Pokemon: Detective Pikachu Trailer – Move Over Transformers

Twenty years after fans first were exposed to the wonderful world of Pokemon, the beloved franchise is making the long-awaited leap into live action as the first trailer to Pokemon: Detective Pikachu hit the web and people are taking notice. So much so that it overshadowed the trailer drop of Toy Story 4.

The film is based on the game, Detective Pikachu, which was released in 2016 in Japan but never saw a release in the US. The game follows a Pikachu, Pokemon’s most iconic character, who has a high IQ and a human companion who can understand him while no one else can (since Pokemon, with rare exception, can only speak their name). The film features Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Detective Pikachu and an impressive cast including Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), Kathryn Newton (Blockers), Ken Watanabe (Inception), Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), Karan Soni (Deadpool), and Chris Green (You’re the Worst).

Overall it’s a solid trailer that shows audiences that they are making a live action Pokemon film, what these characters will look like, a general idea on the plot and tone which is buddy comedy with kid-friendly Deadpool. This plot alters the traditional format of the franchise, where a young kid gets a Pokemon and goes traveling around the world going on adventures to ‘catch them all.’ The film gives a simpler narrative that audiences are familiar with, so they can spend more time introducing the audience to the world of Pokemon. If everything goes well this could be the start of a multi-film franchise with spin-off films that follow the more traditional Pokemon outline.

Fan reaction to the trailer has been mixed but overall positive. Most of the critique tends to derive from the design of the Pokemon themselves. Crafting these creatures into live action was always going to be a difficult prospect, but it looks like the creators have more than lived up to the challenge. Pokemon seems to be going through a similar franchise cycle as the Transformers film in 2007.

When the first Transformers trailer hit the web the internet went ablaze, but a lot of discussion was about the character design. Some liked the more realistic look, while others criticized them for being ugly. Yet Transformers paid off due to a great marketing campaign, a 23-year nostalgia built up where fans of the original had now grown up with kids of their own they wanted to share it with, and it was something ‘new’ in a summer full of sequels. The same could be said for Pokemon: Detective Pikachu.

The film was originally developed and distributed by Universal Studios (since they are partnering up with Nintendo for a Nintendo theme park and Illumination Entertainment is working on the new Super Mario Bros. film), yet Legendary Pictures, who is funding the film, has now brought it to Warner Bros. A fitting homecoming, since Kids WB is how many kids were first exposed to Pokemon in the US in the late 90’s to early 2000’s and WB released the first three Pokemon animated films in theaters.

Detective Pikachu was announced as in development in mid-2016, at the height of the Pokemon resurgence when Pokemon Go launched. This new film will arrive in theaters a few months after the release of Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee to help create the ultimate in Poke-Mania.

What did you think of the trailer for Pokemon: Detective Pikachu? Are you excited for the film? Let us know in the comments below.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu arrives in theaters on May 10, 2019.