Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019) Review

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019) Review

Directed by: Rob Letterman

Written by: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit

Starring: Justice Smith, Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newton

Rated: PG

Run-Time: 1h44m

Genre: Action, Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes:  65%

Availability: HBO Max

In a world where people collect Pokemon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective. (IMDb)

This review was originally published on my personal website crystinaluna.com.

Now, I am a pokemon baby. I grew up during the height of pokemon popularity, and therefore I have an unwavering appreciation and affection for the fictional creatures. And because I am definitely not the only one, I can’t realistically review this as a “children’s movie.” Because most of the children in the theatre were probably dragged there by there parents, who are my age. This is an adult movie, made for those who were around when Ash first started training to be a pokemon trainer. You can not argue with me, because we all know I’m right. 

Subjectively, I utterly enjoyed this movie. With every live-action pokemon came the overwhelming jealousy of living in a pokemon-less world where my dog is the closest thing I’ll ever get to a real Eevee. The still-alive child in me was excited at the sight of classics, such as the titular Pikachu, Charizard, Bulbasaur, and the all-powerful Mewtwo. Little nods to the OG fans, like the Jigglypuff in the diner made me smile ear-to-ear; and the all-too-familiar“pika-pika” melted my fragile heart. If you are like me, born of the Pokemon generation, stop reading this review and just go see the damn movie. You won’t regret it. 

Like, most people, I was taken aback my Pikachu talking with the overly-familiar vernacular of Deadpool, but once I was actually in the theatre I understood the pure genius behind it. After all, this isn’t a kid’s movie, it’s an adult movie (I will fight you if you still disagree). And for those who are likely going to force their children into the theatre with them, no worries. Pikachu just sounds like Deadpool with none of the colourful language. Additionally, the film does a good job of world-building without boring us poke-gen kids out of our minds. 

The more objective film-reviewer in me still can’t really criticize this film, because in general films marketed toward children are hard to criticise heavily. Most of the negative aspects of the film can be brought down to the fact that it’s meant for “children” and therefore the same level of writing is not needed when it comes to plot and characters. Because, to be entirely honest, I can’t remember the name of the protagonist without looking it up. And this maybe because I was too preoccupied looking at all the pokemon, but still. The plot is nothing to write home about, a pretty cliche storyline with a twist that can be seen from a mile away, and none of the actors are going to win an Oscar for this film. The main redeemable quality is the CGI, which is well done throughout the film. Though the designers took some creative liberties to make the pokemon come to life in this live-action world, they are still recognizable as exactly what they are. Textures, such as fur and skin, are rendered beautifully, and the film’s lighting allows the CGI to really shine. It’s a respectable adaption of a beloved franchise, that makes up for what it lacks in writing with its sheer entertainment value.

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Due Date (2010) Review

Due Date (2010) Review

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan 

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 35m

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%

High-strung father-to-be Peter Highman is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay on a road trip in order to make it to his child’s birth on time. (IMDb)

Why did I watch this movie? What compelled me to sit through this?

Can you tell what I think about this movie yet? Yeah, I didn’t like it.

I think what got me to watch was the movie was the star power of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, but no amount of star power can help this horribly derivative wannabe comedy. I can’t think of any part of this film that I actually enjoyed, actually, I was thoroughly annoyed the majority of the time. 

The premise has been done to death and honestly doesn’t need to be done for a long time. What made is so annoying is how insufferable Zach Galifianakis’s character is throughout the film. While he tends to play the lovable oaf type there was nothing loveable about this oaf. If I was RDJ’s character I would have left him on the side of the road as soon as I had the chance with no remorse whatsoever. As a result, I couldn’t take RDJ’s protagonist seriously after he put with literal hell and came out friends with Galifianakis’s character. It seemed like this was an attempt to make him out as a good guy and Galifianakis’s character as endearing, and neither of those characters qualifies for those descriptors. Galifianakis was unbearably un-funny and RDJ’s character was just a plain idiot for putting up with him. 

 The scenes in the film that were added with the intent of being funny were far from it. Some of which were downright disgusting and entirely humourless. The scenes that had a chance at being funny went on too long, effectively ruining the scene. So many times I found myself so annoyed that I wanted to just stop watching the film altogether. If there was something more original about the film, maybe I wouldn’t be as bad, but there was nothing new this film brought to the table.

Don’t watch this film. Just don’t waste your time. I wish I didn’t.

