Pokémon: Detective Pikachu Movie Review

The vast majority, if not all video game movies, are awful. Luckily, all it took was a little detective work to fix that.

Detective Pikachu centres around Tim Goodman, a miserable young lad (which is fair enough because his dad has just died in a horrific accident) who discovers a talking Pikachu in his late father’s apartment. It quickly becomes apparent that not all is as it seems, and Tim and Pikachu team up with local reporter Lucy to crack the case.

The majority of the movie takes place in and around Ryme City, a city where humans and Pokémon live in harmony. The way that director Rob Letterman has built this world is really convincing, with the ways that the Pokémon interact with their humans and engage in society is really charming and adds to the immersion, making you really feel like this could be the real world, or at least a version of it that you’d probably want to live in.

The movie is visually stunning, from all the little details and Easter eggs that will please long-time fans of the games in Ryme City to the beautiful outdoor scenery, this is a video game movie that not only has a good plot, but also looks great. The realistic Pokémon may have looked jarring in the trailers when they were first revealed, but in this world they really do work, with the designs of Psyduck and Bulbasaur looking exceptionally good.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

The casting of Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu turned a few heads when it was first announced, but his brand of humour is perfect for this movie, and the chemistry between him and Justice Smith who plays Tim feels genuine and charming, even though he is talking to a Pikachu at the end of the day. Kathryn Newton does a great job as Lucy, and Bill Nighy as Howard Clifford, the visionary mind who created Ryme City, is another great choice.

Kathryn Newton in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newton, and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Detective Pikachu should catch (haha) the attention of all fans of Pokémon, and should be a fun movie for anyone who even has a very passing knowledge of the franchise. Very easily the best game to movie adaptation ever made, and I’d welcome a whole series of films set in this world.

85%

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Vice – Movie Review

Christian Bale stars as Vice President Dick Cheney in a movie that manages to be genuinely funny, while still openly angry and dismayed at it’s main star.

The whole cast put in brilliant performances, with the central couple of Christian Bale and Amy Adams as Dick and Lynne Cheney being exceptional, alongside Sam Rockwell being perfect as George W Bush.

Vice is a very angry movie, (rightly so) but it funnels this anger at times through humour and light-heartedness, meaning some of the cuts between scenes almost give you whiplash; at one moment you’re laughing at witty text on the screen then suddenly you’re looking at graphic scenes of torture.

The way the story of Dick is told is very clever; I was gripped throughout – from his early alcohol troubled years all through his rise to become the most powerful Vice President in history, and it was very interesting and disheartening to see how he manipulated and took advantage of those around him to gain more power.

A must-see for anyone remotely interested in politics, and it might be even more important for those who aren’t.

85%

Ralph Breaks The Internet Movie Review

Product placement with heart takes centre stage in this Disney sequel.

The original Wreck-It Ralph was a heartfelt tribute to the world of gaming with really vibrant worlds bursting with colour and lovable characters, both new and those well known from the past. The sequel goes digital, losing some of that character in the process but still managing to get it right most of the time.

In this movie, Ralph and Vanellope have to travel to the internet in order to get a new steering wheel for Vanellope’s game in the arcade, Sugar Rush. The new characters that the duo encounter in the world wide web are well fleshed out and very likeable, especially the sleek racer ‘Shank’ voiced by Gal Gadot, and head of BuzzzTube, ‘Yesss’ who is voiced by Taraji P Henson, who both really add to the movie and avoid stereotypes that easily could have been forced upon their characters.

There are a LOT of real life internet sites and apps in this movie. Upon first glance it may seem like pure product placement and advertising, with a barrage of well known names and apps hitting you when you are first shown the internet. However, they are all handled with humour and the use of these real sites such as eBay really do make it seem as if they are in the internet, and there are a lot of visual jokes and puns to be made too.

The much talked about section in the trailer where Vanellope encounters all of the Disney princesses does live up to the hype, and is a great moment in the movie.

Overall, Ralph Breaks The Internet is a fun, nice looking movie with lovable characters and some genuine messages about friendship even if it doesn’t have the heart or the excitement of the original.

67%

The Grinch Movie Review

When I heard that Illumination, the company behind the Minions, were rebooting the Grinch I immediately rolled my eyes and thought ‘Here we go again.’ However, my eye roll was very premature. Because the new Grinch movie isn’t bad.

