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‘Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’ Movie Trailer – A Shot By Shot Analysis

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One of the biggest surprises in video game and movie news this week has got to be the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu trailer for a live-action adaptation of the Nintendo 3DS game from Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures, which sees a highly intelligent Pikachu team up with a boy named Tim. Tim is the only one who can understand Detective Pikachu when he talks, and together they set about solving a mystery. Though the film has been in development since 2016, there hasn’t been much anticipation for it. However, since the trailer was dropped on November 12th the hype has increased significantly and for good reason. The trailer showcases the world of Pokémon brought to life on the big screen, and for many of us as fans, a live-action adaptation is something that once seemed impossible.

The trailer is full to the brim with Easter eggs and Pokémon, both in plain sight and slightly more hidden. Here’s everything we caught from the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu trailer.

Ryme City

The first shot of the trailer is an establishing shot of Ryme City, where Pokémon roam free rather than being made to stay in their Pokéballs. As well as hearing a small musical interlude (which is recognizable as the main theme from the original Pokémon games), we get a major look at several Pokémon roaming freely about the city. From those wandering on the ground, we see Charmander, Dodrio, and a perching Braviary; further in the background, you can spot a Venasaur, and what looks like a Bouffalant. In the sky there are several flying Pokémon going about their business — one that bears a distinct resemblance to Pidgeotto, or possibly Fearow, is seen along with a Comfey and Flabébé. There are also multiple signs in the city, with references such as a Berry Universe sign (berries being a popular food product for Pokémon). Some Pokémon included on the signs are Wooper, Sylveon, Victini, Pettilil, and Swirlix. On the left, there also seems to be a building with Pokéballs adorning it, perhaps depicting a healing centre, which are common sites in the games used to help to bring Pokémon back to full health.

Lucy and Psyduck

Next up we get a shot of a character called Lucy, a journalist with a pet Psyduck. There are also some parade balloons in the background of Gengar and Jigglypuff. Ryme City is known for its annual Pokémon Carnival, so it’s a safe bet to assume that the balloons will be a set piece for the carnival. You can also spot some parade workers dressed in outfits similar to Gengar and Squirtle. One of the more hidden Pokémon Easter eggs in this scene is a small Spoink bobblehead shown in Lucy’s car.

Tim’s Room

Tim’s bedroom is shown in the trailer, and there are tons of Pokémon references seen here in various posters for Pokémon Battles — not surprising, as it is noted that he was once an aspiring Pokémon trainer. A large Rayquaza adorns Tim’s bedroom wall, and the name Rayquaza is also plastered on a poster on the back of his door. Underneath, we see several more posters. A Charizard is shown on a Championship poster for a battle at the Cerulean Arena, and a similar one is shown on another wall with Blastoise. The Cerulean City setting is particularly noticeable to fans of the first generation of Pokémon. Based in Kanto, the setting for the first generation of games, Cerulean city is where Misty’s water gym resided. There is also a poster for a battle between first-gen Pokémon Hypno and Dragonite. A Johto Sports Club poster — Johto being the region from the second generation of games — advertises Articuno versus Steelix. Charizard pops up again in another poster for what looks to be a three or four-way fight between Charizard, Blaziken, and two more Pokémon who are harder to spot.

Tim also has a large pair of Pikachu ears acting as the headboard for his bed, making Pokémon fans everywhere slightly envious.

Detective Pikachu, I Presume

Finally, we get our first proper look at the hero of the story, Detective Pikachu himself. Looking cute, cuddly, and so very fluffy, Pikachu is about as close to realism as you can hope for when it comes to yellow, electric, mouse-like creatures with red cheeks and lightning bolt tails. This Pikachu is super smart and voiced by Ryan Reynolds, who gives off some serious Deadpool vibes as he threatens to electrocute Tim. Their connection becomes clear as it’s shown that Tim is the only one who can understand him. Other humans can only hear his classic voice when he attempts to communicate with them, and the original voice of Pikachu, Ikue ?tani, returns to her iconic role to provide it. I, for one, am looking forward to the surreal switching between the original Pikachu voice we know and love with the sassy and somewhat gruff tones of Ryan Reynolds.

