Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019 Film)

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019 Film)

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Updated May 14, 2019 at 08:23AM EDT by andcallmeshirley.

Added Feb 28, 2019 at 11:15AM EST by Adam.

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is a live-action film based off the Detective Pikachu video game by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for the Nintendo 3DS. The film is directed by Rob Letterman and stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice of the title character.


In December of 2017, Legendary Entertainment announced that Ryan Reynolds would voice Detective Pikachu in a live-action film version of the game of the same name, set to be released in 2019.[1] The film will be directed by Rob Letterman, who directed Gulliver's Travels (2010) and Goosebumps (2015).

First Trailer

On November 12th, 2018, Warner Brothers released the first trailer for the live-action Detective Pikachu. It gained over 483,000 views within the first few hours of release.

Responses to the trailer were mixed. One of the most common complaints about the trailer was the design of the Pokémon Jigglypuff, who is given fur in the film. Fans were divided on the decision, as some fans thought it didn't look correct to the character, while others said the alternative would be to make Jigglypuff all-skin, which could look disturbing.

tweet questioning why Jigglypuff has fur in the Detective Pikachu live action movie tweet saying that if Jigglypuff wasn't furry in the Detective Pikachu movie it would look fleshy like a testicle

Ryan Reynold's performance of the title character also received mixed reactions. Twitter user @Tatiannanow tweeted their confusion at the choice, gaining over 25 retweets and 310 likes (shown below, left). Other users expressed similar bewilderment at Reynolds and the project as a whole. For example, writer Sarah Jeong included the casting as one of several bizarre happenings of 2018 (shown below, right).

tweet with picture of a confused Pikachu and text wondering why Ryan Reynolds was cast as the titular character in the Detective Pikachu live action movie list of bizarre events in the year of 2018 including the casting of Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu

Second Trailer

On February 26th, 2019, Warner Brothers Pictures released a second trailer for the film, gaining over 12 million views in two days (shown below, left).

The trailer revealed several new Pokémon that would be included in the film, including Ludicolo, Aipom, and most notably, Mewtwo. Ludicolo and Mewtwo generated the most attention online. In the former's case, social media users commented on the goofiness of its scene, wherein Ludicolo is a bartender. Twitter user @SamanthaCKing compared Ludicolo to Gritty, gaining over 2,200 retweets and 9,700 likes (shown below, left). Mewtwo's appearance was the subject of a Verge[8] article about the second trailer. The official Twitter account for Pluckers Wing Bar photoshopped Mewtwo such that it's holding two chicken wings, gaining over 210 retweets and 940 likes (shown below, right).

tweet about realizing Ludicolo in the Detective Pikachu movie looks like Gritty the mascot Pluckers Wing Bar with picture of Mewtwo holding chicken wings

There was also significant attention paid to Pikachu delivering a mild curse when he says, "Get me the hell out of here." Twitter user @Dinolich posted fan art about the moment, gaining over 9,600 retweets and 32,000 likes (shown below, left). User @Sprite37 posted a comic in which Deadpool teaches Pikachu to swear, gaining over 9,600 retweets and 33,000 likes (shown below, right).

art of Detective Pikachu holding a steaming mug and saying he has permission to swear comic of Deadpool holding Detective Pikachu and teaching him to swear

Detective Pikachu Leak Prank

On May 7th, 2019, YouTube channel Inspector Pikachu uploaded a 1 hour 43 minute video titled "POKÉMON Detective Pikachu: Full Picture".[9] The video, watermarked "R. Reynolds", contained 30 seconds of what appeared to be leaked footage of Detective Pikachu, only to be interrupted by 1 hour 42-minute scene of Pikachu performing dance aerobics to an upbeat synthwave composition. The video gained over 4.3 million views in 13 hours.

Immediately following the upload, Pikachu voice actor Ryan Reynolds tweeted a link to the video, with the tweet gaining over 19,600 retweets and 70,900 likes in 13 hours.[10] At the same time, the official Twitter account of the film altered its name to "Detective Leakachu".[11]

tweet by Ryan Reynolds linking to the fake leaked Detective Pikachu video picture of the Detective Pikachu Twitter account with its name changed to Detective Leakachu

Online Presence

Updates about the film have seen a wide variety of reactions across social media. On Reddit, major threads about the first trailer's release include one in /r/movies[2] that gained over 35,000 points, one in /r/Pokemon[3] that gained over 16,000 points, and one in /r/Nintendo[4] that gained over 7,100 points. Twitter user @akfamilyhomeak tweeted a comparison of a still from the trailer to the recently popular Surprised Pikachu meme, gaining over 4,100 retweets and 11,000 likes (shown below).

joke replacing the Surprised Pikachu meme with a still of Detective Pikachu

On February 25th, Ryan Reynolds posted a parody of Inside the Actor's Studio in which he discussed playing Pikachu, gaining over 3.9 million views (shown below)


