A live-action Pokemon movie is coming, and it’s based on the Detective Pikachu spin-off game. We’ve known this, and yet the concept has still seemed unknowable. But now there’s a trailer, and our feelings are...confusing.
Now, obviously, this movie is 100% brand-driven. The Pokemon logo sits atop the movie’s title, for one thing, and the filmmakers have taken care not to mess with any character designs, other than to render them photorealistically. The voice of Ryan Reynolds, clearly cast for name recognition over vocal suitability, isn’t exactly what you’d expect to come out of Pikachu, but it seems like the movie actually kinda deals with that.
But it also looks significantly better than could have been expected. I was expecting a bright, family-friendly movie in the vein of Alvin and the Chipmunks, but this thing looks like an expensive-as-fuck four-quadrant sci-fi blockbuster. The cinematography, by Gladiator and Logan DOP John Mathieson, is downright gorgeous. The script comes courtesy of Guardians of the Galaxy’s Nicole Perlman and director Rob Letterman, whose Goosebumps movie was also surprisingly solid. And, right hand to God, the addition of realistic fur to Pikachu suggests that Pikachu-peril is going to be an emotional time at the cinema.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu hits cinemas May 11th, 2019, and will probably make bank overseas at the very least, all but guaranteeing a new cinematic universe on the block. Are you into it? And if so, are you into Pokemon or not? This trailer has inspired a fascinating range of reactions from people in both categories. The universe continues to confound.