The Market

The trailer continues to a marketplace scene, where we see that Tim really is the only person who can understand Pikachu, as we see passers-by only hearing his sickly sweet Pika Pikas. It’s also a scene that showcases more Pokémon ambling around, as we see another Dodrio and a trio of Emolgas hanging out to the left. There’s also what looks to be a small group of Joltiks on one of the market stalls to the right.

Charmander Lights it Up

In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot, you can see that a Charmander is using its tail to light up the stove for a market vendor. It’s a glimpse at how the Pokémon in this world are very much involved in the lives of the humans, working together with them as companions.

More Marketplace

One last shot of the market shows another Venasaur to the left and a pink bipedal Pokémon to the right which looks like an Audino. It’s fun to see the Pokémon just going about their business on a busy street, interacting with and co-existing with humans.

Missing Pokémon

Some missing posters showcase a missing Pancham and Squirtle. It’s reminiscent of a missing pet poster, and you can see the name of Squirtle’s owner, Chelsea, suggesting that the bonds between the Pokémon and humans are going to play a significant part in the film.

Where the Bulbasaur Roam

A herd of Bulbasaurs and some Morelull are shown leading Tim and what looks like an injured Pikachu in the next scene. The Bulbasaurs’ appearance completes the roundup of the classic Pokémon that the player could choose from in the very first Pokémon games — the others being Squirtle and Charmander (and Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow). It’s a nice nostalgia blast to see all of the originals come to life.

Jigglypuff Is Not Impressed

Our next big reveal is the one and only Jigglypuff, standing on a table as a man snoozes next to her. She’s holding her microphone, which could double as a marker pen (like in the anime Pokémon series), and she’s looking less than pleased. This could be another reference to the anime, as Jigglypuff would often get annoyed when people would fall asleep when she was singing, and would retaliate by drawing on their faces with her marker. Classic Jigglypuff. Directly behind her, there is also another Pokémon battle poster, this one advertising Machamp versus Primeape.

Charizard Rages

We finally get to see Charizard in action in the next scene, as he appears in what looks like an underground arena. His roar creates a burst of flame, and he seems to be standing in a similar pose to the one seen on his original Pokémon card.

The Greninjas

A trio of Greninja — who later are seen chasing Pikachu — seem to be the bad guys in the trailer, but it looks like they could be playing the role of henchmen to the real villain.

Underground Arena

We then see Tim and Pikachu at the arena, and get a very quick glimpse of a Pancham along with a Squirtle. Could they be the ones from the missing posters? There’s also a Rufflet to the left of the shot, and they all appear to be observing a battle of some kind (most likely a Pokémon one).

Aipom

Another Pokémon that can easily be missed in the trailer appears in this scene, and it seems to be an Aipom behind Tim. You can briefly see him running around the corner to the right, but he is obscured by the exploding rubble.

Road Trip

A close up of Psyduck and Pikachu shows the great detail that has gone into bringing these characters to life. You can see the vibrant colours and the detail of Psyduck’s feathers and Pikachu’s fur as they seem to be embarking on a road trip with Tim and Lucy. It’s a nice touch to see them so lovingly crafted.

Ground Breaking

The ground rises up Inception-style in the next scene, which may suggest a very powerful ground or rock-type Pokémon at work. The large scale of the shifting earth could be multiple Pokémon at once, or perhaps one of an unusually large size.

Mr Mime 

The Pokémon that the internet has been freaking out about is the eerie Mr. Mime. His fleshy, humanoid style is unnerving, to say the least, but in my opinion, he’s always been a disturbing Pokémon. I’m not a fan of the humanoid Pokémon type in general, but Mr. Mime has always seemed a little bit more out there. In the anime, a Mr. Mime ends up moving into Ash’s house and living with his mum. It’s all just a little bit weird, so I don’t see a difference here. He has always been plain peculiar, and I think this creepy version depicts that pretty well. Here we can see him using his signature psychic barrier move to block Pikachu while telling him — through the art of mime — to shove it.

Psychic Psyduck

It looks like Psyduck is expelling a large psychic blast in this scene that rings out for miles around. Tim, Lucy, Pikachu, and Psyduck appear to be in the same wooded area as when we see the ground rising, so could Psyduck’s energy have something to do with this? It’s also very cute to see Lucy carrying Psyduck around in a baby carrier on her back.

