Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Detective Pikachu Review


It’s time to look at the new Detective Pikachu film. It is still an odd decision not to have gone with a traditional Pokemon film, but just having them on the big screen in some form is really cool either way. It’s a pretty solid film all around. I do think some scenes drag on a bit and the human characters are definitely on the weak side, but the movie has a good premise and the action scenes that we do get are definitely solid.

The film starts off by establishing how Tim isn’t a Pokemon trainer. He wants nothing to do with them and that’s because his Dad chose his job and Pokemon over Tim a while back. Well, Tim gets a call one day that his father has been murdered so Tim heads over to get some closure. What he doesn’t expect is that this will lead him to Pikachu and the ultimate mystery. He has to find out who axed his father and finish what the detective started. It won’t be easy, but he’s got this.

They say a film is only as good as its cast and that’s why it’s good that we’ve got Pikachu on board. He’s definitely the highlight here and his quick wit is definitely entertaining. It is a bit annoying that he doesn’t do any real fighting for the most part since he has amnesia as well, but I know the film was trying to avoid being an action title so to that end it makes sense to get Pikachu out of the equation. After all, he could easily wreck most of the cast if he was at full power. Pikachu also shows that he doesn’t need to be able to fight in order to be a quality character. I like his bravado even when outmatched.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for Tim. He’s not my kind of character by a longshot. He spends most of the first half complaining and it’s hard to be all that sympathetic after a while. He doesn’t even have any interest in finding his father or solving the mystery for a while because he’s still sore about the past. Considering that the father isn’t evil or anything, I think he should be able to put that aside to save him at least temporarily. He also saw the poison gas so it’s not like he has no clue that this is going to be pretty serious. If you ask me he should have gotten with the program a lot sooner.

Also, his romance subplot definitely isn’t all that great. It’s pretty much shoehorned into the film for no real reason and naturally he fumbles this quite a bit as well. Lucy’s a good heroine though and she’s definitely a lot more proactive than Tim. Staking out the father’s place was a longshot at best and she must have been waiting up on the stairs for a very long time. That’s the kind of dedication you need if you want to be an expert reporter so she did a really good job. It’d be handy if she had a more powerful Pokemon than Psyduck though but he came in handy when it counted.

I don’t have much to say about the villain. I think it’s pretty obvious who the evil one is from the start just because it would have been too straightforward otherwise. He’s pretty generic and there’s not much to him though. He serves his purpose well enough, but I think Charizard made for the more imposing villain. It was definitely nice to see him get some action even if the battle was definitely very one sided.

As for the effects, they’re definitely quite good. Whether you like the realistic style or not, the Pokemon definitely all look like their game counterparts mostly. I thought Machamp and Mewtwo in particular came out really good. I think the only one I was skeptical of was Tauros since he looked more like a normal bison than the iconic Pokemon, but on the whole the film did a great job of giving them all live action designs. I think it would make for pretty excellent fight scenes and we got a tease of what that could be like early on. If we do get a spinoff or a sequel I definitely want to see some trainers get involved.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. You’ll notice some homages but for the most part the film is going for original tunes. There is a singalong with one of the best songs in the franchise though so that was pretty neat. I would have liked for the trailer theme to show up during the climax though. “I need a Hero” would have been really epic to hear in the theater.

Now if you were hoping that the cops would look good here, then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Maybe there’s more to this that the games would have explained, but it seems to be like they did a really halfhearted job of looking into this mystery. Lets say Tim and Pikachu never got involved. The cops would have been absolutely doomed since they didn’t even suspect a thing. None of them thought to slow down the footage or investigate where the detective had been driving from. As the film goes on we learn that the villains don’t even bother to cover their tracks so the cops must have done absolutely no legwork. I was thinking maybe the main chief was in on it or just evil as well. Maybe he is……or maybe he’s just really bad at his job.

A big part of the film involves some smoke and while I won’t elaborate, at first I thought I was going to have to stretch some disbelief on why Pikachu was unaffected. By the end of the film I’d say it clears this up in a way that makes sense though so no issues there. On the whole the logic in the film was pretty sound. Sure, if you think about some things for too long then they start to break down (Like kids trying to catch Pokemon that can lethally injure them. That Cubone came really close with his retaliation explosion) but the film did good with the power scaling and with making the city make sense. Since there are no trainers here and the Pokemon are inherently good it makes sense how they could co-exist.

I think the main parts that can drag at times are when the film is throwing us exposition (like showing Mewtwo’s origin a bunch of times from different angles) and the heroes running across the mountain. It’s technically more of an action scene as the giant pokemon wake up, but it wasn’t all that exciting. There are bits and pieces like that around, but on the whole the film isn’t all that long so these moments aren’t that frequent.

Overall, Detective Pikachu is definitely a solid film that I would recommend. It’s far from perfect, but it does a good job of showing the Pokemon world and giving us some nice action scenes. The actual story is also good even if it’s held back a little by Tim. Even by the end I wasn’t sold on his character. It’ll be interesting to see where the films go from here assuming that it makes back enough money for them to roll the dice on another installment. If they do I’ll certainly be there.

