POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU – Review by Susan Granger

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For the uninitiated, Pokemon is a video game created by Satoshi Tajiri, who wanted to give Japanese children a sense of adventure in nature. Pocket Monsters/Pokemon are fictional animals that have special skills, such as psychic powers, electric shocks or sleep-inducing songs.

First, there were trading cards, then a cartoon. Soon Pokemon became a global phenomenon, as players were able to simulate the experience of catching the powered-up Pocket Monsters in the real world.

Taking many of its plot points from the 2016 Nintendo game, this story is set in Ryme City, a wondrous, experimental world in which humans and CGI Pokemon live in relative harmony.

Insurance appraiser Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is the son of Harry, a Ryme City private investigator, who is believed to have died in a fiery car crash but his body was never found.

Arriving in the neon-drenched metropolis, Tim finds his dad’s former partner, a cuddly, coffee-guzzling, yellow Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), who suffers from amnesia and whose snarky, smart-alecky voice only Tim can hear.

With the help of cable-news intern Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton), billionaire Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy), who founded the Ryme City utopia, and his spoiled son Roger (Chris Geere), they’re determined to find out what really happened to Harry.

Is the culprit Mewtwo, a beastie created by gene-splicing and DNA engineering to be the ultimate fighting machine? Or does the mystery go deeper?

Plus, there are 807 Pokemon, including adorable Psyduck, an excitable quacker who induces headaches; Jigglyouff, the diva chanteuse; Cubone, wearing the Goth-like skull of his dead mother; and Charizard, who spurts fiery dragon breath.

Based on a story by Nicole Perlman, it’s scripted by Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Derek Connolly and director Rob Letterman (“Gulliver’s Travels”), who concoct a conclusion that’s reminiscent of Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Detective Pikachu is a spirited 6, a frantic fantasy-adventure aimed at millennials who are well acquainted with the cast of characters.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.