The voice cast were all great, with Pharrell as the narrator working really well, Kenan Thompson is perfect as the bubbly Bricklebaum and Benedict Cumberbatch puts in a bright, playful performance as the titular Grinch.  

Matching the aesthetics of the world of Dr.Seuss pretty well, the detail in the animation here is stunning at times, with grand winter scenes shining brightly, and it being especially impressive when you see all the details like the tiny bits of snow clinging to the Grinch’s fur. Max the dog is almost guaranteed to make you smile, and his personality really shines through with his amazing facial expressions.

This is a different way of telling the story of the Grinch, with a lot more backstory shown giving reason as to why he hates Christmas so much, and it is a lot more lighthearted and kid-friendly than other version, and those expecting another Jim Carey will be disappointed, but this is not entirely a bad thing as for the most part it is really enjoyable.

Perfect heartwarming family Christmas movie this year.

77%

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Movie Review

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is Disney’s latest family movie for the Christmas season.

Mackenzie Foy stars as young Clara, who is given a mysterious egg as a posthumous Christmas present by her late mother. This egg has a keyhole, but no key – the movie centers around Clara’s quest to find it. Following her mother’s clues she ends up in a mystical world made up of the titular four realms, and meets a bizzare, diverse cast of characters.

The supporting cast are solid, with Helen Mirren as Mother Ginger and Jayden Fowora-Knight as Captain Hoffman having standout performances.

Visually stunning, The Nutcracker is really pretty with beautiful, well fleshed out scenes and top quality CGI throughout; with the animal characters (the mice are especially great) all looking amazing. The plot is nothing new or anything that will stick with you for too long once the movie has ended. Two of the realms are really quickly skipped over and are barely featured at all, which is a shame as the land of sweets looked amazing.

There is a big plot twist towards the end of the movie, which does allow it to pick up in actual suspense and drama.

Overall, The Nutcracker is a fun, beautifully produced family movie that is ideal to take the kids to over the Christmas break (it’s November now so I hope it’s still showing then) – but I’m not sure it’s one they’ll want to watch again and again.

72%

The Hate U Give – Movie Review

The Hate U Give is a very timely, important film from director George Tillman Jr. and the late Audrey Wells brought to life by a cast who all bring stellar performances.

Starr Carter, played by Amandla Stenberg, is a high-school student who becomes the only witness to the fatal shooting of her best friend Khalil by a white police officer.

The Hate U Give shows how Starr has to balance what are effectively two different lives. Her home and school are in completely different neighbourhoods, and she struggles to hide parts of her she only wants certain people to see.

This only gets more difficult once she has to go before a Grand Jury, in what is quickly becoming a very high profile, public case – with protests aiming for justice for Khalil pretty much surrounding her, both at home and school.

Amandla is consistently brilliant as Starr, emotional and powerful while not overstated or overacting the role. The whole cast are almost perfect in their roles. From Anthony Mackie as the imitable ‘King’ to Common as Uncle Carlos there are so many smaller stories woven throughout the movie, giving a real human depth to the setting, with each character being fully realised, and they are all portrayed with excellence.

If you can, go and see this.

94%

The Hate U Give is out now.

Bohemian Rhapsody Movie Review

Bohemian Rhapsody chronicles Queen’s journey from their early pub days as Smile up until their iconic Live Aid performance. Despite press coverage leading up to the film’s release, it does not shy away from any aspect of Freddie’s life. While there was a slightly heavy focus on his relationship with Mary Austin, she was an important person in his life, and Freddie’s sexuality and illness are explored in full, and handled with respect, with a great performance from Rami Malek.

Rami absolutely shines as Freddie throughout, being almost the spitting image of him whether he is at his highest performing on stage, or at his lowest during his struggles with substance abuse and AIDS. The rest of the main cast were pretty spot on too, with Ben Hardy and Gwilym Lee perfect choices for Roger Taylor and Brian May respectively.

There were a few issues with pacing in the film, with the beginnings of Queen being very relatively quickly skimmed over, and I felt there wasn’t a need for a full recreation of their Live Aid set, but other than that I found Bohemian Rhapsody to be mostly enjoyable. Lighthearted and serious when it needed to be, and with great attention to detail when recreating iconic set-pieces. However the changing of the story was unnecessary.

65%