When Pokémon originally debuted in the United States, it was a massive hit. The best-selling games, popular anime series, and merchandise based on the original 151 Pokémon were everywhere. In 1998, an animated film based on the impossible-to-avoid franchise came to theaters with Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back. The movie was critically panned, but it was a commercial hit, taking in an estimated $85 million in the United States alone. Since then, the Pokémon brand has only grown with myriad animated film follow-ups, video game sequels, and the anime that’s still going strong today. People eat, sleep, and breathe Pokémon, which makes the Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie both an obvious foregone conclusion, and a strangely overdue adaptation.
In April of 2018, before any trailers or leaked art assets from the Pokémon Detective Pikachu set made their way to the internet, we flew to London to visit the film on a normal day of shooting. The movie had been announced and the cast had been revealed, including Ryan Reynolds’ role as the titular Detective Pikachu, but nothing else was known about the film. Walking toward the set I passed signs on assorted vehicles and doors with the word ‘Gumshoe’ written in the familiar Pokémon font. Gumshoe was the production codename for the film, but the font betrayed any secrecy the name was trying to instill. The day I visited the set, they were on day 61 of Detective Pikachu’s planned 75-day shoot. Read more…
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