Well kids, here we are. There is officially a live action Pokémon movie in theaters, even as I'm hammering away at this article. If you'd told me this as I was slipping Pokémon Blue into my Gameboy Color nearly two decades ago, I'd never have believed you. Actually, I'd probably have flat out ignored you as I slurped down another Capri Sun and prepared to plow through the Elite Four for the hundredth time. I was a pretty dedicated trainer, you see.
Anyway, with all of our favorite domesticated cage-fighting critters receiving the hyper-realistic CGI treatment, there have been some legitimate concerns raised. For a lot of us, this can only play out one of two ways – an amazing and joy-filled adventure rekindling the Pokémon trainer fantasies of our youth, or an alarming wrecking ball hurtling directly towards our soon to be demolished childhoods.
Right, so maybe that analogy is just a little bit extreme. But seriously, there are some pretty strong feelings in play here. That being the case, I feel like it's important that we dive in and see how justified our concern is. Here are twenty of the Pokémon featured in Detective Pikachu compared to their original concepts.
I don't think the idea of how totally imposing a Charizard would be in real life properly sets in with the games or the animated series, but with the depiction we got in Detective Pikachu, I think the point manages to get across.
I mean, it really looks as if being in the presence of this overgrown fire-breathing lizard would be every bit as scary as it should be. While his appearance in the games doesn't exactly amount to cute n' cuddly either, I've gotta admit, I think that I might actually be a fan of this one.
From third generation and on it sometimes feels as if the developers behind Pokémon were running pretty dry on ideas. Anyway, hats off for managing to fuse a duck with a pineapple. Er, hats on, rather. Because the sombrero really ties everything together, y'know?
All the elements are definitely there, so it's hard to take issue with that much. But all of that hyper-realistic detailing almost makes him look like some haggard old hippie that definitely owns the entirety of the Grateful Dead discography.
Look, Squirtle was always, always my starter Pokémon for the first generation games, and is the reason I always opted for water types in later generations. Squirtle squad for life. So it's really important to me that he's done right.
And I've got to say that I'm having a really hard time getting angry at this one. I mean, just look at that little guy! Isn't he just ridiculously adorable? I always imagined him being just a little bit bigger, but that's an awfully minor nitpick considering that they really nailed this one.
I have to admit, when I saw the trailer, I was initially a little put off by this. It's difficult to put my finger on, but if I had to put forth a reason, there's something about the "texture" of a fully-realized Jigglypuff that clashes with my mental image something fierce.
But the design has definitely grown on me quite a bit. Either that or the whole scene with the Jigglypuff singing people to sleep managed to tickle me out of my snobby attitude. Either way, it's hard to say that I'm anything besides pleased at this point.
Here's one that drew a lot of negative responses as soon as the trailer came out. People were a little more than willing to let everyone know that the disturbingly humanized depiction of Mr. Mime "freaked them out."
But really, I don't see much of a problem! I mean, that's sort of Mr. Mime's whole schtick, isn't it? He always looked a little too "human" for me, which is why I never really liked him in the games. So for me, in terms of accuracy? This really isn't too far off from what it should be. It's probably worth considering that there's actually a problem with the root concept of the Pokémon and it took a slightly more realistic depiction for people to realize it.
Was it really possible for them to screw this one up? He's an absolute unit, and his favorite two things are taking long naps and impeding traffic. And if he can do both at once? Brilliant, sounds like a well spent afternoon.
I'm not disappointed, I can assure you of that much. Snorlax is definitely Snorlax, and he matches up well enough to get a thumbs up out of me. The only negative I can think to bring up is how bizarre it is to see him covered in fur. I mean, I guess it's implied with his two-dimensional versions, but still.
Oof, talk about freaky. I guess I never really stopped to think about how incredibly weird Mewtwo would look in person because this guy looks totally unnerving. But I suppose that'd be the point when you're talking ultra-powerful psychic Pokémon resulting from genetic experimentation.
So I guess if that's what they were going for, then kudos. But do me a huge favor and don't leave me alone in a dark room with this guy. I really can't afford to replace another pair of pants this week.
I was hoping to avoid any instances of unabashed fanboy behavior over the course of this article, but you're just going to have to excuse me as I gush about how unreasonably awesome Gyarados looks. He's perfect. I will not entertain any argument on the matter.
Gyarados needed to look larger than life, and man, does he ever. I mean, he really should, being over twenty feet long and weighing more than half a ton. From fang to fin, they did absolutely right by my guy – so it should go without saying that they've scored some major points with me here.
I was always more of a Jolteon guy myself, but let's be real about this – you can't really go wrong with any of the Eeveelutions. And I've got to say, after seeing what they did with Flareon, I might be turning a new leaf.
