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Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Reviewed By: Steven Yoder

Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) directs and co-writes Pokémon Detective Pikachu to bring favorite childhood characters to life in all their CGI glory. And while the story is solid and the film is generally fun, it could have used a bit more emotional investment between the characters to truly put it over the top.Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) seems to be the only person to NOT have a personal Pokémon. Even his estranged police detective father has his own Pikachu as a partner. Just when he is taking an interest in having one, he learns that his father has been killed in an auto accident. To settle his father's affairs he travels to Ryme City, where humans and Pokémon live and work together in harmony. There, he encounters that Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) who insists that Tim's father is alive. Together, they embark on a quest to find out what really happened in the accident.The story is satisfying, although a little slow early on. Most of this comes from a lack of emotional connections, both between characters and also with the audience. This is the primary stumble in an otherwise solid tale.Whether it is the story, the direction, or the acting, the characters are less believable somehow. They come across as more like characters on a flat page than on a big screen. Even veteran Bill Nighy as media conglomerate head Howard Clifford isn't as engaging as he could have been. Ryan Reynolds channels a mostly-G version of his Deadpool into Pikachu, and even this feels like a missed opportunity until later in the film. Kathryn Newton (Blockers) as reporter wanna-be Lucy Stevens is the best asset as the strong, sometimes frantic female that all incarnations of Pokémon require.As with anything Pokémon, the Pokémon themselves are the real stars, and CGI looks really good on them. Even though their scenes are usually easy to follow, viewers will be hard-pressed to see everyone in a single showing. They are vivid, cleanly meshed with the humans… and EVERYWHERE, especially in and around Ryme City. Now-adult fans of the television series will enjoy trying to catch 'em all.Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a good film and a strong first entry into CGI for the large cast of fantastic creatures. Enjoyable for any audience, it will be primarily loved by those looking back at the series nostalgically. Hopefully, there are more future opportunities for us to see Pikachu and friends protect the world from devastation.