Overall 7/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Singin’ in the Rain Review

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This is a movie that is as classic as the original Godzilla! It’s hard to picture any big film fan not being aware of this title. That being said, I’ve seen many classics that simply didn’t live up to their reputation in the olden days so would this film be as good as I had hoped? It’s not quite as good as I had imagined, but the film has its moments. There were just two factors keeping it from being a good movie for me.

Don is an actor who is proud of his work. He’s done well for himself and everything is going smoothly until he meets a girl who reminds him that movie actors aren’t real actors. Don’s life is torn to pieces at this revelation, but he recovers from this once the lady admits that she has seen all of his movies and wants to be an actress someday as well. Hollywood never stops and the owner of the company finds out that movies will have sound from now on so he has Don make a new film. The problem is that his co-host can’t sing. What will they do!?

With that, we have the drama, the action, the excitement, and most importantly…the musical numbers! Let’s tackle this one area at a time. For starters, the writing is really good. This is a classic film so it makes sense, but the characters trade barbs and insults rather well in that sophisticated way that people used to speak. The tongue twisters of the old days were also a lot of fun and definitely could test anyone’s mettle. This is one crucial element in the film’s favor.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the pacing, which is a little erratic. Before I get into this, I should note that I was practically expecting a completely different film as I walked into this one. Sure, I knew that it was a musical and I had already seen the famous scene sometime ago. The difference was the fact that Don was an actor. So, the setting and environment was much different than I had anticipated. Even so, I felt like the beginning was a little slow. Once the characters decided that they wanted to make a film with sound, I felt like the plot really started moving. The beginning was pleasant enough, but it didn’t immediately grab my interest the way most old films do because of the main character. More on that later!

Just when the film was going well, the characters have a very trippy dream where some guy decides to hang out with the girl friend of a mob boss. The scene then cuts away as the guy becomes a professional dancer, but the girl appears again and they both have a dangerous dance where the guy barely escapes with his life. The scene drags on for so long that I legitimately began to wonder if this wasn’t a dream and the movie had actually started. When the characters woke up, it was like someone had stolen the last scoop of ice cream at the local deli.

It was a pretty poor montage and that was before we found out that it was all a dream. While most of the film is enjoyable and fun, these scenes weren’t. They were clearly trying to re enact the tale of a classic hero who is seduced by a villainous lady who tricks him into dying, but it always makes the main character look bad. It was also a little more intense than I would have expected from such a classic film with such a good reputation and that’s considering that several seconds were apparently cut out for being too sketchy. This is really where the film lost most of its points. (Plural…that’s a bad sign)

I really just had one more main complaint with the film. While the movie that the heroes realizes was supposed to look pretty bad, it was terrible for another reason and that was due to the retro plot as the villain attacked the heroine. It’s a negative for sure, but not the other main one. The other main negative is actually Don himself who essentially acts like an old school Tony Stark or a mild version of James Bond. Apparently he is quite the flirt and immediately starts to flirt with the heroine after only seeing her for a few seconds.

This guy is far from being heroic and I knew that I would not like the main character after his opening scene with Kathy. (The heroine) There was no recovery from such a thing. Kathy is all right although she definitely goes from one extreme to the other as she dislikes Don before changing her mind and the whole climax is basically her going from sad tears to happy ones. Cosmo is really the guy who stole most of the show even if his antics could be a bit much at times. He definitely seems to have more talent to Don and a more charismatic personality so I could easily see him holding his own film. He got a lot of the best barbs and burns throughout the film and also came up with most of the ideas when the other characters were in a pinch.

I also liked the president of the company as he talked a good game and always allowed others to manipulate him by bringing up the fact that he’s President of the company. His sarcastic remarks would typically backfire on him and he only narrowly managed to have a happy ending here. Through it all, he never lost his nerve and that takes guts. Lina was the co-star for the films and is essentially the main antagonist for the film. She gets friend zoned the whole film, but keeps going after Don. If not for that part of her personality she wouldn’t be a bad character. I actually felt a little bad for her since most of the film is about the heroes making fun of her voice and getting someone else to sing her roles instead. Lina naturally gets a little resentful of this, especially after having trained so long and hard for this opportunity. Just another showing of how the heroes could be a little cruel. Lina’s not really a good character anyway as she gets others fired and is too obsessive over Don, but the heroes did not help matters.

This is a musical, but I can’t say that any of the songs were very memorable. There are certainly no “Let It Go” award winning songs in this playbook. The famous Singing in the Rain scene is a lot of fun, but more for the action than for the actual song. I liked how the policeman dashed over to put Don in his place. It is probably against some laws to skip and dance in the street on such a slippery day. Luckily for Don, there were no cars around so the danger was kept to a minimum.

Overall, Singin in the Rain was a film where I can see how it became a classic, but I can’t say that it totally floats my boat. As far as drama, musical, romance, comedy films go, I’ve seen better ones. The songs were not quite masterpieces and Don was terrible as the main character. Cutting him out of the film or eliminating the dream sequence likely would have been enough to put the film in the clear. As it was, the film could not overcome having two big negatives. If you’re looking for a retro film and don’t mind long scenes of questionable dancing, then check this out at your own peril, but if you want a film with a lot of heart and meaningful character development, I recommend checking out Madoka Magica Rebellion!

Overall 4/10