A Pikachu Sized Snack

The last big shot of the trailer shows a poor Pikachu looking like he is about to be gobbled up by Charizard. I’m hoping that won’t be the case, as children and adults alike may be somewhat disturbed if Pokémon are shown munching on each other. What I like about this shot is the detail we see on Charizard. You can see his orange scales, his sharp fangs, and the drool dripping from his mouth. He genuinely looks intimidating, the way a Charizard should be. Even his blue eyes give him a more menacing appearance. It’s another great take on a classic Pokémon.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

I am personally quite excited about this movie, despite some of the negativity that has been reported on it. Some believe that the Pokémon do not look right or that they look odd, but in comparison to their original designs, the ones they have shown so far have been reasonably accurate. Pokémon are weird creatures in general; they’re Pocket Monsters — the clue is in their name. These are abnormal beings, and while yes, some are adorable (Pikachu, I’ve loved him for so long) and some are horrifying (Mr. Mime = nightmare fuel), they are all individual and quirky beings. As someone who grew up on the Pokémon franchise, that’s one of the things I loved about it. The weirdness, the cuteness, the freakiness, and most importantly, the way I still found them loveable and wanted to catch ‘em all (yes, even you Mr. Mime. Stay away from my mum though). From what we see here, it looks like this movie could harness what has always been great about Pokémon to create a truly unique and funny story, and maybe even start a live-action film franchise. Here’s hoping it keeps the heart-warming nature of Pokémon as we know it.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is set for release on May 10th, 2019.

Antonia Haynes resides in a small seaside town in England where she has lived her whole life. She's a simple girl with a passion for zombies, writing, film, television, drawing, superheroes, Disney and, of course, video games. Her ideal day would consist of junk food, fluffy pyjamas and video games because quite frankly going outside is overrated. Follow her on Twitter on @RainbowMachete

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jules

    November 16, 2018 at 7:42 am

    To the girl who is right in thinking going out is overrated when there are more exciting things to do in a fluffy pair if Jim jams …..

    I just loved this. You brought it out alive!
    Have you considered a career in a colour supplement as an Ace reviewer?

    • Antonia Haynes

      November 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked my ramblings! I will always defer to fluffy pjs at all times 🙂

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Girl Power? The ‘Black Christmas’ Remake is About as Subtle as a Sledgehammer to the Face

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Black Christmas 2019 Review

1974’s Black Christmas is not one that is regularly referenced on Best Horror Movie lists, as it’s a standard foray into the sub-genre of slasher movies. Having already been remade in 2006 to a terrible response, it’s the kind of film ready to be re-visited — a not-so-classic in need of a boost. Directed by Sophia Takal, it’s unfortunate that 2019’s version does nothing to make the premise something worth watching, and instead falls very short of its mark.

During the Christmas break at Hawthorne College, sorority sisters Riley (Imogen Poots), Kris (Aleyse Shannon), Marty (Lily Donoghue), and Jesse (Brittany O’Grady) prepare to host an “orphan dinner” for those left at the college over the holidays, only to be harassed and eventually attacked by a group of masked, hooded men.

Black Christmas 2019

In order to make the premise more relevant for today’s crowd, writers Takal and April Wolfe update the nuts-and-bolts slasher with a feminist twist, including on-trend topics of toxic masculinity, rape culture, and female empowerment. Whilst its heart is in the right place, its execution is sloppy and comes across as condescending. Conversations about missing DivaCups and dildos are just as commonplace as those on white supremacy and the patriarchy, making it an often embarrassing watch and feeling like a cynical cash-grab.

The characters we’re supposed to be rooting for are likeable enough, but so paper-thin; a small breeze could knock them over. With one-trait personalities (PTSD-ridden, activist, loved-up, and comic relief), the film fails to create a truly well-developed female character, or one of any gender; men fall into one of two categories: chauvinist or sensitive love-interest, both to the extreme.

Black Christmas 2019 REview

Horror is a difficult genre to make work, but the fundamentals are to scare. Unfortunately, Black Christmas also lacks in the basic necessity of frightening its audience. Most supposed chilling moments come in the safe-bet form of a jump-scare, a lazy device that considers making a film-goer bolt in their seat as a result of a loud noise a win in their efforts to unsettle — and that’s if they work. Quiet for long stretches of time before the inevitable jump, the scares here will only work if this is the first horror film you’ve ever seen.

