A live-action Pokemon movie has been inevitable for going on 20 years now. It’s a force of nature and 18 types besides. Add to that the absolute hurricane that Pokemon Go has been, and the fires have never been more stoked for a film.
So it’s barely a surprise that a movie was announced today by Legendary (with Universal handling the global distribution). What is a massive surprise, though, is that it’s the film story of the spinoff 3DS game: Great Detective Pikachu!
Great Detective Pikachu is a standalone game that isn’t about catching ’em all. Instead, it focuses on a Pikachu with a penchant for puzzles who teams up with a young boy to solve the mysteries of their city. As the trailers make clear, the game is a blend of parody and homage to great Sherlock Holmes stories, such a the recent smashhit, BBC Sherlock.
It makes sense that any movie studio would want to step away from the main games. They are inherently about children going on adventures so grand that they would make Peter Jackson blush. It would be hard to capture the essence perfectly in a single live-action movie. Even the main Pokemon animated movies just assumed that you had watched every episode of the show rather than establish themselves as standalone events.
Still, it’s truly surprising to see that they are fixing this with such a bizarrely unique off-shoot of the franchise that’s entire premise is that it’s using someone else’s premise. Further, the game isn’t released outside of Japan, so brand recognition (for this very specific ‘Chu) is quite low.
At the end of the day, though, it’s hard to argue with a Pikachu in a deerstalker cap fighting crime, and it’s easy to see how this can go great places. Let’s hope it does!
What do you think? Is this a smash hit in the waiting, or is it a major misfire?