Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

2019, PG, 104 min. Directed by Rob Letterman. Voice by Ryan Reynolds. Starring Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Chris Geere, Rita Ora, Suki Waterhouse.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., May 10, 2019

It’s amazing that Pokémon Detective Pikachu succeeds as a movie at all, given that it lands in the summer box-office arena with two strikes against it even before it commences: 1) It’s a Pokémon adventure, which means the film space comes packed with its own hermetic rules which baffle outsiders and flout narrative logic, and 2) It’s a film adaptation of a video game – never a good portent. Yet Pokémon Detective Pikachu is unlike any of the 21 feature-length cartoons that have preceded it: The film combines animation with live-action, which gives it a different look from the standard anime renditions. Moreover, this film introduces a Pokémon-noir element by which the Pikachu’s yellow fur becomes just about the brightest thing in the film’s color palette.

Some working knowledge of the 807 creatures in the Pokémon universe is certainly useful but it’s really only necessary to have familiarity with Pikachu (the most adorably irresistible Pokémon and the emblematic icon of the franchise) and Mewtwo (a powerful and genetically engineered Pokémon, usually the antagonist). The film is an adaptation of a recent, one-off video game starring the titular Detective Pikachu. A Sherlock Holmes deerstalker perches on the character’s head throughout the film, and the Pikachu acts as though he’s a cute private eye in a Sam Spade story.

Except for a head-scratching opening sequence, the film’s action takes place in Ryme City, a planned community created by self-proclaimed “visionary icon” Howard Clifford (Nighy, engagingly playing a twisted tycoon). Here humans and Pokémon dwell in harmony, supposedly free of the conventional master-and-chattel relationship in which humans catch the Pokémon creatures and enter them in exhibition battles. In Ryme City, humans and Pokémon team up as partners (in my mind, it’s something akin to having a therapy animal). The social harmony also stands in contrast to the Pokémon Go game in which people run around town trying to “catch 'em all” on their smartphones. In Ryme City, Pokémon seem to control their own destinies.

The Ryme City metropolis visually looks like something of a cross between the worlds of Blade Runner and Zootopia, a foggy yet colorful urban fantasia of shadows and weirdness. The masters of this universe, Howard Clifford and his son Roger (Geere), have the cartoon look of a Rupert Murdoch mogul and son, although in certain moments Roger appears a bit more like Eric Trump. A troubled young man, Tim Goodman (Smith), comes to Ryme City to find his father, who has been reported dead. Instead he finds his father’s Pokémon partner Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds, with no F-bombs but much of the sass displayed by his Deadpool character). Unlike communication in the rest of the Pokémon universe, Detective Pikachu and Tim can understand what each other is saying, a fact that alters the essential human/Pokémon relationship.

The film’s plot is either too much or too little, but whatever you decide, it’s best to give up on any expectations of true logic and just go with the flow because you know what, Jake: Forget it. It’s Pokémania.

Showtimes

Sun., May 26

10:55am, 2:15, 5:10, 8:25

Mon., May 27

8:40am, 12:40, 2:25, 5:15, 8:25

Tue., May 28

11:25am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:25

Wed., May 29

9:15am, 12:00, 2:50, 6:00, 9:15

Sun., May 26

9:40am, 12:45, 3:35, 5:00, 7:50, 10:40

Mon., May 27

9:25am, 12:20, 3:00, 5:00, 7:55, 10:55

Tue., May 28

4:35, 10:25
AFA 12:25

Wed., May 29

12:15, 3:40, 6:30, 9:25

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Sun., May 26

12:50, 3:50, 6:40, 9:30
AFA 10:00am

Mon., May 27

12:50, 3:50, 6:40, 9:30
AFA 10:00am

Tue., May 28

12:50, 3:50, 6:40, 9:30
AFA 10:00am

Wed., May 29

10:00am, 12:50, 3:50, 6:40, 9:30
AFA 10:00am

Sun., May 26

10:55am, 1:40, 4:25, 7:10, 9:55

Mon., May 27

11:05am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:05

Tue., May 28

4:40, 7:25, 10:10
AFA 11:10am, 1:55

Wed., May 29

12:15, 3:20, 6:45, 9:30

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Sun., May 26

10:00am, 1:40, 4:30, 7:30, 10:25

Mon., May 27

11:10am, 2:00, 4:50, 7:45, 10:30

Tue., May 28

4:40, 7:30, 10:30
AFA 11:50am, 1:55

Wed., May 29

11:30am, 2:25, 6:20, 10:20

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Sun., May 26

CC/DVS 11:10am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:20, 9:50

Mon., May 27

CC/DVS 11:00am, 2:20, 5:10, 8:10, 11:00

Tue., May 28

CC/DVS 11:10am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:20, 9:50

Wed., May 29

CC/DVS 11:10am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:20, 9:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Sun., May 26

