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Just Saw Detective Pikachu
Posted: Posted May 27th by mariomguy
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It was a fun movie... but it could've been better. I feel it best to discuss in a pros/cons list:

Pros

Pokemon - The look, the animation, the feel, this movie understands Pokemon. If you were nervous about how Pokemon looked in any of the trailers, don't be. The Pokemon are the stars of the show.

Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu - Yes! Just like the issue with Pokemon, if you had any issues with Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, lay them to rest. He pulls off the voice so well, and it works.

Blade Runner-esque - Ryme City has plenty of Blade Runner-esque vibes, and it's pulled off quite well. It's not off-putting by any means, something so many other movies get wrong.

Cons

Story - It's not bad, it's just, eh, and at times really weird. Good ideas are underutilized, bad ideas are over-utilized, and a lot of stuff is glossed over. But most of the movie is fun, you just have to kind of accept what you get in order to have fun.

Main Character - He's not completely unlikable or horrible, just, eh. The main character has a messed up past, but that's basically the only thing about him that sticks. A personality would be nice.

"Modern Californication" - Basically, it's a Hollywood movie. You have your mixed bag of token races and characters, your gritty city, your eccentricities that nail in the specific time and place this movie was made: it's a modern Hollywood movie that feels like a modern Hollywood movie made for Californians. Pokemon are integrated nicely, but it's a Hollywood movie first.

WTF Plot Moment - The movie's greatest concept hits you in the head like a hammer in the last portion, makes little sense, and is not utilized to its full advantage.

And now, changes I would make to make this movie better:

  • Charizard should not look shiny like a fish. Please.
  • Main character needs a bit more personality. He's believable, I know who this guy is, but that guy is kind of bland.
  • Have a Pikachu training scene. The characters need more time to bond, but the plot gets in the way, and the movie is very plot-heavy.
  • Have a reverse-Pikachu training scene towards the end. Would help the bonding again, and tie things up nicer.
  • Less lampshade hanging. Playing things straight is many times better than calling it out constantly.

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    I quite enjoyed the main guy. I mean, yeah, he's not a wholly unique character in a Hollywood film, or a noir film for that matter, but I thought he did have a personality.

    I don't think a training section would have been necessary at all. They bond pretty naturally, and have plenty of screen time together. They soooort of try to do that with the underground battle scene, and that's all they really need of it. We get to see that he is actually knows what he's talking about as a trainer and - from other means - we know he grew up wanting to be a trainer. He shows potential and knowledge in various ways that are actually more organic to cinema than a random, cliche "training sequence," in my opinion. I actually think that would have "gotten in the way" a lot more than the plot (which, I'm also not really sure what to make of that criticism in a movie where the plot is directly linked to the characters and subsequently their bonding). Like, I understand what that criticism typically refers to, but here, the characters are kind of central to the plot, and the plot intrinsic to the characters bonding. The plot advancing or taking focus actually, more often than not, serves as a bonding moment in the film.

    But also, that training sequence gets kind of even more awkward when you keep in mind that




    I'm not sure what you mean by "It's a Hollywood movie." You might have to go into a little more explanation into what you mean by that as a criticism. I can't honestly say I thought of California once watching the movie, and I'm not sure which characters you are referring to as "token characters."


    Ryan Reynolds is going to be pretty hit or miss, I think. I don't think he did a bad job, but for me - personally - I found him to be pretty meh. Like, I'm not sure I'm super into the "Deadpool for children" thing any more than I'm really into the "Deadpool for adult-children" thing. I actually found him to be more problematic to the bonding issue than the lack of a training sequence.



    Posted May 27th by Jet Presto
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    Charizard should not look shiny like a fish. Please.


    Maybe he's just 1st edition holographic!

    Posted May 27th by Xhin
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    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    I mean, yeah, he's not a wholly unique character in a Hollywood film, or a noir film for that matter, but I thought he did have a personality.

    People are not comparing this to noir, they're comparing it to Pokemon. The characters in Pokemon are rife and brimming with personality. You just don't see that here. It's just passable.

