I have very little to say on this one. If you have seen the trailers of the film then I can tell you that you already have a solid grasp of the film’s tone and quality: it’s a kids film that gets dangerously close to being extremely adult, it does a wonderful job of bringing pokemon to life and blending them with reality without it feeling outlandish. It’s still a film for kids, so don’t be surprised when the plot is predictable and those elements presented as twists are conspicuous from a mile away, I was only surprised once, and I’ll save commenting on it until I’ve put up a spoiler tag.
As a 90’s kid (by technicality, didn’t live through enough of the 80’s to get the memes) I was raised to expect a very different sound coming from a Bulbasaur, but watching a troupe of them skipping through a stream was an absolute delight. I know I’m not alone in noticing a lack in diversity in the different types of pokemon on screen across the film, and considering that the number of pokemon and number of real species are starting to meet in the middle that lack of diversity is very conspicuous, multiple slakings, a lot of joltics, a lot of greninjas, a lot of panchams a lot of doduos and dodrios, and in most cases I’m not talking about them having a major screen presence, a lot of this is background material too.
I wanted to complain about the excessively fluffy pikachu, not the most rodent-like of fur, I was expecting something sleeker, but gengar took care of that for me, I genuinely loved the the depiction of gengar. It was about as family friendly as I’ll accept without being as harrowingly dark as I’d have liked, but all-in-all stunning. Actually every depiction of pokemon abilities was made realistic with no effort, making for a surprisingly immersive experience given the source material.
Odd question, is this a video game film?
And yes I know about the 3DS game, and yes the storyline is broadly lifted from the title of the same name. But Detective Pikachu is not that well known so far as the franchise goes, and while being based in the world, does not adhere to any of the mechanics that make the franchise great, it’s closer to a point-and-click. Even then, is it fair to compare it to other video game films?
I don’t think it is but hear me out! Detective Pikachu is filled with references, no two ways about that, but most of them come from the anime (and one Home Alone reference), like the entire Mewtwo narrative, a lot of the background details, kicking the magikarp, the squirtle squad, shamelessly heavy use of the theme tune. I noticed a couple of video game references beyond the fact that both this and the anime are based on a game franchise, the snorlax blocking traffic, and the background details. But here I think is a film based on an anime… based on a video game. In either case I think it’s a little unfair to include this in the discussion around video games and films.
The storyline – oh spoilers by the way – is shockingly noir! A street drug that enhances the aggression of pokemon for combat, a suspicious corporation and a contract that goes sideways, the journalist and her self-destructive pursuit of a story that nearly gets her killed. A ramped-up ditto shapeshifts into people, and not only does it make everyone you encounter highly suspicious, it’s also profoundly creepy when you see people with ditto-eyes. When Bill Nighy takes over the mind of Mewtwo, it’s a beautiful match-up of voice and character that I did not anticipate, and while it’s easy to predict his “turn for the evil” from his scene in the office, I still loved his dark mastermind moment at the finale.
Spoilers over but to be honest so is the review. I genuinely have little to say on Detective Pikachu but that may be the biggest compliment I have for it. I’m accomplished at complaining, and tend to be at my most verbose when irritated. This isn’t an unforgettable experience, nor would I advocate rushing to the cinema for it, but it’s certainly worth a watch and deserves all the praise it’s had so far, and Ryan Reynolds crying his way through “I Want To Be The Very Best” is a moment I think deserves to be well remembered in cinema and pokemon history.
This is going to be difficult.
