Aaron Peck column mug


film critic

Any parent who’s seen their kids watching a random “Pokémon” anime or has been dragged to one of the various “Pokémon” movies, might think “Oh no! Here we go again.” Those anime movies are usually geared toward the kids and have very little in the way of adult entertainment. Have no fear though, because “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” is a completely new and exciting installment in the Pokémon franchise.

Gone are the days of watching Ash, the world’s most famous Pokémon trainer, traverse the land hoping to catch them all. Director Rob Letterman, and company, have created an entirely new world inhabited with Pokémon.

In Ryme City, Pokémon and humans have learned to live together. They’ve both evolved past the old ways of battling Pokémon for glory and fame. Instead they live in symbiotic relationships where partner Pokémon help their human counterparts in everyday life.

Tim (Justice Smith) is the odd guy out. In a town where everyone has a Pokémon partner, Tim just wants to be left alone. Back in the day, Tim wanted to become a real Pokémon trainer, but battling Pokémon isn’t really a pastime anymore, so he’s given it up.

Tim is also dealing with the sudden disappearance of his father, a a police detective. A horrific car crash has led some to believe Tim’s father is dead. Tim grieves right up until he meets a curious Pikachu whom he can communicate with.

Some knowledge of Pokémon is required to fully enjoy this movie. People who are acquainted with the little fictional pocket monsters will know that Pokémon only communicate by saying their name over and over. Only Tim can hear this certain Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) speaking perfect English.

This friendly little Pikachu informs Tim that he was, until recently, his dad’s partner on the force. He believes that Tim’s dad is still alive. And that’s where the adventure starts.

This movie could’ve been so bad. However, there’s something that’s just so delightful about this whole thing: The animation; the melding of the modern world with Pokémon; and the comedic timing of Ryan Reynolds, all provide a uniquely fun movie-going experience.

Imagine the powers of all your favorite Pokémon (or your kids’ favorite Pokémon) realized in a big-budget summer movie. The special effects, and the way these Pokémon are animated, creates a whole new world that feels both special and familiar.

What a surprising little movie — a movie that will offer more than enough for the kids while also keeping the adults entertained! It’s a true family summer movie. At this time of year, you can’t really ask for much more.

Aaron Peck is a movie critic based in Cache Valley. You can follow him on Twitter: @AaronPeck