To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Pokemon Detective Pikachu Ticket

Pokemon Detective Pikachu raising a magnifying glass to its eye

Whenever there’s a 3D movie presented to the public, it’s a fair assumption that it wants to be the very best, like no one ever was. So when Pokemon Detective Pikachu announced it was going into the third dimension, you could very well imagine that one of its causes, besides entertaining the masses and bringing Pokemon to live action, would be that very prospect.

But as we’ve seen in the past, ambition can be hobbled by slip ups here and there. So we naturally find ourselves asking that big question life likes to hand us from time to time: to 3D or not to 3D? If you want to see what we thought of Pokemon Detective Pikachu, you can pika pika your way over to our official review and read the rundown.

For now though, it’s time to slip on those classic black glasses, pour another round of coffee (extra shot, black as night, thank you so much) and see if Detective Pikachu’s big adventure is worth the extra ticket money, or if you’d be better off buying a coffee to help keep you buzzed through the film.

3D Fit Score: 5/5

Taking one look at the trailers for Pokemon Detective Pikachu, you could see that the 3D could be strong with this one. Between the amazing abilities that Pokemon execute in battles and life-saving danger, and the world of Ryme City being so lushly drawn, there was no way that this was going to stay a standard 2D film for long. Putting the right post-conversion job on this film would make Pokemon Detective Pikachu a marvel to behold.

Planning & Effort Score: 4/5

In the screening of Pokemon Detective Pikachu that I attended, there were definitely some flaws in the presentation. However, I’m not so sure they were on the Planning & Effort side of the house, as the visuals held up rather well. The biggest issue I ran into was, surprise surprise, the brightness of the picture. Since that’s a big variable that depends on the location you’re visiting to see a movie like Pokemon Detective Pikachu, I can’t lay that at the feet of the 3D crew; especially when the depth and projection of the film’s enhancements work so well.

Before the Window Score: 4/5

While I would have expected more visual assets being thrown off of the screen and into the laps of the audience, Pokemon Detective Pikachu certainly doesn’t let the Before The Window quotient go to waste. There’s some pretty impressive moments of objects being pointed at the screen, and even some good Pokemon attacks that do manage to come at the audience in brief moments. The large battle in the third act particularly uses this aspect of the visual palette well, because there’s Pokemon flying into action, and towards the camera, for all to see.

Beyond the Window Score: 5/5

Pokemon Detective Pikachu has an amazing amount of depth to be portrayed in its picture. From the streets of Ryme City, to the countryside and more natural areas of the film’s visuals, there’s not only clear spatial reasoning between characters and their environments, there’s an extra mile that lets the background go on for what feels like forever. Characters are also perfectly spaced from one another, so there’s no confusion as to who’s operating in which piece of the action.

Brightness Score: 3/5

And now we come to the greatest stumbling block for Pokemon Detective Pikachu. As promised, it was the brightness score that threatens to sink the high of seeing Pokemon on the silver screen, in true 3D glory. Now this ultimately comes down to how well your theater maintains its projectors, both in switching between 2D and 3D screenings, as well as maintaining a healthy bulb life. In the case of my screening of the film, the brightness was turned down way too low, which dulled the colors being presented on the screen more than they would be by just slipping on the glasses. Your mileage may vary on this factor, and it’s suggested you see this 3D presentation in a theater you know to be maintaining their gear.

Glasses Off Score: 4/5

If your eyes get tired, or your mind gets curious during a 3D film, you’ll want to slip those glasses off and see what the world looks like without the aid of polarized lenses. Which leads to you, the audience, seeing that classic 3D blur that folks have been talking about for ages. Usually, the blur means that the picture is being manipulated to a certain extent, in order to make everything more 3D like; and in the case of Pokemon Detective Pikachu, there’s a real good quotient of blur. Except for some scattered 2D aspects, which tend to be included to help anchor things down or give the eye a break, there’s a lot of blur to the picture. The backgrounds especially benefit from the blur, which more than likely explains the impressive depths of this film’s picture.

Audience Health Score: 3/5

One major factor that knocks down the Audience Health score for Pokemon Detective Pikachu is the lack of brightness. When a film is this dim, you start to feel your eyes getting tired, and you might get crankier than a Psyduck without its spa music. But in addition to that piece of the 3D puzzle wearing on the eye, there’s a couple transitions that feel like they wonk out the 3D picture a little extra. A scene involving a commute on a high speed train is an example of where the eye will be confused, as the panning involved in that shot blurs things a little. You won’t get nauseous, but you might need to take your glasses off more than usual.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a beautiful movie to look at, with some impressive 3D elements that could be even more impressive if shown correctly. It’s hard to totally judge the 3D component, with a screening that was so dark as the one I encountered, but I’d be willing to say that it’s exciting enough to take a chance and see it in a theater you trust to be up to snuff. But if you end up seeing the film in 2D instead, just make sure the screen you see it on is nice and crisp, because this film deserves as clear a picture as possible.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.