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‘Detective Pikachu’ is a spirited fantasy-adventure

May 25, 2019 GMT

For the uninitiated, Pokemon is a video game created by Satoshi Tajiri, who wanted to give Japanese children a sense of adventure in nature. Pocket Monsters/Pokemon are fictional animals that have special skills, such as psychic powers, electric shocks or sleep-inducing songs.

First, there were trading cards, then a cartoon. Soon Pokemon became a global phenomenon, as players were able to simulate the experience of catching the powered-up Pocket Monsters in the real world.

Taking many of its plot points from the 2016 Nintendo game, this story is set in Ryme City, a wondrous, experimental world in which humans and CGI Pokemon live in relative harmony.


Insurance appraiser Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is the son of Harry, a Ryme City private investigator, who is believed to have died in a fiery car crash but his body was never found.

Arriving in the neon-drenched metropolis, Tim finds his dad’s former partner, a cuddly, coffee-guzzling, yellow Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who suffers from amnesia and whose snarky, smart-alecky voice only Tim can hear.

With the help of cable-news intern Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton), billionaire Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy), who founded the Ryme City utopia, and his spoiled son Roger (Chris Geere), they’re determined to find out what really happened to Harry.

Is the culprit Mewtwo, a beastie created by gene-splicing and DNA engineering to be the ultimate fighting machine? Or does the mystery go deeper?

Plus, there are 807 Pokemon, including adorable Psyduck, an excitable quacker who induces headaches; Jigglypuff, the diva chanteuse; Cubone, wearing the goth-like skull of his dead mother; and Charizard, who spurts fiery dragon breath.

Based on a story by Nicole Perlman, it’s scripted by Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Derek Connolly and director Rob Letterman (“Gulliver’s Travels”), who concoct a conclusion that’s reminiscent of Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Detective Pikachu” is a spirited 6, a frantic fantasy-adventure aimed at millennials who are well acquainted with the cast of characters.

Susan Granger has been an on-air television and radio commentator and entertainment critic for more than 25 years. Raised in Hollywood, Granger appeared as a child actress in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, and Lassie. She currently resides in Westport.