Detective Pikachu is the world’s first live-action movie based on the Pokémon franchise.  It will be a blend of live-action humans with CGI Pokémon.  Rob Letterman, the director of Detective Pikachu, recently commented how the popular pocket-monsters will be depicted in the film.

Detective Pikachu the Game

Detective Pikachu is based on a video game of the same name.  A boy is searching for his missing father when he comes across a talking Pikachu.  Highly intelligent, this Pikachu is a self-declared detective that will help the boy on his quest.

Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds will voice Detective Pikachu in the live-action movie. Rob Letterman is directing the film, which is a co-production between Legendary Pictures (Pacific Rim), Warner Bros (Harry Potter), and Toho (Godzilla).

The Look

Commenting on the Pokémon in Detetcive Pikachu, Letterman said, “They’re incredibly real, you should think of it as the way Rocket Raccoon [Guardians of the Galaxy] sits in the movie as if he’s really there.”  He continued, “It’s that technology. The same group of people that worked on that, or worked on Jungle Book. We’ve got the people on it that worked on Fantastic Beasts. They’re technically, some of the most high-end visual effects in the world. It’s completely photorealistic, like they are alive and in the movie.”

The Possibilities

Artists created amazing CGI creatures for the films Letterman referenced.  But live-action adaptations have disappointed fans before.  One of the most recent examples is Sony Pictures Animation’s Smurf franchise. The “too real” look caused by the “uncanny valley” effect disturbed many viewers.  It is similar to the eerie feeling some people get when looking at porcelain dolls.  So, fans harshly criticized the photo realistic Smurfs.

The first trailer for Detective Pikachu will either reassure fans or confirm their fears.  Neither the DC Cinematic Universe or Harry Potter’s Fantastic Beasts are resonating with fans the way Warner Bros was hoping.  Thus, a live-action Pokémon franchise could help them compete with the Disney / Marvel / Star Wars juggernaut.

Detective Pikachu hits theaters May 10, 2019.