Detective Pikachu Had One Job To Do And It Nailed It

Detective Pikachu Tim Pikachu and Lucy look up at the incoming threat

Going into Pokemon: Detective Pikachu this past weekend, there was a lot of anticipation as to how the first live-action entry in the Pokemon canon was going to pull off what seemed impossible. Indeed, there was one job that this film had to do, and it needed to get it done properly. That task was to create a world where people and Pokemon could live together in a way that was believable on film.

After seeing the film twice this past weekend, I was struck with the same feeling in each viewing of Pokemon: Detective Pikachu: the world of Pokemon was absolutely nailed in the film. What’s better is, this monumental achievement was accomplished thanks to several components the film incorporated into its whole.

While it was one job that needed to be done, to make the world of Pokemon believable on screen, several components needed to be in place in order for total success. And here’s our list of what those components were and how they benefitted the film’s overall goal of bringing these Pocket Monsters to life in a believable manner.

Detective Pikachu and Tim listening intently in Clifford's office

Pokemon Have Been Translated Perfectly To Live Action

With creatures as unique-looking as Pokemon are, there was obviously a need to get their appearance correct in Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. And if there was any component that this world would need to build the rest of its strategy upon, it’d be the fact that if you don’t have Pokemon that look comparatively believable in a world full of flesh and blood humans, your movie’s not going to make it very far.

Lucky for director Rob Letterman and the rest of the folks involved in Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, the actual creatures that populate this film's universe are absolutely stunning. In particular, the look of Detective Pikachu himself, with very wavy and texture fur covering every inch of his person, is a firm example of how getting the design of a Pokemon is so crucial to correctly conveying the entire enterprise this film represents.

Detective Pikachu enjoying a cup of coffee standing on Harry's desk

Detective Pikachu Showed That A Parent/Child Friendly Tone Can Be Struck

Ryan Reynolds has basically admitted that if Warner Bros and The Pokemon Company really wanted to, they could release a separate, more mature cut of Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. While that isn’t a surprise, it’s also equally unsurprising that the finished product released into theaters this past weekend played exceedingly well for children and parents, with two levels of humor present in one package.

For the children, the physical antics involving all of the characters present throughout Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, as well as some good natured humor, are easy to enjoy while watching the Pokemon of this universe do their thing. Meanwhile, there was some subtle, line-toeing innuendos that slid into the script for parents to get some sly chuckles out of, such as Detective Pikachu’s off-handed comment about people putting their fingers in him. All in all, everyone could have a laugh, and no one had to be any wiser about the fun stuff that snuck in for older viewers.

Detective Pikachu falling towards an angry Charizard

The Movie Created A Fantastic Story Out Of An Open Ended Game Universe

When you’re trying to craft a universe as spectacular as Pokemon: Detective Pikachu in a live-action film, another key component is using the source material to your advantage. And as it turns out, Pokemon has a storied history of telling a narrative in the open-ended universe of the original games. But even with that history, this film’s story exceeded expectations.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu not only plays around with the usual story of Pokemon and their place in a world of humans that's also been explored in animated TV shows and movies, it also dug into a story of a son dealing with his feelings towards his father. With Justice Smith’s Tim trying to sort out his feelings of his presumed dead father, while solving a case with his Pikachu partner, married a very emotional story with the usual message of co-existence between the species that Pokemon has always tried to advance.

Detective Pikachu Lucy and Psyduck stand in the street during parade prep

It Proved That People Still Want To See A Pokemon Movie

You can make a movie look, sound and feel as fantastic as Pokemon: Detective Pikachu all you want, but if people aren’t interested in the content, any potential cinematic universe will fall flat on its face. Getting the world of Pokemon itself was a big step, but the greatest thing this movie did was prove the fact that people are still very much invested in the property’s fate.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu managed to not only make itself a movie that was worth seeing, but it also attracted fans of the franchise and newbies to flock to theaters and see what it had. If anyone was wondering if what Pokemon would look like in a live-action adventure, all they have to do now is go see this film and they’ll find out. The ultimate sign that Warner Bros nailed Pokemon on the big screen is the fact that so many people have already gone to see it in its first weekend, with more weekends ahead to show just how well the idea holds up.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu’s one important job was to convince the world that Pokemon could believably exist alongside humans, be it in the fictional confines of Ryme City or the world of our modern blockbuster box office. Through the factors described above, that job was absolutely nailed, and a promising new cinematic universe was born.

We’ll have to wait and see what the future for Pokemon looks like, as Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is still in its first week of release. But if the results are as promising as the film itself, we might not have seen the last of these lovable creatures, or the stories they can tell. Here’s hoping we get a chance to catch them all.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is in theaters now. If you haven’t seen it yet, whether you’re a Pokemon fan or not, you owe it to yourself to experience the wonder first hand.

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.