Pokemon Detective Pikachu
The Dove Take:
Despite some crude humor, violence, and allusions to drug use, the film’s main theme of positive relationship building rings true from start to finish.
An exciting, action-packed mystery film, Pokemon Detective Pikachu takes audiences on a twisting adventure through a world where cooperation between humans and their Pokémon partners is commonplace.
As a film that marks the first live-action entry into a franchise that has long been animated, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu displayed a willingness to change the series’ tone to match its art style. While previous Pokémon films were not always lighthearted, Detective Pikachu does have a plot that is darker at its core than we have seen before. Additionally, Ryan Reynolds’ take on The Pokémon Company’s mascot, Pikachu, is drastically different from past iterations of the character. Full of suggestive and crude humor that is evident throughout the film, he even displays an addiction to caffeine that one can easily call unhealthy.
Despite these flaws, the relationship that Pikachu and our protagonist Tim (Justice Smith) build together throughout the film is one to be celebrated, not only in how well it is written, but in how well it is physically portrayed on screen between a live actor and a fully CGI character. In fact, this bond is the cornerstone of a film whose main theme focuses on building relationships. We are immersed in a world where Pokémon are viewed as equal partners with humans and not as tools to simply be used, which differs largely from past Pokémon movies.
Witnessing this evolution in presentation is a surprising joy to behold on screen, for Detective Pikachu has its CGI creations and live actors expertly work together in the same harmony that the world in which they live is trying to promote. It takes us on an exciting, yet admittedly more violent adventure than it would have a more animated past. However, this adventure results in Detective Pikachu‘s apex: the culmination of a reconciling important relationships and echoing of heroic themes that even loftier films have only tried to achieve.
Detective Pikachu earns the Dove-Approved Seal for Ages 12+ in one of the rare situations where crude humor does not torpedo the overall positive message.