As somebody with little or no interest in Pokémon (I may have downloaded Pokémon Go the other year, but keep that to yourself) I wasn’t sure what to expect from Detective Pikachu.
Even as somebody who has something of a video game addiction, Pokémon has just never really appealed to me.
I am, however, aware that it’s a very big deal for some people. Couple that with Ryan Reynolds attaching himself to the project and there was certainly enough intrigue on my behalf to merit giving it a watch.
And, while it never really blew me away, Detective Pikachu certainly succeeds in looking great… and is a little bit of fun in the process.
If you know nothing about Pokémon, they are magical creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the wild or alongside humans.
They usually only utter their own names and the film often portrays them as pets/companions in the dog or cat mould (although domestic pets obviously can’t be trained up to evolve and unleash differing powers).
Anyway, our window into the weird and wonderful world of the Pokémon is Tim Goodman (Justice Smith).
Tim, who once decked his room out in Pokémon gear and longed to be a Pokémon Trainer, now keeps his distance from the much-loved creatures.
That changes when he’s forced to go Ryme City to deal with the sudden death of his estranged father.
While the Pokémon in much of the world live in the wild, in this metropolis they live and work side-by-side with humans as equals.
Our first visit there is a thing of beauty, while the animation of the Pokémon is so good that they look incredibly real.
It’s here that Tim is thrown together with Detective Pikachu (voiced by Reynolds).
He soon discovers that he’s able to understand the Pokémon (which leads to a number of humorous scenes) and the pair have a shared interest in looking into the death of his dad.
Pikachu, fresh with Reynolds’ trademark sharp tongue, comes across as something of a low-budget Sherlock Holmes – albeit with a largely non-existent attention span.
Seeing the pair go from awkward accomplices to close friends is an enjoyable arc and the plot, despite being largely generic, does have some pleasing moments.
Also starring is Kathryn Newton’s Lucy, an intern at the local news station who assists Tim and Pikachu on the case. She’s a very likeable character, but the film never quite decides what it wants to do with her.
There are also smaller roles for Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe and Chris Geere, while look out for brief cameos from musicians Rita Ora and Diplo.
It’s hard for me to know just how good Detective Pikachu is for fans of the franchise.
A quick scour of the internet seems to suggest that it has gone down well, which is always a good test of the water.
For me, it was a bog-standard fantasy offering that offered a couple of laughs, impressive visuals and great use of 3D technology.
Reynolds, of course, impresses and there are a few twists that work relatively well, too.
But, sadly, I didn’t leave the Boston Savoy cinema wanting to see any more from this world.
Voice Verdict: 6/10 (reviewed at Boston Savoy)
+ Great visuals
+ Ryan Reynolds
+ Fans of the franchise should enjoy it
– Bog-standard story
Boston’s West End Cinema (Fri, May 17 to Thurs, May 23)
Noon (Wed), 2.40pm (Wed), 8.20pm (Wed/Thurs)
2D – 1pm (Wed), 5.25pm (Wed/Thurs)
3D – 4pm
PAW PATROL: MIGHTY PUPS (U)
10am (Sat/Sun/Wed), 11.45am (Sat/Sun/Wed), 3.30pm (not Wed)
JOHN WICK CHAPTER THREE: PARABELLUM (15)
2.30pm (Fri/Sat/Sun/Wed), 5.30pm (daily), 8.30pm (daily)
DETECTIVE PIKACHU (PG)
3D – 12.30pm (Sat/Sun)
2D – 10am (Sat/Sun, 3.20pm (Sat/Sun), 3.45pm (not Sat/Sun), 6pm (daily), 8.20pm (daily)
THE HUSTLE (12A)
13:45(Sat/Sun), 16:30(not Sun/Wed/Thurs), 18:45(Daily), 21:00(Daily)
AVENGERS: ENDGAME (12A)
2D – 11am (Sat/Wed), 3pm (not Sun), 3.30pm (Sun), 5.15pm (Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon), 7pm (daily)
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (15)
A DOG’S JOURNEY (PG)
10am (Sat/Sun), 12.15pm (Sat/Sun)
2D – 1pm (Sat/Sun)
Sat/Sun (10.15am) – Mary Poppins (PG)
Wed (11.30am) – The Hustle (12A)
PARENT AND BABY
Wed (10am) – The Hustle (12A)