Detective Pikachu trailer: can Pokemon break the videogame movie curse?

Detective Pikachu trailer: can Pokemon break the videogame movie curse?


It’s an exciting time for Pokemon at the moment. Not only is the first live action movie coming out but Pokemon let’s go Eevee and Pikachu are the first real Pokemon RPGs on a home console. Despite the future looking rosy for Pokemon, the reaction to the detective Pikachu trailer has been mixed. This has mainly been in regard to the hyper-realistic art style. The trailer mixes live actors with CGI Pokemon. Even Pikachu has stylised (but relatively realistic) fur that some people have called ‘creepy’. But, in my opinion, his movie has a chance of being one of the best video game movie adaptations in a long while if not ever!


The main divisive issue is the hyper-realistic visuals of the Pokemon but it makes the universe this film is set in seem more ‘alive’ and creates believable interactions between people and Pokemon. Ok, so Mr. Mime does look quite scary but then he always has. Getting a big name involved like Ryan Reynolds (who’s voicing Pikachu) is a great positive for the movie. Let’s hope the film is successful so he doesn’t regret the role. If you haven’t seen the trailer and are a Pokemon fan, watch it now. The world is darker than you’d expect and one fire type in the trailer is particularly impressive.


From Mario to Castlevania

Video games, in general, have never translated well into movies. It could be because the stories in the source material have never been the strongest part of the medium. Games are more about the gameplay experience with story acting as a way to drive the gameplay forward. But big video game companies have recently begun diversifying into other forms of entertainment. The Castlevania Netflix series might be the best video game adaptation there has ever been and there are plans for Sonic and Mario movies. Ok, so the first Mario movie was terrible but video game movies have moved on since the 90’s. Maybe everyone’s ready for niche video game culture to make the jump to mainstream by inspiring a successful movie.

The Pokemon anime has been going strong for years and is how some people were first introduced to the series. The detective Pikachu trailer lacked any ’cringey’ moments which bodes well for the film. If the actors can show us that the world is a living, breathing Pokemon universe it will do really well critically as well as commercially. It will be interesting to see what Legendary Entertainment (the production company) can do with the scene they’ve set.

The detective Pikachu 3ds game kind of went under the radar in the UK and it’ll be interesting to see whether it’s sales, and those of other Pokemon games pick up when the movie releases. It could even drive everyone Pokemon mental like what happened around 1999 with the release of the original games and anime. Let’s hope so.

About author

Daniel Leal

I love videogame culture and feel it’s a medium with loads of potential. I mainly play Nintendo games as well as a lot of retro stuff. Im currently studying for an MSc.

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