This was on nobody’s radar. Have a look at at the first trailer for the first live action Pokémon movie, from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. It’s called POKÉMON: Detective Pikachu. The title implies that this is but one film in a planned series. It’s based on a Nintendo 3DS game Great Detective Pikachu that originally launched in Japan in February 2016. The film production itself was announced by Legendary Pictures in June of 2016. There was speculation that the voice of Pikachu would be provided by Danny DeVito , but Ryan Reynolds got the job instead.
Seeing Pikachu walking around in the real world is kind of awe inspiring. And that Charizard? Woah.
Pause the SCIFI.radio audio stream using the player control above, and have a look.
Amazingly, Ryan Reynolds is in the title role. He’s going to be a talking version of Pikachu, which is doubly weird. We couldn’t imagine a feature film where he said nothing but his own name for two hours. It’s like Vin Diesel saying nothing but “I am Groot” over two Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The rationale actually kind of makes sense. Ash Ketchum could always understand what Pikachu was saying, but nobody else could. In this film, ace private eye Harry Goodman (“Good man?” Okay, we get it. Nudge nudge, wink wink.) is the only one who can actually hear and understand Pikachu.
The trailer is full of other Pokémon. There’s a shot of a fluffy pink Jigglypuff, which reminds us of why cel animated characters rarely make a successful leap to live action.
Detective Pikachue may or may not be the Pikachu. Given the special situation set up that allows him to converse with a human partner, there isn’t any way to know without seeing the film itself.
The story begins when ace private eye Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City — a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world — they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.
POKÉMON: Detective Pikachu also stars Justice Smith (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”) as Tim; Kathryn Newton (“Lady Bird,” TV’s “Big Little Lies”) as Lucy, a junior reporter following her first big story; and Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (“Godzilla,” “The Last Samurai”) as Lt. Yoshida.
The film’s production team is stacked with heavyweights. It’s directed by Rob Letterman (Goosebumps, Monsters Vs. Aliens), The director of photography is two-time Oscar nominated John Mathieson (The Phantom of the Opera, Gladiator). The production designer is Nigel Phelps (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies), and the editor is Mark Sanger (Gravity). Visual effects are by Moving Picture Company (Wonder Woman) and Framestore (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). They clearly aren’t messing around here.
The film will be distributed outside of Japan and China by Warner Bros. Pictures, in Japan by Toho Company, Ltd. and by Legendary East in China.
Ryan Reynolds is surprisingly charming as an animated electric furball, and we’re actually looking forward to seeing this film.
POKÉMON: Detective Pikachu is set for release on Friday, May 10, 2019.