digital 10:05am, 11:35am, 1:05, 2:25, 3:50, 5:15, 6:40, 8:05, 10:55

Mon., May 27

digital 10:05am, 11:35am, 1:05, 2:25, 3:50, 5:15, 6:40, 8:05, 10:55

Tue., May 28

digital 10:05am, 11:35am, 1:05, 2:25, 3:50, 5:15, 6:40, 8:05, 10:55

Wed., May 29

digital 10:05am, 11:35am, 1:05, 2:25, 3:50, 5:15, 8:05, 10:55

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Sun., May 26

digital 9:20am, 10:00am, 11:55am, 2:30, 3:45, 5:05, 7:40, 10:15

Mon., May 27

digital 9:20am, 10:00am, 11:55am, 2:30, 3:45, 5:05, 7:40, 10:15

Tue., May 28

digital 10:30am, 11:50am, 1:10, 2:30, 3:45, 5:05, 7:40, 10:15

Wed., May 29

digital 10:30am, 11:50am, 1:10, 2:30, 3:45, 5:05, 7:40, 10:15

Sun., May 26

digital 10:20am, 11:20am, 1:05, 2:05, 3:45, 4:50, 6:35, 9:20

Mon., May 27

digital 10:20am, 11:20am, 1:05, 2:05, 3:45, 4:50, 6:35, 9:20

Tue., May 28

digital 10:20am, 11:20am, 1:05, 2:05, 3:45, 4:50, 6:35, 9:20

Wed., May 29

digital 10:20am, 11:20am, 1:05, 2:05, 3:45, 4:50, 6:35, 9:20

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Sun., May 26

digital 9:00am, 11:35am, 2:15, 4:55, 7:35, 10:15

Mon., May 27

digital 9:00am, 11:35am, 2:15, 4:55, 7:35, 10:15

Tue., May 28

digital 11:35am, 2:15, 4:55, 7:35, 10:15

Wed., May 29

digital 11:35am, 2:15, 4:55, 7:35, 10:15

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., May 26

digital 9:55am, 10:45am, 12:25, 1:30, 2:55, 4:45, 5:25, 7:30, 7:55, 10:25

Mon., May 27

digital 9:55am, 10:45am, 12:25, 1:30, 2:55, 4:45, 5:25, 7:30, 7:55, 10:25

Tue., May 28

digital 9:55am, 10:45am, 12:25, 1:30, 2:55, 4:45, 5:25, 7:30, 7:55, 10:25

Wed., May 29

digital 9:55am, 10:45am, 12:25, 1:30, 2:55, 4:45, 5:25, 7:30, 7:55, 10:25

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Sun., May 26

digital 10:30am, 1:20, 4:10, 7:00, 9:45

Mon., May 27

digital 10:30am, 1:20, 4:10, 7:00, 9:45

Tue., May 28

digital 12:20, 4:10, 7:00, 9:45

Wed., May 29

digital 12:20, 4:10, 7:00, 9:30

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Sun., May 26

1:05, 4:00, 7:05, 9:50

Mon., May 27

1:05, 4:00, 7:05, 9:50

Tue., May 28

1:05, 4:00, 7:05, 9:50

Wed., May 29

1:05, 4:00, 7:05, 9:50

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Sun., May 26

11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 6:45, 9:30

Mon., May 27

10:15am, 11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 6:45, 9:30

Tue., May 28

11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 6:45, 9:30

Wed., May 29

11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 6:45, 9:30

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Sun., May 26

CC 10:30am, 12:45, 2:00, 5:00, 8:30

Mon., May 27

CC 10:30am, 12:45, 2:00, 5:00, 8:30

Tue., May 28

CC 10:45am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:30

Wed., May 29

CC 10:45am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:30

Thu., May 30

CC 10:45am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:30

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Sun., May 26

CC 10:15am, 11:00am, 1:55, 4:00, 4:55, 7:55, 10:45

Mon., May 27

CC 10:50am, 1:05, 1:45, 4:10, 4:40, 7:35, 10:25

Tue., May 28

CC 10:50am, 1:05, 1:45, 4:10, 4:40, 7:35, 10:25

Wed., May 29

CC 10:15am, 10:50am, 1:45, 4:00, 4:40, 7:35, 10:25

Thu., May 30

CC 10:50am, 1:45, 4:20, 4:40, 7:35, 10:25

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., May 26

3D, CC/DVS 12:30, 3:15
CC/DVS 11:35am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:40, 10:10

