YEL­LOW FEVER...

RYAN REYNOLDS CHAN­NELS A FAM­ILY-FRIENDLY DEAD­POOL TO PRO­VIDE THE VOICE FOR POP­U­LAR POKÉ­MON CHAR­AC­TER

Llanelli Star - - FILM REVIEWS -

POKÉ­MON DE­TEC­TIVE PIKACHU (PG) ★★★ ★★

SON un­rav­els the mys­tery of his fa­ther’s mur­der in Poké­mon De­tec­tive Pikachu, a rol­lick­ing fan­tasy ad­ven­ture which milks ev­ery drop of de­li­cious dead­pan hu­mour from Ryan Reynolds as the voice of the tit­u­lar ro­dent-like crit­ter, who can be trained to emit an elec­tric dis­charge.

A script cred­ited to four writ­ers in­clud­ing direc­tor Rob Let­ter­man crack­les with en­ergy as a per­plex­ing case of cor­po­rate cor­rup­tion un­folds in breath­less ac­tion set pieces in­clud­ing one jaw-drop­ping race for sur­vival through a col­laps­ing wood­land.

“At this point, how can you NOT be­lieve in cli­mate change?!” shrieks Pikachu with tongue wedged firmly in furry yel­low cheek.

As a con­vo­luted crime caper, Let­ter­man’s fast-paced fam­ily-ori­ented film breathes deeply an air of pre­pos­ter­ous­ness that would in­stantly pique the cu­rios­ity of Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and the rest of the Mys­tery Inc. gang.

Very young au­di­ences will un­mask the vil­lain well be­fore the ap­pear­ance of Mew­too and a shady sci­en­tist played in holo­graphic flash­backs by

Rita Ora.

The chief plea­sure of De­tec­tive Pikachu is the rap­port be­tween lead ac­tor Jus­tice

Smith and his dig­i­tally-ren­dered side­kick, brought vividly to life by Reynolds chan­nelling a PG-friendly ver­sion of his wise­crack­ing Dead­pool per­sona.

Tim Goodman (Smith) re­ceives the sad news that his es­tranged fa­ther, De­tec­tive Harry Goodman, has been killed in a car ac­ci­dent in Ryme City.

The or­phaned 21-year-old trav­els with best friend Jack (Karan Soni) to the fu­tur­is­tic me­trop­o­lis, which was es­tab­lished by billionair­e Howard Clif­ford (Bill Nighy) as the only place on Earth where hu­mans and Poké­mons co­ex­ist in har­mony.

“No bat­tles, no Pokéballs, no train­ers,” ex­plains Jack.

Tim meets Ryme City po­lice de­tec­tive Yoshida (Ken Watan­abe), who pro­vides a set of keys to Harry’s apart­ment.

In­side, Tim dis­cov­ers his fa­ther’s Poké­mon, Pikachu (voiced by Reynolds), who claims to be suf­fer­ing am­ne­sia af­ter the crash that sup­pos­edly killed Harry. “I can’t solve my own mys­tery if I have no memory,” laments

Pikachu.

Sift­ing through his fa­ther’s be­long­ings, Tim dis­cov­ers a vial of a nox­ious pur­ple liq­uid, which trans­forms nor­mally docile Poké­mon into crazed preda­tors.

A cub TV re­porter called Lucy Stevens (Kathryn New­ton) is al­ready on the case and her fin­ger of sus­pi­cion points to Clif­ford’s power-hun­gry son Roger (Chris Geere).

De­tec­tive Pikachu em­ploys slick dig­i­tal trick­ery to sur­round Tim with a menagerie of weird and won­der­ful crit­ters in­clud­ing Lucy’s Poké­mon, Psy­duck, which re­acts ex­plo­sively to stress.

Smith dips his toes into his un­wit­ting hero’s well of sad­ness with­out shame­lessly pluck­ing heart­strings and there is a gen­tly sim­mer­ing on-screen chem­istry with New­ton’s am­bi­tious in­tern.

Some of Reynolds’ risque asides will fly com­fort­ably over the heads of the tar­get au­di­ence and land squarely with amused par­ents and teenagers, for whom Let­ter­man’s film should be – whis­per it – a guilty plea­sure.

Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds)

Chem­istry: Above left are Tim Goodman (Jus­tice Smith), Pikachu and Lucy Stevens (Kathryn New­ton), and right is Hide Yoshida (Ken Watan­abe) with one of the Poké­mon

Bill Nighy as Howard Clif­ford

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