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There’s more than a touch of Who Framed Roger Rabbit about this engagingly silly video-game spin-off. It, too, weaves together live-action and animation, and sees a frazzled human and an unusual critter pairing up in a bid to solve a film-noir-style mystery.
The setting is neon-washed Ryme City, a place where humans and Pokémon live side by side, and the heroes are diffident 21-year-old nerd Tim (Justice Smith) and his estranged detective father’s former Pokémon partner, Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds).
Humans and Pokémon can’t normally comprehend each other’s language, so when Tim arrives in Ryme City to investigate his father’s reported death, he is amazed to discover that he can understand what Pikachu is saying. And it is when the cute and fluffy Pikachu opens his mouth that the movie really scores – with Reynolds channelling a PG-friendly version of his snarky Deadpool persona to consistently chucklesome effect.
To be honest, the film’s mystery isn’t the most gripping. Summing up, Pikachu has amnesia but doesn’t believe Tim’s father is actually dead. And plucky wannabe reporter Lucy (Kathryn Newton), who soon joins forces with the pair, also reckons there’s a conspiracy afoot involving the giant tech corporation run by wealthy philanthropist Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy).
With a bit of a stretch, the two puzzles turn out to be connected. Still, even if the story doesn’t make much sense, the menagerie of creatures popping up amid the jokes will delight devoted Pokémon fans, while Reynolds’ wisecracking, comically incongruous Pikachu holds it together. 2019, PG, 104MIN
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April 04, 2020