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The Half of It (2020) Review

The Half of It (2020) Review

Directed by: Alice Wu

Written by: Alice Wu

Starring: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire

Rated: PG-13

Run-Time: 1h 45m

Genre: LGBTQ, Comedy, Drama

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

Availability: Netflix

She’s a gifted introvert. He’s a sweet jock. Both are smitten with the same girl. Friendships– and first loves– can be complicated. (Netflix)

In my opinion there hasn’t been a teen movie that falls among the ranks of the classics for quite a while, but The Half of It might just fit the bill. Not only does the film include relatable romance, but it has an emphasis on friendship and platonic love, something we honestly need more of in both film and books. 

The film is a heartwarming examination of friendship and young love, as well as the struggles of immigrants, their children, and LGBT youth (especially in the midwest). It vividly illustrates the growth of romantic and platonic love on a number of levels, something we don’t often see in teen films. The film avoids the cliche of the relationships in the film becoming diluted by an overdone love-triangle. Rather we watch the blooming romance between two people, and the growth of a close friendship. Romance takes the back seat to the emphasis on friendship, which is exceptionally refreshing. And with the addition of including the struggles of the film’s protagonist as an immigrant only adds a realistic depth to the film. For viewers who immigrated to the States at a young age, as well as viewers whose parents are immigrants, the main character is exceptionally relatable.

This is one of those films everyone needs to watch and it’s one of those films you can watch more than once. Be warned though, you’ll probably be crying by the time the credits roll.

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I’m Not an Easy Man (Je ne suis pas un homme facile) (2018) Review

I’m Not an Easy Man (Je ne suis pas un homme facile) (2018) Review

I Am Not an Easy Man is a humor film with an obvious feminist agenda that manages to be more hilarious than preachy. Though at times the way the aspects of the story are presented is ridiculous it manages to paint an interesting alternate universe where society is matriarchal. As a women, this sounds like a blessed idea, but the film does a good job of showing the importance for equality, that even in a truly matriarchal world has its own flaws. The characters are well written and the presentation of this world is done well, with both obvious and subtle differences. It does a very good job of raising topics of discussion, regarding topics of toxic masculinity to the effect of a gender dominated society. 

The only true downsides I could find in the film is some of the cultural differences in the matriarchal society that were hard to believe and therefore brought me out of my suspension of belief. The film features a number of scenes with shirtless women, a parallel to how our society has no problem with partial nudity of men but think differently when it comes to women. This simple fact doesn’t bother me, but when a short scene included a shirtless women going on a job my immediate thoughts were “God that must hurt!” Because, even in a society where it is totally okay for a women to be out shirtless its hard for me to believe someone would be content running while shirtless. For those who don’t have breasts, let me tell you, it is not comfortable to run without some sort of support. Scenes with similar minor grievances are littered throughout the film and while they do not detract from the basic storyline i am going to consider them a negative of this film because they still managed to pull me out of this world. Even in a good film, little things like this can affect the experience greatly.

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Edge of Seventeen (2016) Review

Edge of Seventeen (2016) Review
via Movieclip Trailer (YouTube)

Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig

Written by Kelly Fremon Craig

Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 44m

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Available at: Netflix

When Nadine’s best (and only) friend starts dating her detested older brother, the teenage cynic’s life becomes even more unbearable. (Netflix)

I try my best to be as objective as possible when reviewing books and films, but sometimes my subjective opinions make it hard for me to do so. This is one of those time where I found myself struggling. Technically this is a very good film, and I definitely see why it has performed so well, but personally, I’m not the biggest fan.

My grievances come from the fact that I can’t relate to the main character, Nadine (Steinfeld). I find her to be an annoying and self-centred teen with often times toxic behaviour. For most of the movie, she was her own worst enemy— which I realize is an aspect of the plot but still. Her mother definitely doesn’t help, and honestly, I think she’s just the worst. When it comes to the supporting characters, I don’t have much to complain about though. The highlight characters of the film (for me) being Mr. Burner (Harrelson) and Erwin Kim (Hayden Szeto).

When it comes to plot this is your classic coming of age story and shows not only the main character but those closest to her, growing in some way. This was definitely a good part of the film. I admit, in the end, I found Nadine had really learned a lesson and therefore liked her much more. The only shortcoming would be the way the mother changes, which seems more abrupt than anything.

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