It’s a mostly-stellar neo-noir, kid-friendly fantasy detective/mystery tale that is both a wonderful introduction for Pokémon newbies and a successful translation of an iconic kids video game to the big screen. The film is an enjoyable movieization of a longtime global video-game phenomenon that is campy, preposterous and for the most part, works.
R.J. Palmer, an illustrator who made his mark with online illustrations of Pokémon characters, helped create concept designs for the movie. Nigel Phelps, production designer, bathes Ryme City in neon shades of light and rain-dampened streets. It was shot with 35MM Kodak film, which contributed to the realistic feel of fantastical images in an imaginary world.
Director Rob Letterman of “Goosebumps” fame and the other writers fill the film with Easter eggs and admittedly were inspired by and influenced by “Blade Runner”, Tim Burton’s “Batman” (1989) and a 1949 British film noir entitled “The Third Man”.
Dazzling, sophisticated and well-employed F/X, meticulous, right-on portrayals of the epic cast of Pokémon characters, especially the detective hero Pikachu, and generous dollops of humor overpower the at times confusing plot twists and chaotic action scenes. Its assets easily outpace the liabilities, which leads my score: 8 kernels of popcorn!
LEE’S JOKES OF THE WEEK
1) What does Pikachu say when he gets gassy while drinking milk? Answer: I’m Zaptos intolerant!
2) What product is the hero the Pokémon movie going to promote? Answer: Chewing gum. As in “pick a chew”.
3) What happens when you combine the Pokémon movie with the Avengers final two movies? Answer: Half of the Pokémon characters die!