IIn the early nineties we did not seem able to breathe without the announcement of another dark and edgy remake of a classic childhood story. It was the age of transformers, that's horrible Dragon Ball film and M Night Shyamalan think he might be better in one way or another Avatar: The Last Airbender.
But after all the dark times an age of enlightenment must come, and Detective Pikachu should be our next renaissance. If you had told me as a child that realistic CGI-type Pokémon would run my engine in a futuristic megacity, I would not believe you. Now, in 2018, this is the only thing that makes me spend the winter.
First and foremost: the starting point of the film is not as random as it seems. While Ryan Reynolds plays a rodent rodent detective in a live action, Western Pokémon film may seem like an arbitrary deposit. Detective Pikachu franchise has been around for a few years now. The full game was released this year, but since 2016 there is a shorter taste of the end product.
The games and the film have many common features: both are set in Ryme City. Both have a boy named Tim Goodman who has lost his father and who is uniquely able to understand the language of a fatherly Pikachu. Both have a female sidekick who is a journalist, although the character of the film has a Psyduck while the Emilia game did not have anyone. Both also contain Pokémon that is unusually aggressive in a city where Pokémon and people live in harmony.
It is noteworthy that this is caused in the games by a medicine that is generated by a berserk gene in Mewtwo. You may remember that telekinetic human-like from the first animated Pokémon film, which every child saw in cinemas and cried when Ash turned into stone for a moment. There is no evidence yet that he will appear in this film, but he is central to the plot of the original.
The trailer does not give much away about a plot that goes beyond the above agreements. Instead, it treats us to many vignettes with some of the Pokémon that we see in the movie. Quite smart, the trailer – if not the film – has concentrated around some of the first 151, with later generations making eye-catching appearances in the background. The only late arrival we see is the frog ninja Greninja, while the rest of the scenes focus on Jigglypuff, Mr Mime and Charizard.
All known Pokémon look a little strange because the movie has decided to go to the city on the CGI: anyone who imagines that Jigglypuff would be fur rather than elastic, is about to wake up rudely, while he anthropomorphic Pokémon like Mr sees Bootst next to normal people is troubling at best. A few images that have come out of the models for this Pokémon show the level of detail to make sure everything looks like the original source.
However, it is logical: if you want to create the illusion of both Pokémon and people living in the same world, the monsters will have to come closer to what we could see if we went into nature ourselves. And after all, it was Satoshi Tajiri's love of collecting critters that inspired the game in the first place, so nature in the real world has always had a place in Pokémon biology.
Remarkable: realistic Pokémon fan art has long been a thing and it always attracts an audience. It turns out that RJ Palmer, one of the best in this specific niche field, actually works as an artist in the film.
A talking Pikachu may also seem a strange choice, especially after a controversial scene on the 20th – 20th! – animated film with a talking Pikachu and about no one was satisfied.
Yet the creators of the game made it very clear that talking Pokémon were always part of the plan for the series, and not just Digimon. According to an interview with the team behind it Detective Pikachu, it appears that the original Pokémon anime could have shown all Pokémon speakers. The developer of the game, Game Freak, was not satisfied with all proposed attempts and so only the talking Meowth made the cut.
But perhaps the most constructive of the trailer is the huge number of Easter eggs for fans of the game in the long run. There seems to be no poster, billboard or neon sign that contains no reference to anything in the series, and even the leitmotifs of the musical characteristics are drawn directly from the original score. This is clearly a film developed by a team with a real passion for the world in which it takes place, rather than just people who want to benefit from a successful franchise with little or no interest in his knowledge.
When you tackle a beloved trait like Pokémon, which is now more than 20 years old, it costs a lot of cojones and a lot of research. The gambling and the way they are paid off show a group of people who know how to print the envelope and how they can concentrate on what they do. Will the film please everyone? Probably not. But it seems the best way to bring a youth classic into a more mature, realistic environment for the fans who grew up with it.
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