One of the biggest surprises in video game and movie news this week has got to be the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu trailer for a live-action adaptation of the Nintendo 3DS game from Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures, which sees a highly intelligent Pikachu team up with a boy named Tim. Tim is the only one who can understand Detective Pikachu when he talks, and together they set about solving a mystery. Though the film has been in development since 2016, there hasn’t been much anticipation for it. However, since the trailer was dropped on November 12th the hype has increased significantly and for good reason. The trailer showcases the world of Pokémon brought to life on the big screen, and for many of us as fans, a live-action adaptation is something that once seemed impossible.
The trailer is full to the brim with Easter eggs and Pokémon, both in plain sight and slightly more hidden. Here’s everything we caught from the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu trailer.
The first shot of the trailer is an establishing shot of Ryme City, where Pokémon roam free rather than being made to stay in their Pokéballs. As well as hearing a small musical interlude (which is recognisable as the main theme from the original Pokémon games), we get a major look at several Pokémon roaming freely about the city. From those wandering on the ground, we see Charmander, Dodrio, and a perching Braviary; further in the background you can spot a Venasaur, and what looks like a Bouffalant. In the sky there are several flying Pokémon going about their business — one that bears a distinct resemblance to Pidgeotto, or possibly Fearow, is seen along with a Comfey and Flabébé. There are also multiple signs in the city, with references such as a Berry Universe sign (berries being a popular food product for Pokémon). Some Pokémon included on the signs are Wooper, Sylveon, Victini, Pettilil, and Swirlix. On the left, there also seems to be a building with Pokéballs adorning it, perhaps depicting a healing centre, which are common sites in the games used to help to bring Pokémon back to full health.
Lucy and Psyduck
Next up we get a shot of a character called Lucy, a journalist with a pet Psyduck. There are also some parade balloons in the background of Gengar and Jigglypuff. Ryme City is known for its annual Pokémon Carnival, so it’s a safe bet to assume that the balloons will be a set piece for the carnival. You can also spot some parade workers dressed in outfits similar to Gengar and Squirtle. One of the more hidden Pokémon Easter eggs in this scene is a small Spoink bobblehead shown in Lucy’s car.
Tim’s bedroom is shown in the trailer, and there are tons of Pokémon references seen here in various posters for Pokémon Battles — not surprising, as it is noted that he was once an aspiring Pokémon trainer. A large Rayquaza adorns Tim’s bedroom wall, and the name Rayquaza is also plastered on a poster on the back of his door. Underneath, we see several more posters. A Charizard is shown on a Championship poster for a battle at the Cerulean Arena, and a similar one is shown on another wall with Blastoise. The Cerulean City setting is particularly noticeable to fans of the first generation of Pokémon. Based in Kanto, the setting for the first generation of games, Cerulean city is where Misty’s water gym resided. There is also a poster for a battle between first-gen Pokémon Hypno and Dragonite. A Johto Sports Club poster — Johto being the region from the second generation of games — advertises Articuno versus Steelix. Charizard pops up again in another poster for what looks to be a three or four way fight between Charizard, Blaziken, and two more Pokémon who are harder to spot.
Tim also has a large pair of Pikachu ears acting as the headboard for his bed, making Pokémon fans everywhere slightly envious.
Detective Pikachu, I Presume
Finally, we get our first proper look at the hero of the story, Detective Pikachu himself. Looking cute, cuddly, and so very fluffy, Pikachu is about as close to realism as you can hope for when it comes to yellow, electric, mouse-like creatures with red cheeks and lightning bolt tails. This Pikachu is super smart and voiced by Ryan Reynolds, who gives off some serious Deadpool vibes as he threatens to electrocute Tim. Their connection becomes clear as it’s shown that Tim is the only one who can understand him. Other humans can only hear his classic voice when he attempts to communicate with them, and the original voice of Pikachu, Ikue Ōtani, returns to her iconic role to provide it. I, for one, am looking forward to the surreal switching between the original Pikachu voice we know and love with the sassy and somewhat gruff tones of Ryan Reynolds.
The trailer continues to a marketplace scene, where we see that Tim really is the only person who can understand Pikachu, as we see passers-by only hearing his sickly sweet Pika Pikas. It’s also a scene that showcases more Pokémon ambling around, as we see another Dodrio and a trio of Emolgas hanging out to the left. There’s also what looks to be a small group of Joltiks on one of the market stalls to the right.
Charmander Lights it Up
In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot, you can see that a Charmander is using its tail to light up the stove for a market vendor. It’s a glimpse at how the Pokémon in this world are very much involved in the lives of the humans, working together with them as companions.
One last shot of the market shows another Venasaur to the left and a pink bipedal Pokémon to the right which looks like an Audino. It’s fun to see the Pokémon just going about their business on a busy street, interacting with and co existing with humans.
