Director Rob Letterman
Screenplay Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, Derek Connolly
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geere, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy
That this film was on my daughter’s radar before it ever reached mine can be no surprise. The phenomenon that is Pokémon missed my childhood by about a decade. Regardless, I never planned to see this film, and I wouldn’t have if not for her wish. The end result is cute, if light dive into a world that most of the preview crowd was more than ready to enjoy.
The story is about Tim Goodman (Smith) who is heavy with the news that his father is missing after his car crashes off a bridge with an early encounter with a fierce looking Pokémon creature that Em told me the name of but can only hope I remember is Mewtwo. Tim travels by train from the regular world, where the Pokémon are wild, to Ryme City to collect his father’s belongings.
Ryme City is a utopia that was created by Howard Clifford (Nighy) in an effort to improve his life and consequently the lives of the Pokémon who live beside them as equal beings. Outside of Ryme City, the creatures are captured and used for competitions that seem scary in the intro. In the city, they are often partnered in a harmony of sorts with humans. To what end, I am not sure. I want to call them pets, but I am no doubt insensitive and wrong.
Goodman finds a Pikachu who can speak at his father’s apartment. This Pikachu insists his father is alive and insists that together they will find him. If he is wrong, this will be a much shorter film.
They run into a young reporter (Newton) who fills the plucky role in the story. She thinks there is more to the story. If she is wrong, this will be a much shorter film.
Where the story goes from here is irrelevant. We’ve seen it before too many times to care. None of the characters are engaging, outside of Smith and the Pikachu that speaks with Ryan Reynolds’ voice. It’s a G-Rated version of Deadpool, yes. It’s not without appeal, especially in the interactions with other Pokémon wandering through the frame often without reference.
Most of these creatures are more entertaining than their human counterparts. The creatures are incredible looking and seamless within the city-scape. This is one of the films that seasoned veterans like Watanabe, Nighy and Reynolds do for their progeny to enjoy, and the paycheck to go with it.
Overall, the animation and interactivity with the Pokémon creatures is considerable and nearly flawless. If that makes up for the story depends on your relationship to the brand and how much you’re willing to ignore the bland. I enjoyed it a little less than my daughter, but for mostly the same reasons. It feels like we’re wandering through a city filled with creatures that have more life than any of their human counterparts.
If you ever liked the creatures or know someone who really would, give it a shot. For me it’s a level above the TNMNT movie from 1990. It’s better looking, of course. And it doesn’t have Corey Feldman.
CPE – (**1/2 out of *****)
Em – (***1/2 out of *****)