“Welcome to Ryme City. A celebration of the harmony between humans and Pokemon.”
Howard Clifford – Detective Pikacu
This post is going to contain some mild spoilers from the film Detective Pikachu, you have been warned.
10 Year Old Me Wouldn’t Be Able to Handle This
If you’ve spent anytime on my site then you may already know that I am a massive fan of Pokémon. I’ve been playing the games since Christmas Day 1999 and I don’t plan on stopping. So when Detective Pikachu was announced my primary response was… confusion. Let me try to explain why.
Pokémon has had 7 generations of games up to this point with Red/Blue (the first ones) being the most iconic. They’ve also been remade, twice. So when I heard rumours that a live action Pokémon movie was in the works, this seemed the obvious place to start, but when the film was finally announced it was instead based on a not-so-popular 3DS game.
See, this is one of the things people didn’t seem to get about the movie: it actually is based on a game and not some weird fever dream. The game itself isn’t too bad but it isn’t too great either, being a silly mystery/adventure game where a young boy can communicate with a talking Pikachu. So why then was it the game that they decided to base the first live-action Pokémon movie around?
Well I think I’ve got a concrete answer for that and it’s not the cute, talking, eponymous Pikachu. I think it comes down to the differences between the regions that the main series of games take place in and Ryme city itself, Pokéballs.
In the core games you mainly see Pokémon in two scenarios:
The primary one is of course battling: you either fight a wild Pokémon or you fight another trainer’s Pokémon.
Second is the rare times you see a Pokémon in the overworld (the map you walk around on). Nurse Joy’s Chansey in the Pokémon centre, legendary Pokémon you encounter in dungeons, and some flavour stuff like a farm of Miltank you can come across in Gold/Silver.
There’s not a lot of scope there to really show off Pokémon just existing in the world. Yes, you could have the wild Pokémon running around in the woods etc. before they are captured but what then? Once they are caught, they spend the rest of the movie in a Pokéball on the trainer’s belt, except for when they are needed to fight? Not exactly a visual feast.
At the end of the day the big pull of seeing a live-action Pokémon movie is to see how these Pokémon look in a real, human world. So lots of footage of people walking from town to town whilst talking is wasted time when we could be looking at Pokémon. This is where Ryme City steps up to the plate.
In Ryme City there are no Pokéballs, no captured Pokémon on people’s belts and probably most salient of all (in a kids’ film) is that there are no Pokémon battles. This creates a setting where there are always Pokémon to look at on screen, as they are freely allowed to wander around the city and they can “live in harmony” with the people that live there.
It does create a bit of a problem though. Sometimes there is a LOT on screen at once and it can be a bit difficult to take it all in. There is a scene early on in the film where the characters are walking down a food market type street. It is beautiful to look at and there are plenty of Pokémon wandering around plus plenty of background details to try and spot. But that’s the problem: while watching the movie, it is difficult to spot everything as you can’t pause a film in a cinema so you just have to let the details pass you by.
Look at that shot from the trailer, it’s so busy and I love it. It really makes the world feel alive and busy like any city in the real world should be like. But as a nerd who wants to see EVERYTHING in a Pokémon movie it is almost a pleasant torture.
I imagine I am going to annoy the hell out of my partner when this comes out on DVD as I will be pausing the film a lot just to try and spot everything – and when it comes down to it that is a good thing. The spotting everything part… not the annoying my partner part.
The people who made this movie clearly put in a lot of effort to make the world come to life and be as vibrant as possible and it really showed on screen.
We all know that Pokémon is for kids and that ultimately this is a kids movie but I don’t really care. If you are looking for a basic review for this movie from me then I will say this.
If you aren’t a fan of Pokémon then this is a good, fun family adventure that your kids are sure to enjoy. I recommend it, even if it is a bit of a typical family adventure film.
If you are a Pokémon fan, however, you will be sorry if you don’t watch this movie. It’s a nonstop love letter to Pokémon and it is great to see some of them brought to the big screen in a brilliant, new way. I wholeheartedly recommend it. My love of Pokémon amplifies the pretty basic plot to whole new levels.
Couple of things I need to warn you about before I go.
1: You are not ready for how cute Bulbasaur is in this movie.
2: You are not ready for Mewtwo with teeth… you have been warned.
So yeh, if you have seen the movie or you plan to at some point why not let me know your favourite part and we can nerd out together (comments below or message me on twitter).
See you guys next time. Feel free to check out other things I find awesome. Until then, take care of yourselves. Peace.
One of the trailers for the movie.