    I actually think that would have "gotten in the way" a lot more than the plot (which, I'm also not really sure what to make of that criticism in a movie where the plot is directly linked to the characters and subsequently their bonding).

    So, the plot makes demands and the characters just follow it. Bonding is not the plot, the plot is something else. A training sequence means Pikachu can actually learn some damn moves instead of the massive plot hole towards the end where he just knows everything, and in the final twist



    I'm not sure what you mean by "It's a Hollywood movie." You might have to go into a little more explanation into what you mean by that as a criticism. I can't honestly say I thought of California once watching the movie, and I'm not sure which characters you are referring to as "token characters."

    Watch any movie that's not a modern Hollywood movie and you'll understand. Hollywood has this checklist of things that they think must belong in every movie, and a lot of that stuff applies here:

  • Gritty-reality city
  • Conspiracy
  • Token racial minorities with wonky representation
  • Post-modern lampshading
  • Including post-modern not-straight emotional scenes
  • Forced emotional scenes that swing out of left field
  • Quantity over quality with twists to make a Twizzler proud
  • No hugging, no kissing, no bonding

    NONE of this is Pokemon. Which is why I say this is a modern Hollywood blockbuster

    Ryan Reynolds is going to be pretty hit or miss, I think. I don't think he did a bad job, but for me - personally - I found him to be pretty meh.

    I actually liked it. It doesn't come off as forced or over the top. Yeah, it could be better (haha, Danny Devito), but Ryan Reynolds put a lot more focus on getting his voice right than the writers put on the script, so I have to give props to him for that. It also makes the reveal at the end more obvious.

    Maybe he's just 1st edition holographic!

    No. Please. Scales are WAY too big, surface way too slick. Charizard's charm and appeal comes from the shapes, but the texture and surfacing is so ugly and distracting. It needs to be more uniform and soft/rougher, less like a snake and more like a lizard.

  • Posted May 27th by mariomguy
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    So, the plot makes demands and the characters just follow it. Bonding is not the plot, the plot is something else.


    Right. I know what the plot is. The bonding occurs around the plot, though. The plot is what keeps Pikachu and Tim together, which is how and why they wind up bonding. It happens pretty organically because of the plot. A training sequence is not at all necessary given the structure of the film. Maybe you would like it a little more if they did, but the bonding happens totally fine and naturally within the film. It would have been redundant.


    People are not comparing this to noir, they're comparing it to Pokemon.


    Ok. But it's a movie that borrows pretty heavily on the noir genre. Like, literally, this is a noir film for children. That's literally what it is. It's "Detective" Pikachu.



    Gritty-reality city
    Conspiracy
    ...with twists to make a Twizzler proud


    Again, it's "Detective" Pikachu, and borrows liberally from the noir genre. Of course it was going to have twists. It would have been worse without them, to be honest.


    No hugging, no kissing, no bonding


    There is bonding, though.

    Also, what are you talking about with Hollywood films "no kissing"?


    Token racial minorities with wonky representation


    Who are you referring to with this criticism? Repeating what you said the first time doesn't exactly clarify who you are talking about here.


    NONE of this is Pokemon. Which is why I say this is a modern Hollywood blockbuster


    I still can't say I honestly have any idea what you really mean here. Like, it's a movie trying to appeal to children and nostalgic adults designed for a broad audience on a theatrical experience, made by western filmmakers as into film as they are into Pokemon.



    Posted May 27th by Jet Presto
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    Token racial minorities with wonky representation

    in a movie about catcheable monsters! Oh no!!!

    Posted May 27th by S.o.h.
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    S.o.h.
     

    Haven't gotten around to seeing the film yet but I do want to say this is a film adaption of the "Detective Pikachu" game and not of Pokémon in general, so I'm not sure it's right to try and compare this directly to Pokémon as a whole... Because that's not what the Detective Pikachu game was and therefore isn't what anyone should realistically expect from its movie adaption.

    Though who knows maybe I will feel differently after I watch it.

    Edited May 27th by Moonray
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    Right. I know what the plot is. The bonding occurs around the plot, though. The plot is what keeps Pikachu and Tim together

    No. The plot is about them figuring out what happened to his father/their partner. Bonding was very tangential and did not happen hardly enough to be an excellent movie.

