Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu (4K)

When ace detective Harry Goodman goes missing, his son Tim seeks out information to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces to unravel the mystery. Chasing clues together through the streets of Ryme City – a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world – they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon and uncover a plot that could destroy their co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Plot: In a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.

Director: Rob Letterman

Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1

Runtime: 104 min

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Pokémon Detective Pikachu may not take its wonderfully bizarre premise as far as it could have, but this offbeat adaptation should catch most — if not all — of the franchise’s fans.

Online Ratings:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes 67%
  2. IMDB 6.8
  3. Metacritic 53

“Weird if you’re not a fan of Pokemon, but awesome if you are.”


This movie was shot on 35mm with Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, E. T-Serie cameras with ATZ and AWZ2 Lenses. Supposedly (though I cannot confirm) it was also given a 4K DI? Beyond that, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in HDR10.

Why was this movie shot on 35mm? My only guess was they were trying to give it a natural, old school, detective type of feel, and if that’s what they were going for, they nailed it. The problem is, the movie is shot on film and then (on top of that) they added a layer of grain to hide the digital effects. With that, I can confirm that you will get a light to a moderate amount of grain during the entire duration of the film. While that’s nothing nothing to worry about in most cases, this movie is also rather soft — that mix doesn’t blend too well, especially with the capabilities available on the UHD format.

Usually I go into some of the highlights, use of HDR and 4K sharpness, but there really isn’t anything to highlight on this disc. Some shots of Ryme City look good with sprinkled use HDR, for example, wondering the street at night. You will see some solid black levels with HDR in play adding to the glow of various neon lights, but it’s missing that POP! and sharpness. It’s just not there.

The roundhouse scene in Chapter 6 (Pokemon Battle) is a great example of that layer of grain added to hide the digital effects added to the film. The entire scene is heavy on the CGI and while it all looks like it’s happening right in front of you, once again, it’s missing that POP! and sharpness you would usually see. It’s just not here.

This continues into the Greninja Chase scene in Chapter 8, and again when the giant Torterra Garden rose from the ground. There’s a lot of quick camera work around the characters be chased with so much action happening on screen that the softness of this disc made most of the environment blurry. By the time you get this part of the film you can really see the full culmination of this disc. It just doesn’t hit like a UHD disc does.

There was a positive not in Chapter 9 when they are healing Pikachu. There were a few seconds of shots full of color and clarity coming off the various Bulbasaur walking through the water, and on top of that, there were some heightened glow effects coming off the neon lights of the Morelull. It’s a small frame, but it caught my eye.

In conclusion, if I had to sum it up, it’s a great movie, but not a great UHD disc.

I grew up on Pokemon, so I was exited to see this world on the big screen with today’s technology — c’mon, Pokemon on the big screen? Yes and thank you. I enjoyed the movie at the theater and while it’s still a great movie to pick up and add to your collection, I think you can just stick to the Blu-ray copy and you’ll be just fine. The UHD has a few added benefits, but I don’t think it’s worth the extra cash. It’s the first time in a while I’ve ever talked about a pass, but I’m afraid in this case, it is. If you’re a 4K enthusiast and keen on getting the 4K edition then I would recommend to hold off until it’s on sale.

Will you be picking up the UHD? Sticking to the Blu-ray? Don’t care at all? Let me know in the comments below. You can pick up your own copy of Pokemon Detective Pikachu this Tuesday, August 6th.



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