The fiery branch of Eevee's evolutionary options looks nothing short of epic after being given the Detective Pikachu treatment, lining up almost perfectly with the original concept. Seriously, find something wrong with this. I dare you.
Psyduck is a big, goofy, cartoonish duck with a perpetual migraine. If there's any part of that you can manage to screw up, then congratulations. You've managed to absolutely stun me with mankind's ineptitude, and let me tell you, that by itself would be a feat to pull off.
Fortunately, the team behind Detective Pikachu weren't feeling up to the task of further damaging my faith in humanity. Our mentally bedeviled feathered friend looks every bit the anxious waterfowl that we know and love.
I'm happy enough that Cubone was even included. This awesome little guy's had a rough life, so he deserves his time in the spotlight. Speaking of which, the big screen seems to suit him really well – the way he's presented in Detective Pikachu is totally spot on.
It may be his simplistic design that we have to thank for it, but I'd dare to say that he looks closer to his original design than virtually any of the other entries we're looking at today. And given how well most of them transitioned, that's definitely saying something.
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a... no, wait. I was right the first time. It's just a really big bird. Seriously though, how many of us didn't have this guy in your party? Not only did Ash make his look amazing in the animated series, but Pidgey was also probably one of the first Pokémon that you actually caught. It just makes sense.
Our heroic airborne companion is looking fine and fierce in Detective Pikachu, feathers and all. I always thought the orange and yellow plumage flowing from his head was incredibly rad, and I'm not even close to disappointed with how it looks on the big screen.
Snubbull always elicited a confusing mixture of emotions for me. Like, I want to cuddle one, but I'm also a big fan of keeping all of my fingers attached to my hand. That said, I don't feel much different when I see Detective Pikachu's take on them.
And while we're on the topic, I always found it really strange that Snubbull counted as a fairy type. I get that they needed to put him somewhere, and that was likely the portion of the roster that needed the most padding, but still, weird. Anyway, Snubbull looks good.
Here's another one that they really needed to do right, and at a glance, they did it really well. If you can find anything they did wrong here, feel free to point it out, because I certainly don't see it.
Bulbasaur's easily my second choice when it comes to the classic, first-generation starter Pokémon. I may bear a tiny smidgen of a grudge for his total advantage over my main man Squirtle, but the guy can't help being a grass type. I forgive him. Mostly.
Ah, Lickitung. Really though, did anyone ever actually train one? Sure, he's cute as a novelty – the weirdo tongue Pokémon that defeats his enemies with the power of licking. But I don't think I ever actually used one as a part of my party.
Anyway, I can't find much to complain about. It's all there. He's cute, and he's got a big, gross tongue that definitely looks like it has the potential to paralyze you. But I do feel the need to mention that he looks like he's about to ask if I've got any games on my phone.
Ah, see, I knew that this list was missing something. It just took me a cool minute to realize that something was frog ninjas. Even though the concept's absolutely bizarre, I'm still a pretty big fan of it. Greninja's probably one of the coolest designs to come out of the later generations.
All told, they had a lot of details to nail down with Greninja and they did a pretty splendid job, even down to the weird tongue scarf. I wonder how well their tastebuds work, now that it comes to mind.
Venusaur is what you wind up with when you go shopping for dinosaurs at Whole Foods. Or when you catch a Bulbasaur and diligently train it until it's ready to evolve. The latter method is a lot less expensive, for the record.
His eyes bulge out in a way that I'm not the biggest fan of, but I'd call the rest of his presentation amazing, if I had to pick one word to sum it up. The flora growing from his back is particularly great looking, as is the detailing they put into his skin.
Oh, geeze. I don't think I can unsee this. There's a good reason Aipom looks so incredibly perturbed for this shot, but still. Way to take one the series' cuter candidates and convert them into total fear fuel.
In terms of accuracy, I guess that we're close enough to the mark. I suppose I could've chosen a different picture, but it's too late now. Since I've seen it, you have to see it too, and share in my inability to sleep tonight. Ugh, I still can't get over those teeth.
First off, we need to dole out some kudos for posting up our four armed muscleman as a crossing guard. Can you come up with a more wholesome usage of his superfluous limbs? Seriously, bravo. Totally hilarious, I love it.
But beyond that? He's looking good. I'd say that he could stand to lay off the creatine, but he just wouldn't be himself if he didn't look like a total gym rat. Anyway, well done in my book. I don't know how they could do it better.
When it comes to the most iconic and recognizable Pokémon to have ever existed, the veritable poster-mouse of the series, there's not any room for error. They had to bring this one home. And luckily, there's not a whole lot to get wrong about everyone's favorite yellow zap rat.
He looks fantastic, to keep things brief. And while I've had my issues on the furry textures they've done with some of the other Pokémon, it looks totally right on Pikachu. Even just looking at this picture, I suddenly feel the need to root around in my closet to see if my Pokémon Yellow cartridge still works.