Whenever a video game movie is announced I immediately dismiss it. First of all, even though there is a lot of them now, a lot of these deals fall through. So there no need to get excited when these things rarely get made. Uncharted and Metal Gear Solid come to mind of game adaptations that have been passed around for years without any real concrete evidence. By that I mean I won’t believe it until I see a screenshot at the very least, but a trailer is when I really start to believe in something being legit. The other hang up I get on about these films is the fact that most of them are bad. Why should I get hyped for something terrible? It doesn’t make sense.
With all that being said I couldn’t help but get pumped for Detective Pikachu. It looked exactly like the perfect mashup between “realistic” Pokémon and how they look in the games. Plus the cast was a pretty good lineup too. I became a believer when that first trailer rolled out. And hey, I’ll admit that I got teary-eyed. I’ve been a fan since the games came out in the states in 1998. I’ve come in and out of the games since which is to say my fandom has waned. That’s why I was so surprised at how emotional I got. And how did the movie turn out compared to my expectations? I would say they were mostly met even though a lot of the plot didn’t make sense. Let’s run through all of the confusion. There are SPOILERS ahead, obviously.
25 The Cops Are Bad Investigators
Okay, let me get this straight. Harry was presumed to be deceased because the cops found his car on fire, right? The car was still there afterward. It's not like a fire can get that hot from an explosion to melt everything away. Didn't the cops find it weird that his body was missing in the wreckage? When Tim confronts Detective Yoshida about not finding the body, he shows him a tape and says something along the lines of no one could have survived that crash. Yeah cool dude, but where is the body?
24 Roger’s Hiding Place
One of the biggest reveals that I actually didn't see coming, was that the Roger pursuing Tim throughout the movie post lab infiltration was actually Howard's Ditto in disguise. It was a horrifying disguise at that. When it removed the glasses to reveal the beady little Ditto eyes, I laughed uncomfortably. It was so awkward and creepy. Praises aside, why did Howard keep his son in a closet in his office? That seems so cliché to me. Wouldn't it be better to eliminate him, or take him somewhere more, oh I don't know, secure?
23 Giant Torterra
Before I rant, it’s time for a quick factoid. Torterra are modeled after the myths and legends of many cultures including India and China. The World Turtle is supposed to be a large turtle wherein the entire world rests on its back. That's why Torterra have little gardens on their backs. Anyway, it's an even bigger nod to this legend in the move since Howard's experiments create giant Torterra for a pretty exciting chase scene. So there are giant Pokémon beneath their world. Shouldn't Tim and Lucy have been more alarmed? Giant Pokémon could be problematic.
22 The Problem With R
Mewtwo has always been powerful in the games, but never as much as we've seen here in Detective Pikachu. He is the deus ex machina of Pokémon for this film as it can do anything, which I will break down one by one. First of all, if the R serum is extracted from Mewtwo then why does it affect his mind later in the film when Howard uses it to take control? Shouldn't Mewtwo be immune to that sort of thing?
21 Howard Clifford’s Plan
Howard Clifford's plan made no sense. Yes, I get that he had a disease that was destroying his body and that he needed a new body to live on. I understand why he would want to live out the rest of his days as a Pokémon, but why is he forcing other people to become Pokémon? You could assume he wants to do this not to just Ryme City but the world thus he needs a Pokémon army to help him. The movie doesn't tell us that though. That's just me trying to make sense of a terrible plan.
20 Mewtwo’s Obsession With Tim
After all is said and done, and all of the misleading projections and flashbacks are smoothed over, we learn that Mewtwo put Harry into Pikachu's body for safekeeping. Afterward, for some reason, he wanted Pikachu to bring Tim to Mewtwo. Why? There is absolutely no reason why Mewtwo would want that. Sure he could have read Harry's mind and thought, hey, I'll help out this dad get reacquainted with his son, but that also makes no sense for the plot.
19 Pokémon Are Pokéballs?
Another crazy power of Mewtwo's is the ability to not only transfer the mind of a human into a Pokémon. No, he uses Pokémon like Pokéballs. That is to say, he can capture humans and store them inside Pokémon and release them at his leisure. How in the heck does that work? The movie isn't really clear on that and breaks its own rules on that premise servers times over. As I said earlier, Mewtwo is a freaking deus ex machina.