Somehow as a reviewer I feel as though I should be providing heavier critique, and maybe that’s just because I’ve read/listened to enough reviews that I feel like a critic should be more… well, critical of films, especially when they’ve had this much hype surrounding them. I don’t actually recall the last time I saw this much hype surrounding a film, and it easily matches the anticipation and drive behind this project, and no one fought harder than the lead actor, Deadpool. (more…)
So another San-Diego Comicon comes and goes, and the lucky few have had their chance to wait in mile after mile of queues to discover what the future of nerd-marketed-media holds, and right now there’s three big titles on everyone’s mind:
Batman vs. Superman
Recently leaked, and even more recently given a full release – because let’s face it, it was never going to stay SDCC exclusive for long – the Dawn of Justice trailer shows a fuller set up for the conflict, and shows us a clear shot of Wonder Woman in action, and even hints at Aquaman’s origins (it’s subtle, but it’s there). We also get a very thorough idea of how Jesse Eisenberg will be playing Lex Luther, and that’s where I want to start:
Jesse is a small bloke, maybe lacking the kind of gravitas that Superman’s greatest enemy usually comes with, but here we see a very different interpretation, one that I regard with the same kind of optimism as Heath Ledger’s Joker. He looks to have a subtle kind of manipulation, insidiously polite and jovial, I can see all kinds of villainy, and he absolutely has my curiosity. I’d also like to say that Jeremy Irons is an excellent casting for Alfred.
That’s about as positive as I can get for BvS: DoJ. Seriously, another Batman origin story is being crammed into this? We have two JLA characters being shoehorned in without an origins film, this is all getting out of hand. We get that you’re trying hard to play catch-up with Marvel, but this is not something you can rush.
In short, I can hardly contain my lack of enthusiasm. I’ve made my opinion of Zack Snyder very clear, but that’s really besides the point. The trailer has enough positive points that I can’t just right this film off. The true tragedy here is that Affleck is going to be playing Batman twice in the same year without nerd approval…
Now here’s the first DC project in a long time I’ve actually looked forward to for a while, right up until I saw the Joker. From that point on, everything else I’ve seen has increased my concern that this could be another failure. And yet…
The Joker is the biggest question mark for me. With both the loss of Heath Ledger and Mark Hamill retiring from the role with the completion of Arkham City, whoever takes up the role next is going to have a hard time of it, and Jared Leto has certainly weathered the scrutiny on his design. It has its’ prose and cons, he seems to have a decent voice for the job, but I remain unconvinced.
Harley Quinn and Deadshot are the central roles here, Margot Robbie especially seems to be occupying centre stage which makes sense if the Joker is the major villain. I generally have no problem with that so long as the other villains get a decent look in at the action. There are some big names here: Katana, Killer Croc, and Captain Boomerang.
In short, I’m back on the fence about Suicide Squad, which is a positive, but ultimately mediocre shift. The credentials of the director seem heavy on the low-brow action, but this trailer makes me wonder if he’s finally been given the chance to show what he can do.
Couple of things before you click play: 1) Sony have not given up and released the trailer properly yet so this is still “leaked footage”. Get it while it’s hot! 2) This is the Deadpool movie we asked for, so if you can hear it you’ll be hearing strong language.
Well, this certainly sets the tone! Plenty of fourth-wall breaks, a dig at Green Lantern, and just a whole bunch of cool stuff. Not a lot of story though. Not glimpse of the villains who could well be Ajax and Copycat, who are both cast. Could just as easily be Deadpool himself, let’s rule nothing out here.
This, alone amongst the trailers here is a film I am looking forward to, but this trailer doesn’t give us much except renewed hope, and I can’t say much more than that. Marvel have always played their cards a little closer to their chests, and Sony look to be keeping up the business model. Ryan Reynolds is the real driving force behind this film, he’s a nerd in a position of great power within this production, and after last year he has the burden of countless nerdy hopes on his shoulders.
While I have some serious qualms about DCs efforts of late, there’s no two ways about it, this is an amazing time for super-hero movies. Marvel have really led the charge with their Cinematic Universe, and it’s been a revolutionary project in both film and television, and the latest trilogy of Batman films has been nothing short of spectacular. It looks like good Superman films may well have ended with the first two Christopher Reeve instalments 1978 and 1980.
I’m also a huge proponent of original properties and alternative takes on the concept of super-heroes. These days they’re a rich subject, rapidly increasing in volume but with a fascinating history stretching back almost as far as super-heroes themselves. But like any history, it’s got its’ shameful moments. (more…)