Unpopular Opinion: ‘Detective Pikachu’ is Going to be Good
Detective Pikachu should have a gruffer voice. The contrast of a deep and rough voice coming out of a cute and cuddly Pokémon is comedy 101. Although, casting Deadpool as the mascot is about as wasteful of an opportunity as me not asking out that girl in sixth grade when she said, “If I had to choose anyone to be my boyfriend, I guess I’d choose you.” Okay, I’ve gotten that out of my system. That’s the last bad thing I’m going to say about this movie because…guess what?
Detective Pikachu looks good.
Yeah, I said it. Detective Pikachu looks adorable and fun, and I can’t wait to sit down in the theaters opening night to watch it with all the little kids because this movie is the one light in a world eclipsed by darkness. This movie will cure my depression, clear my skin, and water my crops for a bountiful spring harvest single-handed.
Oh, what’s that? The Pokémon looks “unsettling?” They aren’t the small and fluffy Pokémon you thought they were in the games? You thought this was going to be like Pokémon GO?
…You fool. You absolute philistine. Pokémon are creatures of mass destruction packed into something that kind of looks like a house cat. Have you read some of those Pokédex entries? It’s a mystery how Pokémon isn’t categorized as a horror series. Yet, they coexist relatively peacefully with humans through the sheer power of friendship, and you know what? They’re cute. They all look cute, and if the worst thing to be said about this movie is that “the made up animals with superpowers don’t look realistic.” I’d say that’s a pretty good track record.
Do you remember that one episode of the Pokémon cartoon where Officer Jenny trained a K-9 unit of Growlithes? Detective Pikachu remembers. It remembers hard, and it set its sights on hitting you right between the eyes in your nostalgia center. Do you know Joltik? The electric spider Pokémon? Where do you think it hangs out? You took too long, and Detective Pikachu already answered it for you: the phone lines. You need someone to direct traffic on a busy intersection, while also functioning as a crossing guard? Don’t stick a person there because that’s a waste of resources and tax dollars (well, do people in the Pokémon world pay taxes?), just stick a Machamp there; it’s got four arms for a reason. Also, of course, Jigglypuff is a lounge singer because for Arceus’s sake—what else would it be? Seeing Mewtwo on screen, in full CGI rather than 2D animation, was like seeing an old friend finally achieve their dream in real life. Their success is my success, and I love them.
Every shot or frame of the two trailers released alone are a Where’s Waldo? style goldmine for longtime fans, trying to spot every Pokémon that the filmmakers have shoved in. Honestly, that’s what I love about this movie so far, that you can tell the people behind this have thoroughly brainstormed what a modern world populated by Pokémon would look like and how it would function. The film’s greatest strength at this moment in time is how it breathes life into a fantastical concept that we’ve only dreamed of seeing since we were arguing with that one kid on the playground about whether or not rapidly tapping ‘A’ would increase your chances of successfully catching a Pokémon (the answer is: it does and you can’t convince me otherwise).
Jokes aside, is there a solid chance that the story is going to end up just being mediocre, or straight up bad? Absolutely, but I’m going to give Detective Pikachu the benefit of the doubt—because it looks incredibly self-aware of how ridiculous it is, and that knowledge has allowed the filmmakers to run wild with every creative decision they’ve made so far. It also seems like it’s paid off so far. Even if the story ends up being nonsensical to the point of absurdity, it’s still going to be one of the most visually dynamic films of 2019. It’s going to be a love letter to any person that’s ever held a Pokémon game in their hands because no matter which point you jumped onto the bandwagon, the film has that little easter egg that you’ll catch. It’s going to have that core theme of companionship and camaraderie that resonates with any fan of this worldwide franchise about bonding with your glorified pets. Man, if that doesn’t tug at your heartstrings (even a little), then you need 10ccs of childlike wonder…stat.
Here’s the bottom line: Detective Pikachu is going to be the funnest movie of 2019, and you can catch me waiting in line with my dusty, old Pokéball toy (I KNOW you have one, too. Don’t lie to me) with at least fifteen other manchildren because we all need a little magic in our jaded and twisted adult lives.
If they play the original theme song during the end credits, I’m going to cry tears of pure joy.
-Derek Luat Tran