Video game movies have a terrible reputation for themselves. It’s so terrible in fact that saying that aloud is akin to saying “The sky is blue!”. So naturally, when Warner Bros. announced a live action Detective Pikachu adaptation, everyone’s expectations plummeted straight through the fucking floor. Then it sunk even further when they released the cast list, and people discovered that Danny DeVito would not be the voice of Pikachu.
And yet, somehow, yesterdays trailer for the film took the internet by storm. Currently, on the Trending Tab on YouTube, the trailer sits on top with 20 million views. This has completely stomped the Toy Story 4 teaser (good) and two different tribute videos to Stan Lee, who also passed yesterday.
Rest in peace, you beautiful genius.
Somehow, someway, Detective Pikachu’s first trailer doesn’t just look entertaining. It actually looks really good. Like, really good! I have never been so excited for a video game movie in my entire life!
The main thing that got me excited was the Pokemon themselves. While some of them do look like nightmare fuel (Mr. Mime and Psyduck will haunt my dreams for months to come), they all look both realistic and extremely faithful to the game. Pikachu himself looks adorable and completely real, which is amazing considering he’s a CGI character. The troupe of Bulbusaur in the stream, the group of Greninja assassins (which is my favorite real-life use of a Pokemon, and it makes total sense), the cross Jigglypuff in the bar, and the bad ass Charizard in the underground fight pit all look incredible!
Then there’s Pikachu himself. He looks real, both in visuals and in motion, and instantly recognizable as the iconic electric mouse. Even with the sassy voice of Ryan Reynolds coming out of his mouth, he is still absolutely adorable. This makes me wish more than ever that Pokemon were real, cause I would absolutely have a pet Pikachu.
Except the eyes. Those eyes kind of creep me out.
It’s also filled with faithful references to the Pokemon universe. There are background details such as posters and extras that reference things like:
- Reshiram and Zekrom from Gen 5
- Sinnoh from Gen 4
- The fucking Sports Club from Johto (Yeah, remember that?! That was a thing, and they referenced that in this fucking movie! That’s an incredible attempt at being faithful to the games!)
- Tons of background Pokemon, including Emolga, Dodrio, Rufflet, and many many others
And so on and so forth.
It’s extremely clear that everyone involved on this project is passionate about Pokemon. From their designs to their use in the story, it seems that every Pokemon that will appear will be faithful to their game counterparts. None of them have been through the Hollywood ringer.
The same can be said for the setting. Not only does it fit a detective story extremely well, but it isn’t erasing or replacing any other location from the Pokemon series. This is a small story in a small corner of the Pokemon world, which is fantastic. This is how you do the setting in a video game adaptation!
Then there’s the writing and performances, which… good god, they’re actually fucking fantastic! Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith (which is an awesome name) fucking knock it out of the park! I never thought I’d enjoy hearing the voice of Deadpool emerge from a fucking Pikachu, but good god it’s fantastic! And Justice Smith is clearly putting his all behind his performance, and each line he delivers is just as good as his Pokemon partner. The fact that he can keep up with Ryan at all is impressive, and he manages to do so with style.
I know I’m speaking too soon. The movie isn’t out until sometime next year, and it is wholly possible that these two minutes we’ve seen are the only good two minutes of the movie. But I can’t help but let my excitement go wild! There are so many things here that give me hope for this film!
Even if the film fails to be good, I believe it will at least be fun. It’s clear that everyone involved loves Pokemon from the bottom of their hearts, and that’s really admirable. Some really talented people are working on this film, and all of them clearly respect the source material.
Which can also be said for the Warcraft movie. Which is why I’m still skeptical.