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Rob Letterman
Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton
Writing Credits:
Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, Derek Connolly

In a city where humans and Pokemon co-exist, Pikachu helps Tim Goodman solve a crime.

Box Office:
$150 million.
Opening Weekend
$54,365,242 on 4202 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Polish Dolby 5.1
Turkish Dolby 5.1
Japanese Dolby 5.1
Korean Dolby 5.1
Bulgarian Dolby 5.1
Hindi Dolby 5.1
Romanian Dolby 5.1
Russian Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Slovenian Dolby 5.1
Czech Dolby 5.1
Hungarian Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $44.95
Release Date: 8/6/2019

• ”Detective Mode” Interactive Feature
• ”The Magical World of Shazam” Featurette
• ”Super Fun Zac” Featurette
• ”Who Is Shazam?” Featurette
• ”Shazamily Values” Featurette
• Carnival Scene Study
• Gag Reel
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Previews
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Pokémon Detective Pikachu [4K UHD] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 8, 2019)

After a slew of animated movies that earned varying degrees of success, the Pokémon franchise goes live-action via 2019’s Detective Pikachu. In most of the world, exotic, magical creatures known as Pokémon run wild, but in Ryme City, Pokémon and humans co-exist as (sort of) equals.

Police Detective Harry Goodman worked with Detective Pikachu, but an accident claims Harry’s life – or does it? When his estranged son Tim (Justice Smith) travels to Ryme City to care for his dad’s estate, he discovers that whereas others just hear “pika pika” from the electrified yellow critter, Tim can understand English from Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds).

Before long, Tim and Pikachu suspect a conspiracy afoot in Ryme City, and they also learn that Harry may not be dead. Along with aspiring reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton), they attempt to find Harry and address a mix of potential threats.

As someone who neared his 30th birthday when Pokémon debuted as a videogame in the mid-90s, I was too old to ever embrace it. As part of this gig, I reviewed some of the early 2000s animated movies and outside of some TV episodes watched along with an ex-girlfriend’s son, I’ve avoided the Pokémon universe.

Though “avoided” seems too strong, as I bear no aversion to Pokémon. I just never got into it, so my association with the franchise remained minimal.

In a weird way, this made me a good target for Detective Pikachu. Given the movie’s occasional snarkiness and Roger Rabbit vibe, it seems like a conscious attempt to expand the appeal of Pokémon beyond the kids who still watch the TV show and play the games.

Not that I think the studio intended Detective Pikachu for guys in their 50s like me, of course. Still, Warner clearly hoped that this big-budget mix of live action and animation would find an audience beyond the usual Poké-faithful.

Going into Detective Pikachu, it looked like a movie that would exist at an extreme. The film seemed likely to either end up as inspired or insipid, with no middle ground on display.

As it happens, however, Detective Pikachu does reside somewhere between those poles. Safe as warm milk, the movie fails to deliver a tale that stands out as especially memorable.

Apparently it took four people to compose the Detective Pikachu script, and the whole movie comes with the kind of “filmmaking by committee” vibe such a long roster of screenwriters implies. Although the movie’s approach to Pokémon leaves it open to many witty and ironic moments, the end result feels tame and without the edge it needs.

That’s where I see Detective Pikachu as overly safe. I get the impression those involved wanted to have some snarky fun with the subject matter but they also felt beholden to the legions of existing fans, so they refused to offer anything daring.

This leaves us with a lot of tepid humor that rarely catches fire. A few scenes work pretty well – especially a clever sequence in which Tim and Pikachu attempt to interrogate Mr. Mime – but most of the film seems cautious and unwilling to risk offense.

I think that’s a mistake, as a better-made movie could have fun with the source but still seem respectful. Roger Rabbit mocked clichés but remained a loving tribute to classic animation, and I don’t see why Detective Pikachu couldn’t have pulled off the same trick.

The presence of Reynolds leads to disappointment. Essentially Hollywood’s current go-to actor for sarcasm and snark, his casting feels inspired on the surface, as the combination of cute little Pikachu and profane, acerbic Deadpool seems likely to delight.

Alas, that super-safe script neuters Reynolds’ natural personality much of the time. Left with little more than “family friendly” jokes, his Pikachu can’t become the fiery ball of fur he needs to be.

As our human lead, Smith shows reasonable charm and personality, but like Reynolds, he becomes buried beneath the inherent flatness of the project. Even in a cast with Bill Nighy, the humans can’t emerge to provide spark of their own.

