Hello Pokémaniacs, Jim the Editor here.
Now, I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for Chris’ thoughts on Detective Pikachu; well, I have some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that Chris has a very long post – so long that it might turn out to be 2 posts – with all the thoughts he can muster about the long-awaited live-action Pokémon adaptation.
The bad news is that there were some minor structural issues I had with the draft and Chris has begrudgingly agreed to make a few changes here and there to ensure that we put out only the best content for all of you.
In the meantime, because we promised Detective Pikachu content today, we decided to give you all a special Jim the Editor post containing my 5 favourite scenes from the movie!
There will be spoilers – you have been warned!
NUMBER 5: NOSTALGIA BAIT – Jigglypuff and Magikarp
Okay, so you may have noticed that immediately I am cheating with this list. This isn’t a single scene but two different scenes which on their own probably didn’t quite have enough to make the list. But I really wanted to talk about them and this is my list so screw it, I’ve decided they can go together because of their shared theme – they were designed to play on our knowledge of and love for the Pokémon anime.
The first of these scenes comes in a coffee house where we get a brief clip of a Jigglypuff singing next to a sleeping man. Of course, this almost has to be a reference to the singing Jigglypuff who terrorised Ash and the gang throughout much of the first season of the anime series… though there is also a Jigglypuff who stands in the corner of the Pewter City Pokémon Centre along with a man in the first generation of games so this reference could be doing double duty.
The second of these references happens at the end of the sequence in the underground battle den. Faced with a rampaging Charizard and the realisation that he has forgotten how to use his electrical powers, Pikachu thinks laterally and attempts to employ that water-type powerhouse Magikarp to battle in his stead…. Well, not exactly. Pikachu wants Magikarp to evolve into Gyarados… which it eventually does after some slight mistreatment from Pikachu. The result is a very unimpressed Gyarados which admittedly does put a stop to Charizard… Where have we seen this sequence before? Well, it matches up fairly well with that from the SS Anne episode of the anime where Team Rocket’s James’ mistreatment of his Magikarp causes it to evolve and when it does, well, let’s say it’s not overly happy with the situation either!
Each of these Easter eggs – if you want to call them that – fit well within the plot of the movie as a whole. They didn’t disturb the narrative or feel out of place, they just slotted right in with a slight wink at the knowing audience and this Pokémon fan was very happy for them!
NUMBER 4: THE BATTLE FOR RYME CITY
In some ways, it could be seen as a disappointment that the climax of the film is not higher on this list. Although I do have my share of problems with this scene, I think that my ranking of the scene as a whole has more to do with how much I enjoyed the scenes I have ranked above it. Undeniably, the battle between our heroes and Howard Clifford/Mewtwo and his Ditto was a fairly epic showdown and a satisfactory ending to the movie as a whole. There was tension, high stakes, danger, heroism and the true bond between friends all on display. I mean, what more could you ask for?
I mean aside from the major female protagonist being given some agency…
NUMBER 3: THE MARKET SCENE
I imagine this might seem a bit of a rogue entry to some of you. This scene doesn’t contain the action of others, or even a great comedic moment – though I did find this a little humorous. It finds its way onto my list because of what this scene means for the movie and how it breathes life into the world the movie is set in.
After being chased through and off of an apartment building, Tim and Pikachu find themselves on the streets in the middle of what seems to be some kind of market. It is in this scene that it is established for sure that Tim and Pikachu share this strange bond, being able to communicate with one another; this scene is necessary for Tim to come to terms with this bond and the movie does it in a way that not only showcases a ton of other Pokémon, but also at the same time demonstrates to the audience that Ryme City is a vibrant, thriving, living city. I loved this. I loved the way it was shot and the way it was written – the audience hearing Pikachu from an outsider’s perspective for the first time. Those little squeaks confirming that something truly weird was going on between our two main characters.
NUMBER 2: ENTER MEWTWO
One scene in this movie gave me chills. Just one. And it somehow finds its way stuck at number two?! Don’t worry, I’ll justify this all later – you’ll see. But the scene in question was the first meeting between Tim and Mewtwo.
After escaping from the gigantic genetically-altered Torterra, Pikachu is in a bad way. Our heroes are found by a group of Bulbasaur who take them into a valley and suddenly there he is… Mewtwo. The way they created his speech (the movie calls Mewtwo, ‘he’ throughout, so I’m rolling with that) by blending male and female voices made the hair on the back of my neck tingle. Mewtwo had such a presence in this scene. He cast such an imposing figure, especially since at this time, his motives weren’t all too clear.
Then the scene itself. It teases you. Goes back and forward, half revealing information and before the whole story can be revealed, Mewtwo is captured once more! The scene shifts our reading of the movie up to this point, forces us to reconsider the entire plot, sets the table for the final showdown in Ryme City, and does so masterfully.
It wouldn’t be a list on the internet without building up some tension before announcing the Number 1 and going through some honourable mentions, so quickly, here we go:
Mr Mime interrogation scene – low-bar comedy, but very well executed.
Lickitung on the train – c’mon people, you can’t let those things wander around licking people willy-nilly!
Every exchange between Pikachu and Psyduck – ‘nuff said.
NUMBER 1: TIM AND THE CUBONE
This scene does so much work. I’m not going to go into all the details here because it will feature later in another post about this movie (hint hint) but this was a fantastic scene. There has never been an opening scene that embodies the premise of ‘show, don’t tell’ alongside the use of character-driven dialogue as exposition in any other Pokémon movie or indeed property, than this scene here. It captures the magic of the Pokémon world. I knew as soon as I saw this scene that I was going to love this movie. And I wasn’t wrong.
So, that was my Top 5 Scenes from the Detective Pikachu movie.
Do you agree with me? Of course not, this is the internet!
But if you do feel strongly about anything I’ve said let me know in the comments below.
Anyway, that’s more than enough from me and we’ll now return you to your usual Pokémaniacal content.