Way back in October 2013 we glimpsed test footage of a facially mo-capped Pikachu in a detective hat speaking Japanese. At the time, most people raised their eyebrows at this weird clip. Now? Detective Pikachu is poised to be the spearhead of a media juggernaut that may well launch its own Pokémon Cinematic Universe. We got our first look at what the movie would be offering back in November via the first trailer and since then, we’ve been hearing nothing but positive impressions out of test screenings.
From what we understand, the reception to the film has resulted in numbers that are “off the charts good.” Audiences have apparently praised the multiple Easter Eggs, a generally high standard of performance (with Ryan Reynolds consistently named as the highlight of the movie), a witty and well-written script, well-executed CGI and an actually compelling mystery complete with several surprise appearances that are not hinted at in the trailer.
The buzz is so good around the film, in fact, that I think it stands a chance of being the first video game adaptation ever to score a Fresh rating on the Tomatometer. In the 26 years since Super Mario Bros: The Movie, there’ve been (by Wikipedia’s count) 35 live-action films released based on video games. The best reviewed was last year’s Rampage, but even that just managed an anaemic 53%.
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In second and third position are the 2018 Tomb Raider and the 1995 Mortal Kombat, and after that it’s a long slide down into Z-list disasterpieces. The very bottom of the barrel’s the live-action Tekken movie, which is sitting pretty on a 0% approval and even has the series’ director calling it “terrible” and “cruel.” Yikes.
If these test audiences are right, then Detective Pikachu is set to break the mold, and if it does so, Legendary will no doubt officially announce their upcoming spinoff featuring Mewtwo and their adaptation of the original Pokemon Red and Blue GameBoy games. As always, watch this space for more.