If you hadn’t heard, the Toy Story 4 teaser came out today. Kind of a big deal. When I found out I assumed that social media would be abuzz so I hopped onto the Twitter to join my fellow Pixar nerds in jubilation. What I found there was an entire feed of nothing but the trailer for the upcoming Fox feature Detective Pikachu starring the meta-humor master himself, Ryan Reynolds.
Director Rob Letterman is trying to accomplish three incredible feats within this framework. First, he’s trying to bring a beloved IP (arguably the largest and most beloved IP) that has never seen a live action feature, to the big screen. Second, he’s trying to make a compelling crime noir for kids that is still enjoyable to all the millennials who grew up with the show. Third, he’s trying to take a film that blends live action and an immense amount of CG and not make it so bad it becomes a distraction. It’s like a tight rope walk across the Grand Canyon while juggling chainsaws. And yet, first impressions are overwhelmingly positive.
The CG looks good. Especially Pikachu, whose fuzzy appearance really pops compared to the more flat 2D renderings of the same character in other animated features. All of the Pokemon that are throughout the trailer look and feel like apart of the world, if a bit like teddy bears. The only time the CG looked even remotely off was with the Charizard. Something about the giant flaming dragon gave me flashbacks to the horrid CG from Jurassic World.
Speaking of Jurassic World, our boy Justice Smith plays the lead role in this film as a young man trying to solve the mystery of his missing father. You may remember Justice as the “nerd” character from JW: Fallen Kingdom aka The Worst Film of the Year. This is his chance at redemption. Ultimately his job in this movie is to play the straight man to Ryan Reynold’s Detective Pikachu, who stands out as the obvious star of the film. Reynolds brings out a lot of dry wit and sass that he is well known for from his other films (Deadpool, Van Wilder) and brings the energy to make the role feel electric.
Ultimately, this film looks like a blast. A fun, one-off, adventure based on a spin-off of a cherished kids show. Who knows, maybe with this being a success we could get other Nintendo properties to the big screen? I think if anyone deserves a reboot its The Mario Brothers.