    Ok. But it's a movie that borrows pretty heavily on the noir genre. Like, literally, this is a noir film for children. That's literally what it is. It's "Detective" Pikachu.

    You can combine the styles with more grace. This is a Hollywood movie first, Pokemon second.

    Again, it's "Detective" Pikachu, and borrows liberally from the noir genre. Of course it was going to have twists. It would have been worse without them, to be honest.

    Incorporate the twists better. Make a solid story.

    Also, what are you talking about with Hollywood films "no kissing"?

    OK, so Hollywood loves kisses, but there is a faction (Seinfeld-esque) with a no hugging, no kissing rule preventing the characters from really bonding. You see this in sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory and Hollywood movies with a very dated post-modern atmosphere (Dreamworks is notorious for this in some of their lower-budget films).

    Who are you referring to with this criticism? Repeating what you said the first time doesn't exactly clarify who you are talking about here.

    Sometimes movies portray races and families very deliberately, like Gran Torino, Karate Kid, Selma, Rush Hour, To Kill a Mockingbird, Crocodile Dundee, and Zootopia. Others aren't about race or upbringing but have different races integrated properly, like Ratatouille, and I guess if you stretch it The Lord of The Rings. But then there are other movies just trying to "cover everybody" with a checklist. Race is a part of who a character is, how they grew up, their culture, and their values. Having different races devoid of actual background makes the characters feel empty and without purpose.

    I still can't say I honestly have any idea what you really mean here. Like, it's a movie trying to appeal to children and nostalgic adults designed for a broad audience on a theatrical experience, made by western filmmakers as into film as they are into Pokemon.

    It could've been done better. The path towards better does not involve more post-modernism, toilet humor, Seinfeld-esque no hugging/no kissing, or plot holes, it should involve more bonding, patching of plot holes, better utilization of ideas, better sense of purpose overall, and more appropriate pacing.

    Posted May 27th by mariomguy
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    Race is a part of who a character is, how they grew up, their culture, and their values. Having different races devoid of actual background makes the characters feel empty and without purpose.

    This sounds like a horrible thing to include in *every* movie, especially in movies about cartoon rats aimed at children. Having a color blind society in fictional worlds for kids is usually preferable.

    Posted May 28th by The Bandit
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    This sounds like a horrible thing to include in *every* movie, especially in movies about cartoon rats aimed at children. Having a color blind society in fictional worlds for kids is usually preferable.

    There's a difference between color blind and color absence. I didn't feel like this movie did a good job representing races and upbringings appropriately, which is highly unusual given how amazingly well Pokemon Sun and Moon specifically choose a variety of characters that each accurately represent a different type of upbringing. Kiawe is native to Alola, deep rooted in family history and tradition. Sophoclese was likely a child whose middle-class parents moved to the island for work. Mallow is a lower-middle-class native who works with her parents, Lana is lower-middle class (either native or someone who had appreciable time living on the island) with younger siblings, and Lillie comes from great wealth, brought to the island by her mother's research organization.

    You can tell just by the knowledge, activities enjoyed/avoided, and the types of things each character knows and cares about the island how their familial upbringing influenced their life, and in turn how they're impacting that culture right now. Kiawe knows and is fully enamored with a lot about the deeper cultural traditions, and he appreciates them a lot more than the newer ones. Mallow is all about the new traditions and current events, the here-and-now. Sophocles is more concerned about the future: robotics, computer programming, and modern events (also, the newest ice cream shop). Lana mostly just enjoys fishing and the water, both on her own and sometimes with friends, while Lillie is there mainly for studies, though she tries everything and struggles with getting involved.

    This sense of cultural upbringing makes the characters richer and deeper and more complex than the plot initially lets on. This is completely absent from Detective Pikachu. If your story is too plot-heavy and your characters very thin, this has the effect of the characters look like pawns being controlled by God rather than autonomous individuals carrying the story forward themselves.

    Posted May 29th by mariomguy
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    meanwhile, in a 100-minute mass-market film based on a different game

    Posted May 29th by Pirate_Ninja
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