None of these factors make Detective Pikachu a bad movie, as it manages just enough wit and action to remain fairly watchable. However, the film’s lack of willingness to take any chances leaves it as a predictable, forgettable disappointment.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Pokémon Detective Pikachu appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. As expected, the movie came with good visuals.

Overall sharpness seemed strong. A hint of softness impacted the image on some wider shots – such as a scene in which Tim and Jack walked down a street - but it usually remained tight and concise. I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent.

To the surprise of no one, Pikachu opted for an orange and teal orientation. The movie’s nods toward film noir gave these tones a slightly different feel, though, and the Pokémon added other hues as well. These came across in an appealing manner, and the disc’s HDR abilities gave the tones extra pep.

Blacks showed good depth, and shadows offered largely nice clarity and smoothness. A few low-light sequences came across as slightly opaque, but these weren’t a major issue. In the end, the movie provided pleasing visuals.

In addition, Pikachu brought us a strong Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Downcoverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the soundscape opened up best when it indulged in its battle sequences.

These used the various channels in a vivid, immersive manner that placed the elements in logical spots and meshed together well. The track gave us a good sense of place and action.

Audio quality also pleased. Speech remained natural and distinctive, while music was full and rich.

Effects came across as accurate and dynamic, with tight low-end. I liked this mix quite a lot.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both offered the same Dolby Atmos audio, so no changes materialized there.

As for visuals, the 4K UHD looked a bit tighter than the Blu-ray, and it offered more dynamic colors and deeper blacks. This wasn’t a big upgrade, but the 4K UHD did work better than its Blu-ray counterpart.

All the set’s extras appear on the included Blu-ray Disc, and it comes with an interactive feature called Detective Mode. This provides text pop-ups that tell us about the movie and franchise as well as facts about Pokémon characters.

In addition, we get video footage from the set and some comments from director Rob Letterman, executive producer Ali Mendes, animation supervisor Ferran Domenech, VFX producer Greg Baxter, head prop modeller Craig Narramore, stunt coordinator Franklin Henson, key location manager Richard Hill, set decorator Lisa Chugg, costume designer Suzie Harman, film liaison officer Nigel Crisp, stunt performer Richard Leggett, SFX lead senior technician Matt Veale, SFX technician Alex MacBride, mountain and water safety specialist Graeme Douglas, and actors Kathryn Newton, Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith and Suki Waterhouse.

They touch on various story, character and production topics.

Though the “Mode” starts slowly, it gets better as it progresses. The text bits offer some fun notes, and the video footage mixes good behind the scenes material and useful comments. I’d prefer a straight commentary, but the “Mode” still acts as a worthwhile feature.

A few featurettes follow, and My Pokémon Adventure runs two minutes, 13 seconds. Here Smith talks about his love of Pokémon and experiences with the franchise as a kid. It’s promotional and not especially interesting.

With Creating the World of Detective Pikachu, we get five clips that fill a total of 21 minutes, 22 seconds. These involve Smith, Newton, Reynolds, Letterman, Mendes, Baxter, Domenech, Henson, Veale, producer Cale Boyter, VFX supervisor Erik Nordby, and production designer Nigel Phelps.

The segments look at story and characters, cast and performances, effects and animation, sets and locations, stunts and action.

Overall, “Creating” offers some good info. However, it does so in a fairly fluffy manner, so don’t expect much depth. Still, the segments work well enough to deserve a look.

Mr. Mime’s Audio Commentary spans there minutes and gives us exactly what it implies. After a quick mimed intro from Mr. Mime, we see his scene from the movie with zero commentary – because he’s silent. It’s a cute idea but not especially funny.

Next comes Ryan Reynolds: Outside the Actors Studio. A one-minute, 32-second piece, Reynolds pretends that he went Method for his performance as Pikachu. Though not great, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, so it gives us minor laughs – and gives us a cameo from Reynolds’ wife Blake Lively.

An Alternate Opening goes for one minute, 41 seconds. This introduces Tim in a different way that seems amusing but not especially satisfying.

We also find a music video for “Carry On” by Rita Ora and Kygo. It mixes movie clips with a minor plot in which Ora plays detective. Neither the song nor the video do much for me.

The disc opens with ads for Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Shazam. No trailer for Pikachu appears here.

As I went into Pokémon Detective Pikachu with hopes it’d become something clever and memorable, the end result provides a letdown. While not without occasional entertainment value, the film fails to exploit its potential positives well. The 4K UHD offers very good picture and audio with a pretty decent set of supplements. Pikachu could’ve been a clever, fun adventure but it plays it too safe.

To rate this film, visit the original review of POKEMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main