From its surprising cast to the slightly risqué PG rating and its innovative shooting style, there are more than a few things you should know before you pick up your ticket to Detective Pikachu. Here’s all the background you need on the world-famous Pokémon, the movie’s unique setting, and more.
If you’re not familiar with the world of Pokémon, you might want to brush up before you head into Detective Pikachu. Known as “Pocket Monsters” in its home country of Japan, this series of video games came to the United States in 1998 with Pokémon Red and Blue for the Nintendo Game Boy, and sold more copies than any other Game Boy game besides Tetris. These blockbuster beginnings laid the groundwork for a massive multimedia franchise, which continued on to the Game Boy Advance all the way up to the Nintendo Switch, with plenty of spinoffs and tie-ins coming in along the way.
Between video games, movies, TV shows, a popular trading card series and more, Pokémon has secured its spot as the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, but it all starts with the games.
In the main game series, players take on the roles of Pokémon trainers, capturing wild animal-monster hybrids that roam the world. These weaponized pets then get used in battles with other trainers players encounter along their journeys, as well as competitive Gym Leaders, elite trainers, and even evil gangs and corporations, from Pokémon Red and Blue’s Team Rocket to Pokémon Sun and Moon’s Team Skull.
But for the most part, the games have always come down to one goal: getting out in the tall grass, hunting for Pokemon, and catching ’em all.
Before Detective Pikachu referred to the live-action movie, it was simply one of the franchise’s many spinoff video games. Released in 2018 for Nintendo’s 3DS, Detective Pikachu broke away from the loose narratives and gameplay of the original games, setting aside Gym badges and Pokémon catching to focus instead on the story of a special talking Pikachu, a type of “electric mouse” that is arguably the franchise’s most famous type of Pokémon.
In the game, the pocket monster teams up with a young boy, Tim Goodman, who is the only person who can understand Pikachu when he speaks. Together, the two team up to search for Tim’s missing father and get to the bottom of a sinister conspiracy.
As Tim, Detective Pikachu lets the player solve mysteries with their own talking Pikachu, evoking adventures from the Pokémon anime series. The game received mixed reviews, but some critics noted that it might make a better movie than video game.
Speaking of video games, the movie also evokes the feel of Pokémon Yellow, one of the series’ first games. That unique take on Pokemon Red and Blue’s base game greatly increased the emphasis on the player’s relationship with their starter Pokemon, in this case, a Pikachu who followed behind you as you moved throughout the game.
Though there have been plenty of animated Pokémon movies over the decades, Detective Pikachu marks the franchise’s first live-action film, adapting the story of a relatively new game. Some longtime Pokémon fans were likely curious about why this first live-action movie would choose to focus on such a recent story rather than continue the adventures of Ash, Misty, and Brock from the cartoon series or original films. Make sure you continue to watch this before you see Detective Pikachu!
#Pokemon #Pikachu #DetectivePikachu
Who’s that Pokémon? | 0:15
Adapting the game | 1:21
A new direction | 2:26
Dawn of Justice | 3:32
Pokémon Center | 4:32
Pikachu sounds familiar | 5:15
Encouraging reactions | 6:22
A gritty take | 7:19
Catching hype | 8:26
The next generation | 9:21