
  • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Welcome to Ryme City
  • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Uncovering the Magic
  • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Action
  • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Colorful Characters
  • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Bringing Pokémon to Life
  • Mr. Mime’s Audio Commentary
  • Ryan Reynolds – Outside the Actor’s Studio
  • “Carry On” by Rita Ora and Kygo (Music Video)

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Detective Mode is awesome. It’s one of those features you turn on, then while you watch the film – you’ll get Pokemon stats whenever a new one enters the frame, plus behind-the-scenes in-screen moments that show what was going on during filming, along with cast and director commentary. You can really feel the love that they had making the movie while delving into these plentiful special features and I appreciate that. I do wish that the ‘Bringing Pokemon to life’ segment was longer than a couple minutes but overall there’s a lot to dive into here which should satisfy most fans. Mr. Mime’s audio commentary aside (really guys?) — everything else was worthwhile on the 4K blu-ray, which looked stunning. I didn’t know that Letterman made this movie on actual film — it wasn’t a digital shoot and that blows my mind. It truly does add this special layer and helps the special effects blend all that more seamlessly with the real performers.

Rating:

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