There is something to be commended in the fact that director and co-writers have attempted to differentiate from the original by adding a supernatural element to the proceedings, but by the third act, this ploy is so absurd as to be laughable (protagonists receiving text messages from a supposed ghost should never be a thing), and does nothing to enhance the story.

Black Christmas 2019 Review

It’s a shame for lead Poots, who has shown in the likes of Green Room that she is a talented actor, and worth more than the sum of this movie’s parts. Doing her best with what she’s given, Poots is a light in an otherwise dim proceeding, along with Shannon as sorority sister Kris, and the two have decent chemistry when on screen together. None of the rest of the cast stands out — most likely due to their lack of character — but the performances for a horror film of this ilk are par for the course, passable.

With good intentions, Black Christmas is a frustrating watch, with its overt dialogue and occasionally patronizing tone. It’s disappointing that a film with feminism at its core, directed by and co-written by women, misses its target by such a large distance.

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‘Richard Jewell’ is Both For and Against Character Assassination

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Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser in Richard Jewell (Warner Bros.)

With Richard Jewell, director Clint Eastwood does two things at once: tell a compelling story of something that was all over the news about 25 years ago, and seek to make an incendiary political point meant to play to very specific modern-day resentments. Let’s just say the former objective is much more defensible than the latter. 

The film tells the story of a security guard (Paul Walter Hauser) in the Atlanta area who was working in Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympics when a bomb went off in the park. Jewell was first treated as a hero who rescued people during the bombing, but was later considered a suspect in the bombing by the FBI and named as such in the media. But Jewell, it turned out, was innocent, with domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph confessing to the crime years later. 

As depicted in Eastwood’s film, Richard Jewell bears more than a passing resemblance to Shawn Eckhardt, the character Hauser played two years ago in I, Tonya — a real-life creature of a sensational mid-’90s true crime case who hadn’t done much with his life, but has aspirations of something greater. In Jewell’s case, it’s thwarted dreams of becoming a cop, which haven’t kept him from worshiping and idealizing law enforcement. He’s also depicted as a man so simple-minded that he keeps doing things that made him look super-guilty, even though he isn’t.

Richard Jewell reporters

Richard Jewell takes us into how exactly the man came to be accused. The FBI, in the person of agent Jon Hamm, applied its vaunted profiling tactics — the ones you’ve seen lionized on such shows as Criminal Minds and Mindhunter — to the case, and came up with the wrong guy. 

Filmmaking-wise, what we have here is similar to most other late-period Eastwood films, and the pacing and storytelling aren’t the problem. The sequence right before the bombing, in particular, is especially harrowing and suspenseful.

While in the works for many years (Jonah Hill was at one point set to star as Jewell, and remains a producer), Richard Jewell itself was produced and completed uncommonly quickly, with production beginning in June, just six months before its release. Nevertheless, it creates a reasonable approximation of 1996 — The Macarena included! — and while seemingly the majority of studio movies these days are shot in Georgia, this one at least is actually set there.

The problem, however, is another decision the film makes. We see Hamm’s FBI agent leaking the existence of the investigation to media, specifically reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), after what’s essentially a seduction on her part. This is the film’s biggest misstep, which is in fact an act of pure character assassination against Scruggs, a real-life journalist (deceased) who is accused of horrible ethical breaches that she almost certainly never committed, including offering to sleep with sources in exchange for information. Beyond that, the character is played by Wilde as something resembling a cartoon witch. There are a lot of unique characters who exist in newsrooms, but this character isn’t one of them.

And despite what you may have read, the Richard Jewell makes the FBI look even worse than the media. It also shows Jewell, who spent his whole life wanting to be a cop, defending and making excuses for these unscrupulous agents who are falsely accusing him. The script also doesn’t really get the dynamic that takes place between media and the police/FBI quite right; in 95 percent of high-profile crime stories, the only major source is law enforcement, and media outlets just go with whatever the cops tell them. 

What the Atlanta Journal-Constitution did was report — accurately, at the time — that the FBI was looking at Jewell as a suspect. Yes, they should have done more due diligence, but they also didn’t make things up. Had Scruggs behaved the way she did in the film in real life, that would be worthy of condemnation. But she didn’t. 

Furthermore, yes, what happened to Richard Jewell was pretty terrible. But on the other hand, he was never arrested, he never did a day in jail or prison, and was cleared after about three months. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but…other wrongfully accused people have gone away for years and decades. Multiple movies this year, including Brian Banks and Just Mercy, have told the stories of such cases. 