18 No Guards
I'm not exactly sure what the timeline is between the beginning scene of the movie wherein Mewtwo escapes and "eliminates" Harry's dad, but it has to be somewhere in the realm of a week, or at least a few days. That said, in that time period why did no one go back to the laboratory and start experimenting on Pokémon again? Howard's company has unlimited money, right? Even if all of the scientists were eliminated he could have hired more. At the very least there should have been guards watching over their previous research.
17 Harry Badman
Harry was hired to retrieve Mewtwo as we saw in the research videos, which were very conveniently placed for Tim to find. He then obviously finds Mewtwo and gives it to Howard. Pikachu is then used later on to free Mewtwo. Was this Pikachu's idea, or Harry's? That is to say, did Harry ever realize what he did was wrong? He probably is innocent and not evil in the end, but there were too many twists and turns for his character that it was hard to follow.
16 Pikachu’s Two Voices
This one needs some clarification before starting. Since the anime of Pokémon debuted in Japan, Pikachu has been voiced by Ikue Otani in both the Japanese and North American versions. She IS Pikachu in my mind. So while it is nice to see her get a role in the movie as Pikachu, it doesn't make sense. When Pikachu isn't possessed by Harry's soul/body, yes, it makes sense for Pikachu to sound like that. Why does Pikachu have two voices post-transformation though? Ryan Reynolds should be the one saying, "Pika Pika" after that.
15 Pikachu Talking
On that note why exactly can Tim understand Pikachu? Later on the same rules don’t apply to other people Pokémon, or should I call them Peoplemon? For example, after the entirety of Ryme City has been transferred into their Pokémon, Pikachu runs into Psyduck, or that is to say, Lucy as Psyduck. Lucy is the one speaking to Pikachu, but all we hear is the normal Psyduck voice. I just don't get how these freaking rules work in this convoluted story!
14 Tim Not Recognizing His Dad’s Voice
Furthermore, I would also like to ask the audience. I have no idea how Tim can understand Pikachu's voice when no one else can. I would say I have a theory on that, but it also doesn't make sense. In my mind, you could say he understands him because of the father and son connection. Yet, if that is true, then why doesn't Tim recognize his dad's voice? Is he hearing the Ikue Otani version and we, as the audience, only hear Ryan Reynolds? I just, yeah, I don't get it.
13 Who Was This For?
I'm not exactly sure who this movie was made for. On one hand, you could say it was made for the Pokémon fans that have been with the series since it began in 1996 in Japan and 1998 in North America aka people my age. It does have quite a bit of grown-up situations and stuff that can fly over kids’ heads, but so do a lot of young movies. On the other hand, there is a lot of potty humor that is seemingly for that younger crowd, but it's also too complicated for kids to get.
12 Harry’s Healing
At the end of the movie, Mewtwo reveals to Tim that Pikachu volunteered its body to save the mind of his dad, who apparently was about to perish. That would then make us believe that Harry has to be trapped forever in Pikachu because his body was toast. Except for the fact that seconds later Mewtwo reverses the process and Harry is totally fine. So my question is, how was being inside Pikachu good for the healing process of Harry? Again, what exactly are Mewtwo's freaking powers?
11 Everything To Do With Mr. Mime
Most of Mr. Mime's scenes were spoiled in the trailers, which are unfortunate, but there were still some surprises. For example, they didn't show any of the parts where Tim starts miming in order to get Mr. Mime to talk. This is probably because pouring gasoline on it and threatening to burn Mr. Mime alive is pretty dark for a commercial and the movie in general. I don't exactly know how Tim knows how to mime though. It's established that he studied to be a Pokémon trainer so sure he knows Pokémon moves, but miming goes beyond that.
10 The Underground Arena
How is the underground fighting arena a secret? When Tim and Pikachu go to check it out it seems pretty out in the open. There was no security or even a password system to stop them from going in. This seems like a pretty bad oversight on the club's part. No wonder Harry and Tim were both able to infiltrate the area. It's one of the cooler scenes in the movie don't get me wrong. As a secret though, it shouldn't have been as exposed as it was.