Mon., May 27

3D, CC/DVS 12:30, 3:15
CC/DVS 11:35am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:40, 10:10

Tue., May 28

3D, CC/DVS 12:30, 3:15
CC/DVS 11:35am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:40, 10:10

Wed., May 29

3D, CC/DVS 12:30, 3:15
CC/DVS 11:35am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:40, 10:10

Thu., May 30

3D, CC/DVS 12:30
CC/DVS 11:35am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:40, 10:10

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Sun., May 26

11:50am, 2:15, 4:40, 7:00, 9:20

Mon., May 27

11:50am, 2:15, 4:40, 7:00, 9:20

Tue., May 28

11:50am, 2:15, 4:40, 7:00, 9:20

Wed., May 29

11:50am, 2:15, 4:40, 7:00, 9:20

Thu., May 30

11:50am, 2:15, 4:40

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Sun., May 26

3D, CC/DVS 3:15, 6:15
CC/DVS 10:00am, 12:30

Mon., May 27

3D, CC/DVS 2:15, 5:00
CC/DVS 11:15am, 7:45

Tue., May 28

3D, CC/DVS 6:00
CC/DVS 3:00

Wed., May 29

3D, CC/DVS 6:00
CC/DVS 3:00

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., May 26

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:05

Mon., May 27

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:05

Tue., May 28

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:05

Wed., May 29

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:05

Thu., May 30

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:05

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Sun., May 26

9:00am, 9:45am, 11:45am, 2:40, 5:30, 8:00, 10:50

Mon., May 27

9:00am, 9:45am, 11:45am, 2:40, 5:30, 8:00, 10:50

Tue., May 28

9:45am, 11:45am, 2:40, 5:30, 8:00, 10:50

Wed., May 29

9:45am, 11:45am, 2:40, 5:30, 8:00, 10:50

Thu., May 30

9:45am, 11:45am, 2:40, 5:30, 8:00, 10:50

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Sun., May 26

11:00am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:00, 11:00

Mon., May 27

11:00am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:00, 11:00

Tue., May 28

11:00am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:00, 11:00

Wed., May 29

11:00am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:00, 11:00

Thu., May 30

11:00am, 2:00, 5:00, 8:00, 11:00

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Sun., May 26

10:05am, 12:55, 4:00, 6:55, 9:45

Mon., May 27

10:05am, 12:55, 4:00, 6:55, 9:45

Tue., May 28

10:05am, 12:55, 4:00, 6:55, 9:45

Wed., May 29

10:05am, 12:55, 4:00, 6:55, 9:45

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Sun., May 26

11:20am, 2:00, 7:50, 10:20
3D 4:30

Mon., May 27

11:20am, 2:00, 7:00
3D 4:30

Tue., May 28

2:10, 7:20
3D 4:40

Wed., May 29

2:10, 7:30
3D 4:40

Thu., May 30

1:40
3D 4:20

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Sun., May 26

10:00am, 12:25, 2:50, 5:15, 7:40, 10:10

Mon., May 27

10:00am, 12:25, 2:50, 5:15, 7:40, 10:10

Tue., May 28

11:45am, 2:10, 4:35, 7:00, 9:30

Wed., May 29

11:45am, 2:10, 4:35, 7:00, 9:30

Thu., May 30

11:45am, 2:10, 4:35, 7:00, 9:30

Sun., May 26

11:00am, 4:45, 7:30, 11:05

Mon., May 27

10:45am, 4:45, 7:30, 11:05

Tue., May 28

10:45am, 4:45, 7:30, 11:05

Wed., May 29

11:00am, 4:45, 7:30, 11:05

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Sun., May 26

11:45am, 2:25, 5:05, 7:45, 10:25

Mon., May 27

11:45am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 10:00

Tue., May 28

11:45am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 10:00

Wed., May 29

11:45am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 10:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., May 26

CC/DVS 11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 8:15, 10:45

Mon., May 27

CC/DVS 11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 8:15, 10:45

Tue., May 28

CC/DVS 11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 6:40, 10:30

Wed., May 29

CC/DVS 11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 6:40, 10:30

Thu., May 30

CC/DVS 11:15am, 1:45, 4:15, 6:40

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Rob Letterman, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Chris Geere, Rita Ora, Suki Waterhouse

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