Detective Pikachu has released to great success, and that's partially because of how much respect the filmmakers have for the Pokémon characters in general. There are a lot of Pokémon put into this movie and altered to fit in live-action. For the most part, they look fantastic, though there are some that didn't make the transition quite as gracefully. That's not to say any of them look awful, just they don't look as good as the others.
There was a lot of work put into the Pokémon of Detective Pikachu, and we're looking at five who look great in live-action and five who don't.
10 GREAT - PIKACHU
If there was one character that Detective Pikachu had to get right, it was the mascot of the Pokémon franchise. Thankfully, Pikachu not only looks great in live-action, but it still feels like it belongs in the world. The shape and proportions of the character have been kept intact with just a few differences made in its texturing. Despite being depicted in live-action, Pikachu is just as cute and cool as it is in the games and anime, which is an impressive feat. Even though Pikachu was voiced by a grown man, that never stopped it from being the cute character fans know and love.
9 NOT GREAT - SQUIRTLE
All three Kanto starters got a scene or two in Detective Pikachu. While Charmander and Bulbasaur both made the transition beautifully, Squirtle got the short end of the stick. The general design of Squirtle was kept intact, but there's something about its face that doesn't look quite right. The details on its arms and face make it look a bit chubbier, but it doesn't mesh well with the shell texturing or the large eyes. Blastoise fared much better than its pre-evolved form, and got a bit more time in the spotlight, so Squirtle's design is far from an issue.
8 GREAT - PSYDUCK
Psyduck was a popular Pokémon due to Misty having one in the Pokémon anime. Its goofy yet lovable personality made it a great candidate for Detective Pikachu, where it appeared as one of the main Pokémon. Psyduck made the live-action transition just as well as Pikachu did.
Having yellow feathers and webbed feet like a real duck, Psyduck hit all the right notes between cartoon and realistic elements. The movie also altered Psyduck's slightly from the anime to make it feel more natural, where the voice from the anime might've felt out of place. It also keeps that dozed-off look in its eyes.
7 NOT GREAT - AIPOM
Aipom was the kind of Pokémon that was always going to be difficult to portray in live-action. While it had a lot of design elements inspired by monkeys, Aipom have no nose and much simpler features than a real monkey. While the Aipom in Detective Pikachu are extremely accurate to the source material, it's hard to say that they're the best-looking Pokémon in the film. Their large mouths and eyes and no nose make them a bit weird. Even their tails have details that are close to a human hand, which sells the live-action design, but makes them look a bit odd in the process.
6 GREAT - MEWTWO
Mewtwo is one of the most iconic Pokémon in the franchise. Considering that and his importance in the Detective Pikachu game, it only made sense that he was a major plot point in the movie. This was another Pokémon that the filmmakers had to get right, and we think they hit the nail on the head. Mewtwo has this otherworldly, experimental look about him that the other Pokémon don't have. This is further helped by how the film portrays Mewtwo's psychic powers as powerful and unmatched. Fans of Pokemon Red and Blue will be thankful to see Mewtwo represented so well in the film.
5 NOT GREAT - MR. MIME
Mr. Mime has always been a weird Pokémon. Whether you're looking at him in the anime or the games, there is just something about him that isn't right. Appropriately, he looks a bit odd in the Detective Pikachu movie as well, though that's not because of the live-action transformation, but more so because of the source material. At the very least, it's impressive to see that the filmmakers committed to Mr. Mime's strange design. As creepy as he looks, he did have one of the best scenes in the film. This is all in spite of the fact that not even the Pokémon Company knew what he was supposed to be.
4 GREAT - CHARIZARD
Charizard was often the starter that most people picked in Pokémon Red and Blue, and it has been in the Super Smash Bros series for a while. Naturally, it was a prime candidate to appear in Detective Pikachu, appearing as a battling Pokemon in Ryme City. The filmmakers went all in on the dragon inspiration, turning Charizard into a fearsome, fire-breathing lizard. Scales covered his body and his wings even had leathery detail that you'd expect from a dragon. This is exactly the powerful dragon that fans imagined Charizard to be as kids. Luckily for Pikachu, even Charizard has weaknesses.
3 NOT GREAT - LUDICOLO
Ludicolo is another one of those weird Pokémon. Introduced in Gen III, it had a sombrero made out of a lily pad and was known for dancing around whenever it wanted. Ludicolo was an odd choice for Detective Pikachu, but a small appearance nonetheless. It was working in a cafe alongside its owner, serving Pikachu coffee. What doesn't quite work in Ludicolo's design is that its body is largely composed of hair. Because Ludicolo is based on a duck, it would've made much more sense to give it feathers. It looked a bit more like some grungy version of Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings.
2 GREAT - TORTERRA
The only Sinnoh starter to appear in Detective Pikachu was Torterra. Torterra is a grass turtle that carries a small garden on its back. As it was used for some experimentation in the film, Torterra had a few moments to shine. It was also one of the Pokémon to transition to live-action extremely well.
Torterra has the skin spots and wrinkles that one would see in a regular tortoise. That was gracefully combined with the tree and grass on its back, making for something that looks like it popped right out of a storybook. It also retains its unique mouth shape and small eyes from the games, making it an excellent blend.
1 NOT GREAT - JIGGLYPUFF
It's great that Jigglypuff appeared in Detective Pikachu, if only for a brief moment. This singing balloon Pokémon has been around since the beginning, so it certainly deserved a spot in the film. However, there is one key element to its design that doesn't quite land: its fur. Jigglypuff is depicted with fur all around its body, which doesn't represent its original design well in our opinion. With Jigglypuff being based on a balloon, it would've made more sense to give its body some sort of leathery texture. The result isn't awful, as Jigglypuff still looks fine, but the fur seems like a step in the wrong direction.