9 Howard’s Biggest Mistake
Let's go back to Howard's plan for a second and analyze the smaller part of it. All along he was trying to figure out a way to get his mind inside of Mewtwo's. Eventually, he discovers that he can put on a magical head thing in order to control Mewtwo. At this point, he knows that it can store bodies inside Pokémon though. So after he takes control of Mewtwo with his gadget why doesn't he then order it to capture his body inside Mewtwo? Seems like a pretty obvious plan to me.
8 Pikachu’s Injury
Was anyone else confused about Pikachu almost perishing? If you blinked you would have missed the incredibly small pebble that hit Pikachu thus taking him into a critical state. What? He's a Pokémon! They take a lot worse beatings than that. Pikachu even gets hit worse like in the Pokémon arena. Why was that pebble so significant? The writers needed to get Harry to Mewtwo, but they didn't have to "injure" Pikachu in order to do it. It should have been a more intense scene to convey the injury onto Pikachu.
7 Why Didn’t Lucy Go With Tim?
On that note why was Lucy barred from going with Tim to heal Pikachu? The Bulbasaur kind of blocked her off, but not completely. She should have gone along since, you know, criminals were chasing them and you gain strength in numbers. Plus consider the fact that they all almost just bought the big one because of the Torterra landslides. That was nuts! It made no sense to me whatsoever that Lucy couldn't, or didn't go with Tim.
6 The Power Of Ryme City
Ryme City sure paints a weird picture for the rest of the Pokémon universe. It's a paradise where people and Pokémon can coexist in harmony, right? So is that saying that the rest of the world is wrong? The Pokémon series has always been sort of weird about this what with the whole idea of young boys and girls traveling the world to seemingly enslave creatures for battle. It's pretty dark when you think about it until you get to the peaceful paradise that is Ryme City.
5 Are There Pokémon Apartments?
There is something else I don't quite understand about the whole Ryme City deal. The whole paradise angle is fine in my book even if it paints a weird picture for the rest of the word. What I want to know is where do Pokémon sleep? In the streets? Do they get apartments? I know some clearly have jobs like that Machamp working as a road worker. Do they then get money? It's all very interesting to ponder and I wish the movie filled in those blanks more.
4 Pokémon Cries
There are two big distinctions between the Pokémon anime and the games. In the anime Pokémon, for the most part, say their names when they talk. In the games, all except for Pikachu eventually, they just make distinct growls. The movie is a weird cross between these two things where some Pokémon talk by saying their name like Pikachu and Psyduck for example. One of the weird things to me is the fact that some Pokémon who were voiced before no longer do. Bulbasaur in the anime used to, but now it just makes weird squeaks. It threw me off.
3 That Final Scene
When Ryan Reynolds voiced Pikachu, he and Tim had excellent chemistry with each other. When Reynolds became a man aka Harry again, he and Tim had absolutely no chemistry. The scene where they say goodbye just felt so weird and awkward so much so that Tim changing his mind, in the end, made no sense. Why wouldn't they discuss plans before going to the station because I assume this is a few days later, or at least one day? Wouldn't they have talked things out beforehand?
2 Tim’s Trainer Past
It is implied that Tim used to be a Pokémon trainer and that he had a big match coming up before his mom got sick and passed. I don't understand why he quit training Pokémon. I get being sad after a mother passing and even that he becomes estranged with Harry since he too was distraught, so much so that he decided to bury himself in his work. I just don't understand quitting Pokémon at that age. The movie was pretty crammed with plot details already so I get why they didn't explore this avenue, but it does make me curious.
1 Don’t Go For The Tail
There are a lot of dark themes in this movie, but the scariest moment is in the underground arena. When Pikachu is in danger of being wrecked by Charizard, Tim jumps into the ring to help out. He does this by trying to stamp out Charizard's tail, which made both the audience in the movie gasp along with myself. You don't' do that! We learn throughout the film that Tim has a pretty good knowledge of Pokémon thus he knows Charizard has a tail weakness: one that can literally make it perish. That is too extreme a step for Tim!