Detective Pikachu analysis and review (part 1 of 2)

Yes, that’s right; it’s time to take a break from reviewing generation VII Pokémon and take a look at THE CINEMATIC EVENT OF THE DECADE, the movie so many of us have spent basically our entire lives waiting for: Legendary Pictures’ Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (hereafter just Detective Pikachu because… come on, Pokémon Company International; just get the fµ¢£ over yourselves).  Clearly it is my responsibility, as a mad person writing about Pokémon on the internet, to discuss whether I think Detective Pikachu is a successful movie.

…I mean, [spoiler alert], the answer’s yes, but we’re going to talk about why.

I’m interested in this film on two levels.  First, this is arguably the first Pokémon movie that is meant to have mass appeal outside of just fans of the Pokémon games.  A lot of Pokémon movies are, let’s face it, vehicles for featuring legendary Pokémon that play prominent roles in recent or upcoming games, and their writing is… well, let’s call it hit-and-miss.  Guys… I love the Lugia movie as much as anyone, but Casablanca it is not.  Frankly, I think you can make a plausible, albeit facetious, argument that up until now the best Pokémon movie was actually Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  Now, Detective Pikachu isn’t Casablanca either, but it is at least a decent movie in its own right (which is a high bar for movies based on video games!).  The second thing I’m interested in is that, aside from just being live action, Detective Pikachu is the first Pokémon movie that is creatively independent from the Pokémon anime (and doesn’t feature Ash Ketchum), which makes it a fundamentally new type of addition to the franchise that has its own take on Pokémon’s core themes.  So, tomorrow I’m going to talk about why Detective Pikachu is specifically a good Pokémon movie, and today I’m going to talk about why it’s a decent movie generally: in short, it’s well-cast and acted, with (I will argue) a coherent theme that ties in with the main character’s arc and its central conflict, and was, at the very least, not a commercial flop.  And, y’know, some significant flaws, which I also am going to talk about because they will eat at me if I don’t.

I was going to start this whole thing with a synopsis, but frankly I tried to write one and it was just too long, and there will be other summaries on the internet that you can read first if you don’t want to see the movie but are still interested in what I have to say, so I’m just going to get straight to analysis.  Please bear in mind that although I took some notes during the movie, quotations are from memory and may not be verbatim, and of course, it should go without saying: HERE BE SPOILERS!

Continue reading “Detective Pikachu analysis and review (part 1 of 2)”

Detective Pikachu top 5 scenes

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!

Continue reading “Detective Pikachu top 5 scenes”

Anime Time: Episodes 69 and 70

Lights, Camera, Quack-tion – Go West, Young Meowth

We’re doing these two episodes together because the plot of the second follows directly on from the first, but to be honest Lights, Camera, Quack-tion is really not all that interesting an episode, and beyond giving a brief (hah!) synopsis of the story, as I usually do, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it.  Most of this entry is instead going to deal with Go West, Young Meowth.  That one is incredibly interesting because it’s the one that gives us Meowth’s backstory, and Meowth – the Pokémon who goes out of his way to act like a human – is in a position to say all kinds of neat things about what it means to be a Pokémon or a human.  So, not much time and a lot to say; pretty much par for the course around here.  Let’s get to it!

“Prepare for trouble!  No stun double!  To protect the movies from devastation!  To restore spectacle and imagination!  To make great epics of hate and love!  To direct the best films you've ever heard of!  Cleavon Schpielbunk!  Winner of the Golden Growlithe for best director at the Flea Collar Film Festival!  Lights!  Camera!  Hit your mark when I call action or prepare to fight; THAT'S RIGHT!”
“Prepare for trouble! No stun double! To protect the movies from devastation! To restore spectacle and imagination! To make great epics of hate and love! To direct the best films you’ve ever heard of! Cleavon Schpielbunk! Winner of the Golden Growlithe for best director at the Flea Collar Film Festival! Lights! Camera! Hit your mark when I call action or prepare to fight; THAT’S RIGHT!”

In Lights, Camera, Quack-tion, the kids are out looking for a good spot to settle down and train for a while when they blunder into the midst of a film crew, led by the legendary director Cleavon Schpielbunk.  Schpielbunk is known for artsy films that receive critical acclaim but suffer at the box office, like Brock’s favourite movie of all time, I Saw What You Ate Last Tuesday.  His next production is going to be called Pokémon in Love, and will only star Pokémon.  He’s looking for a Pokémon to co-star opposite his Wigglytuff, a foul-tempered, thin-skinned prima donna.  Several Pokémon audition: Pikachu, Psyduck, Vulpix, Jessie and James’ Arbok and Weezing, Meowth, a Raichu belonging to a trainer the kids met earlier, and a random Doduo, Hitmonlee and Tauros.  The first round of auditions, dance, eliminates the Pokémon we don’t care about.  The second requires a duet with Wigglytuff.  Meowth flat out refuses, telling Wigglytuff “I work alone,” and Arbok and Weezing’s cringe-inducing performances earn vicious Doubleslaps.  All the other Pokémon slink off, unwilling to risk Wigglytuff’s wrath… except Psyduck.  Schpielbunk shrugs and awards Psyduck the part, to a mixture of pride and bemusement from Misty, then explains the plot of his film.  Pokémon in Love is a tale of star-crossed lovers that essentially rips off a fairly significant portion of Romeo and Juliet; Misty comments that it doesn’t sound very original, but Ash and Brock are moved to tears (in fairness to Schpielbunk, Romeo and Juliet itself was basically ripping off the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe from Ovid’s Metamorphoses).  The climactic scene calls for Wigglytuff and Psyduck to try to end a battle between their feuding families, only for Psyduck to be killed in the crossfire.  While the crew films this scene, Team Rocket shows up and deploys one of their patented godawful machines to capture all the Pokémon – except Psyduck.  Misty shouts at Psyduck until his headache-based superpowers kick in, and he is able to free all the Pokémon and hurl Team Rocket off into the sunset.  Schpielbunk calls cut, and decides he somehow has basically enough for an awesome movie.

Continue reading “Anime Time: Episodes 69 and 70”