The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Will The Detective Pikachu Movie Succeed?


If you’ve yet to sit through this fever dream of a trailer, I’d suggest doing so before continuing on. Detective Pikachu is based off a game I regret to say I skipped over when it came out in 2016. I’ll most likely play the game in the future, and I’ll certainly be watching the movie. Even if you hate the trailer, don’t you want to see it out of pure curiosity?
It’s an incredible risk, after two decades of the Pikachu we know being voiced by Japanese voice actress Ikue Ōtani, to give the role to Ryan Reynolds and have him speak English.

This isn’t a simple matter of changing casting, this is going from a a character who could only say its name in the past to being fully voiced in a language foreign to the character’s origin.
The decision works on multiple levels. First, this is not Ash’s Pikachu. Detective Pikachu is an entirely different character, and the Pokémon anime has already shown us that certain Pokémon do have the ability to speak more than just their name. Meowth speaks with a stereotypical New York accent, and Mewtwo, Lucario, and other select characters can speak telepathically.
Second, this is a PG-13 movie with humor and dark scenarios geared  towards teenagers rather than the child-friendly Pokémon anime was ever meant for. The protagonist’s dad went missing after a fiery car accident, and they don’t shy away from showing the crash. Kids may be traumatized to see Charizard, a common fan favorite, looking as much the wild, ugly, terrifying flying lizard monster he was always meant to be.

Even their design of jiggly puff looks like nightmare fuel.

They use the phrase “you can shove it,” in the trailer, showing that they’re aware of their PG-13 rating for language above and beyond what Cartoon Network would allow. I can’t wait to see what, if anything, the movie does with it’s one allotted use of the word “fuck” that all PG-13’s are allowed to get away with.
Fans already want it to go even further than it has. This parody trailer replaces all of Pikachu’s dialogue with Danny DeVito quotes, and it’s absolutely perfect. And with half a million views already, it just further proves how many people are completely on board with a more adult Pokémon movie.
Anyway, my point is, having the Ikue Ōtani Pikachu we all know and love thrown into these scenarios would seem jarring and out of place. So long as people can separate this Deadpool-voiced Pikachu from the one we all grew up with, the movie will not only do well with kids, but amazingly well with adults. Adults who’ve always wanted the humor and stakes to be amped up  in their favorite franchise.
This movie will do well, even if it turns out that it’s not all that good. From sheer strangeness alone, the trailer will do its job of getting people in theaters. It’s a risk that I think just about everyone is willing to take.
It looks funny, it really does. And not just in a “it’s so bad it’s good” type of way. It works, in the weirdest most perfect possible way. I hope that the memes never stop, and that it lives up to the hype.
But even if it doesn’t, what I look forward to the most is how Ryan Reynolds will make fun of his role in this movie in Deadpool 3.

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