Detective Pikachu opened on May 10th, 2019 to middling reviews from critics. As of release day, the film has a score of 52/100 on Metacritic,[12] with the vast majority of reviews being categorized as "mixed." Rotten Tomatoes[16] has a critic score of 66% and an audience score of 85%. Rolling Stone[13] wrote the film was fairly straightforward and would baffle anyone who wasn't already a fan of Pokémon, though conceded it was "strictly for the fans." The Seattle Times[14] agreed that fans would like the movie, but stated "Overlong set-piece action scenes pitched in the key of chaos, full of running and screaming and a whole lot of falling down, ultimately turn Pikachu into a wearying slog." The New York Times[15] was most critical, saying it is "is 1 hour and 44 minutes of Pikachu short-circuiting your brain."

Online, fan reaction was mostly positive. Polygon video producer Simone de Rochefort tweeted positively about the film (shown below, left). User @garfep also tweeted a positive review of the film, saying "it makes each pokemon feel like a natural extension of that world in a way i never thought would work so well in a movie."

tweet questioning why Detective Pikachu wasn't being hugged tweet of reaction to watching the Detective Pikachu movie

Creepy Mr. Mime

Creepy Mr. Mime refers to jokes about the Pokémon Mr. Mime as he appears in the first trailer for the Detective Pikachu film, which struck social media users as unsettling.

After the trailer aired, social media users immediately commented on what they considered the creepiness of Mr. Mime's appearance. For example, Twitter user @itsacquaintance compared the Pokémon to Pennywise the Clown from the IT film (shown below, left). User @JacobOller voiced their displeasure at the choice to give Mr. Mime some subtle hair by saying whoever made that choice should "go to prison" (shown below, right).

Mr. Mime replacing Pennywise the Clown in the sewer tweet pointing out the tiny hairs on top of Mr. Mime's head

Polygon,[5] Uproxx,[6] and Kotaku[7] all published pieces commenting on the creepiness of the character, with Kotaku compiling tweets that compared Mr. Mime to horror movie villains. Of those tweets, some popular examples include one by @pokebeach_wpm that also compared the character to Pennywise (shown below, left) and a tweet by @itukayomo that compared the character to several doll villains from horror films (shown below, right).

side by side pictures of Mr. Mime and Pennywise the Clown and suggestion for a crossover movie pictures of several doll villains from horror movies, Mr. Mime included

Angry Jigglypuff

Angry Jigglypuff refers to a clip from the first trailer for the film in which a furry, realistic-looking 3D rendering of the Pokémon Jigglypuff makes an angry face, a signature expression lifted from the Pokémon anime Jigglypuff makes when it is upset people fall asleep after it sings. The expression was much-discussed online after the trailer for Detective Pikachu was released.

After the trailer aired, Jigglypuff's expression and appearance was much discussed online. In addition to the reaction around the character's furry design, Twitter users also found Jigglypuff's expression relatable and amusing. For example, Twitter user @isirikul commented that Jigglypuff's face was a "goddamn mood", gaining over 1,600 retweets and 5,000 likes (shown below, left). User @EscoBlades joked that Jigglypuff looked like it had just been asked to sing "Africa", gaining over 1,600 retweets and 4,500 likes (shown below, right).

picture of a 3D rendered Jigglypuff with fur wearing an angry and relatable expression meme of Jigglypuff reacting in anger to being asked to sing Africa by Toto

Others compared Jigglypuff to how it appeared in the anime. User @SaraSorrentino joked that Jigglypuff appeared like a lounge singer past its prime, gaining over 3,700 retweets and 11,000 likes (shown below, left). User @ChrisPJGodfrey joked that the angry 3D Jigglypuff represented people on Twitter while the anime version represented people on Instagram, gaining over 1,800 retweets and 5,000 likes (shown below, right). Reactions were covered by Daily Dot.

Jigglypuff's anime design and his 3D design as before and after pics Chris Godfrey @ChrisPJGodfrey Follow people on Instagram vs people on Twitter SPRES 1:50 PM-12 Nov 2018 1,802 Retweets 5,099 Likes

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Top Comments


"Critics and fans agree: this movie is strictly for fans of Pokémon."

…was that not obvious right out of the gate with the trailers showing they actually took the time and effort to represent almost all generations, which is why audience scores and online opinions are mostly positive in the first place..? A casual movie would not have done that, and it feels like only critics were unaware of this before watching the movie.


Rotten Tomatoes reviews have such gems as:

"No human of a certain age, even with the credentials that (Bill) Nighy possesses, can utter the word "Pokémon" without it sounding a little embarrassing."


"Will you understand the Pokemon universe after watching it? No – and trust me – you don't want to."


"The mechanics that often make a video game fun and meaningful don't always translate to a good story." (As if there aren't multiple super popular anime series)

and in a positive review no less

"Designed to cash in on the popular mobile game …"

Who allowed these people to write things on the Internet.


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