The world of “Pokémon”, the long-running popular Nintendo videogame franchise that involved catching and battling with mostly-cute super-powered creatures, has always tickled the audience’s imagination. Being able to wander in an environment filled with Pokémon that could be made into travelling companions was an exciting prospect for children. This wonderment was sort of carried over in the early glory days of the once-epic mobile game app “Pokémon GO”. Now, a joint American-Japanese production will see a live-action movie featuring the Pokémon world with the critters rubbing elbows with human actors and extras. Its first trailer was just released this week.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that a trailer for “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” was dropped by Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment this Monday, November 12. It is based on a similarly titled spinoff of the massive “Pokémon” videogame franchise, with The Pokémon Company jointly producing with the two major Hollywood studios. Interestingly, Warner and Legendary were originally competing in negotiations for film rights to the Nintendo sub-franchise back in 2016, with the latter eventually winning out. Friction between Legendary and distribution partner Universal Pictures however, led to Warner stepping up to become the film’s international distributor.
“Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” stars Justice Smith (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”) as Tim Goodman, a young man and frustrated Pokémon trainer looking for his missing policeman father in urbanized Ryme City. His first significant breakthrough in the search comes when he meets an unusual Pikachu lightning-type Pokémon, wearing a Sherlock Holmes-style deerstalker hat and capable of speaking in human language to Tim (other people just hear him vocalize in Pokémon-speak). The Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool”) reveals himself to be the Pokémon partner of Tim’s dad, and after a somewhat rough start, they set off to find Officer Goodman, with the help of sympathetic news reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) and her psychic Psyduck Pokémon.
Reactions to the first “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” has been somewhat divisive. A significant amount of commentary and reactions in the wake of the video was somewhat put out by the photorealism done on the CGI Pokémon, giving Pikachu fur for example. There was also the matter of Ryan Reynolds’ voice work as the title character, for he sounded too much like his current most famous character role of Marvel’s Deadpool on 20th Century Fox. There is however audible positive counter-reactions and support for all these same elements on social media.
Rob Letterman directs the film, which also stars Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy and Paul Kitson. “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” premieres on May 10, 2019 with Toho distributing the movie to Japan and Legendary East in China.
Image courtesy of IndieWire