Pokémon: Detective Pikachu director Rob Letterman has stated that his movie's critters will be photorealistic, similar in style to how Rocket Raccoon is presented in Guardians of the Galaxy. On its way to becoming the highest grossing media franchise on the planet, Pokémon has encompassed a variety of different mediums including video games, television, trading cards and animated movies. However, the franchise is soon to move into the realm of live-action cinema with Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.
Based on the Nintendo 3DS video game of the same name, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu will feature none other than Ryan Reynolds as the voice of the yellow electric-type, with Kathryn Newton (Supernatural, Blockers), Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) and Ken Watanabe (Inception, Godzilla) starring as the live-action cast. The announcement that Pokémon's first live-action venture would be based on a relatively lesser-known title in the franchise certainly raised some eyebrows among fans, with many also wondering how a movie could successfully recreate the inherently cartoonish creatures in a real world setting.
Director Rob Letterman has now revealed what he aims to achieve with Pokémon: Detective Pikachu's visuals, comparing the look of the creatures to Rocket Racoon. Speaking with IGN, Letterman claimed:
"They're [the Pokémon] incredibly real, you should think of it as the way Rocket Raccoon sits in the movie [GOTG] as if he's really there. 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 photo-realistic, like they are alive and in the movie."
It's difficult to disagree with Letterman's claim that Rocket Raccoon integrates seamlessly with the world and characters of Guardians of the Galaxy to the point where he feels like a real person, rather than a computer generated one. And while the slick animation is certainly a huge part of that achievement, Bradley Cooper's voice performance also must take some of the credit. As such, Reynolds has a sizeable task ahead of him to make Detective Pikachu feel as realistic as he will reportedly look.
Furthermore, it's reassuring that Pokémon: Detective Pikachu seemingly has the best people in the industry attempting to create the first live-action cinematic interpretations of the world's favorite pocket-sized creatures, as there's little doubt that this will be a main criteria on which the movie shall be judged. A huge amount of fan-art has appeared online over the years speculating as to how certain Pokémon would look in real life and as the first movie to explore that concept, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu has an awful lot of anticipation to deliver on.
There is, however, an argument to be made that photorealistic Pokémon may not have been the wisest choice for Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. After all, the Detective concept is incredibly cartoonish and light-hearted in itself and may have lent itself better to more a bright and playful visual style that played into the ridiculousness of Pokémon designs instead of trying to make them look lifelike.
- Detective Pikachu (2019) release date: May 10, 2019