Pokemon Detective Pikachu, based on the popular video game and trading cards is a hybrid of live-action and CGI that only hardcore fans will really appreciate or understand. It's not the disaster that most video game adaptations are, but it's not memorable either.
The movie takes place in a colorful metropolis called Ryme City where humans and Pokemon are forbidden from interacting with one another despite the fact that the rest of the world does.
Justice Smith stars as a kid called to the city to investigate the disappearance of his father. Ken Watanabe is a detective who wants to encourage him to team up with a Pokemon to solve the case, but Smith refuses.
Later he gets a visit from the popular Pokemon known as Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) who wants to assist him. Reynolds' performance is him basically recycling his “Deadpool” persona to a more kid-friendly level, but to a more diminishing effect.
The two become reluctant partners, but they do get some moments where they're able to bond including one scene where Smith's character explains how he lost his mother as a kid and has a dysfunctional relationship with his father. Those scenes work and they do bring a genuine pathos.
There is one impressive sequence in the movie and that is where a series of mountains come to life while Reynolds, Smith, and an intrepid rookie reporter (Kathyrn Newton) try to survive while running through the debris.
Reynolds does attempt to get some comedic chops, but he's surrounded by a story that doesn't really feel involving or coherent especially during its overblown climax.
Some of the computer animation is good, but other scenes come off as being too cartoonish. There is nice chemistry between Reynolds and Smith and more of their camaraderie would've been a good idea.
The movie spends a lot of time setting up its elaborate world, but not enough time on a story. This is essentially a Roger Rabbit knockoff, but without the charm or wit of that film.
Unless you walk in already knowing the majority of the characters on screen, you're gonna have to pay close attention.
(Rated PG for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements.)