Some missing posters showcase a missing Pancham and Squirtle. It’s reminiscent of a missing pet poster, and you can see the name of Squirtle’s owner, Chelsea, suggesting that the bonds between the Pokémon and humans are going to play a significant part in the film.
Where the Bulbasaur Roam
A herd of Bulbasaurs and some Morelull are shown leading Tim and what looks like an injured Pikachu in the next scene. The Bulbasaurs’ appearance completes the roundup of the classic Pokémon that the player could choose from in the very first Pokémon games — the others being Squirtle and Charmander (and Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow). It’s a nice nostalgia blast to see all of the originals come to life.
Jigglypuff Is Not Impressed
Our next big reveal is the one and only Jigglypuff, standing on a table as a man snoozes next to her. She’s holding her microphone, which could double as a marker pen (like in the anime Pokémon series), and she’s looking less than pleased. This could be another reference to the anime, as Jigglypuff would often get annoyed when people would fall asleep when she was singing, and would retaliate by drawing on their faces with her marker. Classic Jigglypuff. Directly behind her there is also another Pokémon battle poster, this one advertising Machamp versus Primeape.
We finally get to see Charizard in action in the next scene, as he appears in what looks like an underground arena. His roar creates a burst of flame, and he seems to be standing in a similar pose to the one seen on his original Pokémon card.
A trio of Greninja — who later are seen chasing Pikachu — seem to be the bad guys in the trailer, but it looks like they could be playing the role of henchmen to the real villain.
We then see Tim and Pikachu at the arena, and get a very quick glimpse of a Pancham along with a Squirtle. Could they be the ones from the missing posters? There’s also a Rufflet to the left of the shot, and they all appear to be observing a battle of some kind (most likely a Pokémon one).
Another Pokémon that can easily be missed in the trailer appears in this scene, and it seems to be an Aipom behind Tim. You can briefly see him running around the corner to the right, but he is obscured by the exploding rubble.
A close up of Psyduck and Pikachu shows the great detail that has gone into bringing these characters to life. You can see the vibrant colours and the detail of Psyduck’s feathers and Pikachu’s fur as they seem to be embarking on a road trip with Tim and Lucy. It’s a nice touch to see them so lovingly crafted.
The ground rises up Inception-style in the next scene, which may suggest a very powerful ground or rock-type Pokémon at work. The large scale of the shifting earth could be multiple Pokémon at once, or perhaps one of an unusually large size.
The Pokémon that the internet has been freaking out about is the eerie Mr Mime. His fleshy, humanoid style is unnerving to say the least, but in my opinion, he’s always been a disturbing Pokémon. I’m not a fan of the humanoid Pokémon type in general, but Mr Mime has always seemed a little bit more out there. In the anime, a Mr Mime ends up moving into Ash’s house and living with his mum. It’s all just a little bit weird, so I don’t see a difference here. He has always been plain peculiar, and I think this creepy version depicts that pretty well. Here we can see him using his signature psychic barrier move to block Pikachu while telling him — through the art of mime — to shove it.
It looks like Psyduck is expelling a large psychic blast in this scene that rings out for miles around. Tim, Lucy, Pikachu, and Psyduck appear to be in the same wooded area as when we see the ground rising, so could Psyduck’s energy have something to do with this? It’s also very cute to see Lucy carrying Psyduck around in a baby carrier on her back.
A Pikachu Sized Snack
The last big shot of the trailer shows a poor Pikachu looking like he is about to be gobbled up by Charizard. I’m hoping that won’t be the case, as children and adults alike may be somewhat disturbed if Pokémon are shown munching on each other. What I like about this shot is the detail we see on Charizard. You can see his orange scales, his sharp fangs, and the drool dripping from his mouth. He genuinely looks intimidating, the way a Charizard should be. Even his blue eyes give him a more menacing appearance. It’s another great take on a classic Pokémon.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
I am personally quite excited for this movie, despite some of the negativity that has been reported on it. Some believe that the Pokémon do not look right or that they look odd, but in comparison to their original designs, the ones they have shown so far have been reasonably accurate. Pokémon are weird creatures in general; they’re Pocket Monsters — the clue is in their name. These are abnormal beings, and while yes, some are adorable (Pikachu, I’ve loved him for so long) and some are horrifying (Mr Mime = nightmare fuel), they are all individual and quirky beings. As someone who grew up on the Pokémon franchise, that’s one of the things I loved about it. The weirdness, the cuteness, the freakiness, and most importantly, the way I still found them loveable and wanted to catch ‘em all (yes, even you Mr Mime. Stay away from my mum though). From what we see here, it looks like this movie could harness what has always been great about Pokémon to create a truly unique and funny story, and maybe even start a live-action film franchise. Here’s hoping it keeps the heart-warming nature of Pokémon as we know it.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is set for release May 10th, 2019.