Detective Pikachu is an upcoming live-action Pokemon film from director Rob Letterman and Legendary Entertainment. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Rita Ora, Ken Watanabe, Karan Soni, the film hits US theaters May 10, 2019.
A young man joins forces with Detective Pikachu to unravel the mystery behind his father’s disappearance. Chasing clues through the streets of Ryme City, the dynamic duo soon discover a devious plot that poses a threat to the Pokémon universe.
Thanks to the efforts from artist RJ Palmer, who was hired to develop concept art for the upcoming Detective Pikachu film, fans now have their first look at what a live-action Pokemon will look like on the bigscreen. Palmer designed a series of breathtaking ‘ultra-realistic’ Pokemon imagery in 2012 and that was how he landed the gig — after the studio googled “realistic pokemon”… Funny how simple that process really is. You’ll notice that the Pokemon in Detective Pikachu aren’t “ultra” realistic, but they have all seemingly struck the perfect balance between the videogames/animated series and what they should appear like in live-action. Pikachu has fur, Jigglypuff has hair – and although not every Pokemon is covered in fuzz, they all have more life-like textures, including the disturbing Mr. Mime in what looks like a great interrogation sequence.
I grew up playing a lot of Pokemon on my gameboy color. I’ve never once thought to myself: “what would Pikachu look like if it walked up to me right now?” — So I didn’t really have an opinion or expectations on the subject one way or the other, but I will say – what the hell else did you expect? If you wanted straight gloss on every single Pokemon in this live-action setting, it would simply look like a marriage between animation and live-action – ala Roger Rabbit. We can’t do that kind of thing in 2018 – the time to add hair to these little bastards is NOW. I think it looks perfect. I actually think I like the live-action versions of these Pokemon MORE than their original design. If you’re hating on Jigglypuff’s curl of hair, I want you to tell me why it would be a good thing to have that curl be comprised entirely of floppy Poke-flesh. You’re a sick person if you wanted or expected anything different than what Rob Letterman’s film is delivering.
Not all the Pokemon are covered in hair and not all of the Pokemon looked amazing – I will say that as a disclaimer. I do think that some of the Pokemon in the trailer could use some extra attention because the Greninjas, Squirtle, Bulbasaur — they all look like they were just copied/pasted right out the latest videogames. Not that they need to be slimey or whatever the Hell, but the “star” Pokemon in this preview all looked PERFECT to me, including Charizard, which looks badass with added scale texture. If I walked into a store and saw a videogame Pikachu stuffy beside the live-action version – I’d be buying the live-action Pikachu all day long. He looks frikken adorable. I had zero expectations for this film and I found the casting of Ryan Reynolds as the titular character to be asinine when news broke, but after watching the preview.. I gotta be honest when I say that the film is already one of my most anticipated of 2019 — by a mile.