The first Detective Pikachu trailer gives fans their long-awaited look at live-action Pokémon, but it also makes effective use of a classic pop song. Recently becoming the highest-grossing media franchise of all-time, the Pokémon brand has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence the past couple of years. Of course, the mobile game Pokémon Go became a sensation back in 2016, and shortly after that, the Detective Pikachu movie started to fall into place. Director Rob Letterman of Goosebumps fame signed on to helm it in November 2016.
Since then, people have wondered what exactly this film would look like, and now the answer is finally here. Ahead of the theatrical release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Warner Bros. debuted a Detective Pikachu trailer, starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular character. The preview is fittingly wild and in some ways bizarre, so the song that plays over the footage may not be the first thing people register. Still, it's an inspired choice that helps hammer home the movie's narrative and themes.
Besides a classical score that plays during the beginning, the trailer primarily features the song "Happy Together" by The Turtles. It was released in 1967 and has been used in several movies and TV shows over the decades since. Recent examples on the film side of things include Suicide Squad, Minions, and 45 Years.
The lyrics of "Happy Together" clearly paint the picture of unrequited love, with the singer thinking about the girl he loves and holding her tight. Of course, Detective Pikachu is using it in a slightly different context. The trailer establishes Justice Smith's Tim Goodman gave up on his dreams of training Pokémon, and now finds himself caught up in an adventure with one. In Pikachu's case, he is haunted by an overbearing sense of loneliness, as Tim is the only human who can understand him. If the film follows the traditional buddy cop formula, Tim and Pikachu will learn to be happy together over the course of their journey, forming a lifelong bond of friendship. "Happy Together" is also a cheery-sounding tune that emphasizes the film's tone. No doubt, Detective Pikachu is going to be a light-hearted, family-friendly spin on a film noir story.
Detective Pikachu has the unfortunate distinction of being the first high-profile studio tentpole to open in the immediate shadow of Marvel's Avengers 4 (which comes out one week prior) next summer. In that sense, it'll be interesting to see how it holds up at the box office. Reynolds played this game before and Deadpool 2 did well alongside Infinity War, but Deadpool 2 was an R-rated action comedy that appealed to a (slightly) different demographic. Detective Pikachu is aiming for the same four-quadrant target audience as Earth's Mightiest, so it'll have its work cut out for it. Right now, however, it looks like it'll be able to put up a strong fight.
- Detective Pikachu (2019) release date: May 10, 2019