Hauser is very good, and getting to be expert at this sort of role, although the performance ends with him delivering a long, articulate speech in which Jewell turns into essentially a different person.  Sam Rockwell, on something of a roll with Jojo Rabbit and Fosse/Verdon, is just fine as his lawyer. There’s also a performance by Kathy Bates, as Jewell’s mother, that’s been getting inexplicable praise — it’s more a regional affectation than a great performance. 

While Eastwood — the Obama invisible chair speech notwithstanding — is far from a down-the-line right-winger, the timing of this particular release is somewhat cynical. It’s clearly pitched right now in a way to exploit discontent with media misconduct and “fake news,” while also directly in line with that weird cultural tic in which cops are seen as beyond reproach, while the FBI is evil. 

Richard Jewell isn’t bad as a character study, but its agenda is a whole other story. 

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‘Apollo 11’ Leads the Best Documentaries of 2019

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Best Documentaries of 2019

2019 was a generally strong year for documentaries, with many of the best ones sharing one or more of several elements: a focus on music, a resonance with the current moment, and the word “Apollo” in the title.

The Year’s Best Documentaries

Best Documentaries 2019

1. Apollo 11. Directed by Todd Douglas Miller, this documentary made masterful use of archival footage — much of it on 70mm film long not available to the public — to tell the story of the Apollo 11 mission on its 50th anniversary. It’s one of those films that’s nerve-wracking, even as everyone watching knows exactly how it all happened. The film opened in theaters, then showed on CNN, and then returned to theaters this month. 

Best Documentaries 2019

2. The Kingmaker. The Queen of Versailles director Lauren Greenfield takes another look at the ridiculously wealthy, this time catching up with Imelda Marcos, the 90-year-old former first lady of The Philippines. For its first half hour, the film hints that it’s going to be a soft-focused look at a newsmaker of the past, before it takes a sudden turn into showing its subject as a monster who looted her own people of billions and was almost certainly complicit in horrific war crimes. The film played in theaters this fall and will debut on Showtime in early 2020. 

Best Documentaries 2019

3. Love, Antosha. The life of the beloved late actor Anton Yelchin, which ended in a freak accident in 2017, is celebrated with home movie footage, clips of his movies, and interviews with a star-studded array of his co-stars. It’s a sweet remembrance of a talent gone far too soon — while also telling the story, through both letters and interviews, of his relationship with the loving Russian immigrant parents he left behind. Now streaming from on-demand providers. 

Best Documentaries 2019

4. City of Joel. Director Jesse Sweet’s film is an astonishing work of anthropological filmmaking, as he looks at the tension and land disputes between a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews who arrived in an upstate New York town, and their secular neighbors. The film, which played the Jewish film festival circuit and is now available on demand, is uncommonly evenhanded, letting both sides of the dispute have their say. 

Best Documentaries 2019

5. David Crosby: Remember My Name. There were many very strong music documentaries this year, but this film, directed by A.J. Eaton and produced and narrated by Cameron Crowe, was the best of them all. Crosby, knowing he’s in poor health and unlikely to live many more years, is uncommonly candid about his regrets, especially his many feuds with his famous musical collaborators. Now available on demand, it’s also the best film Crowe has been associated with in almost two decades.

Best Documentaries 2019

6. Cold Case Hammarskjöld. Mads Brügger’s documentary starts off by looking at the mysterious 1961 plane crash death of U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld, and then goes off in all sorts of crazy directions, including a supposed plot by South Africa’s apartheid government in the 1980s to infect people with AIDS. Not everything asserted here is true (most likely), but it’s all wildly intriguing. Now available on demand. 

Best Documentaries 2019

7. The Apollo. The year’s “other” Apollo documentary takes a look back at the history of Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater, a mecca of African-American culture for nearly a century. The film looks at how the theater has waxed and waned in importance over the years, while using a staged reading of Ta’Nehesi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” as a framing device. This one played at festivals and then debuted on HBO; it’s currently available on HBO’s streaming platform. 

Best Documentaries 2019

8. Horror Noire. Director Xavier Burgin’s documentary takes a look at the history of black horror films, using 2017’s Get Out as an inflection point to look back on decades of African-American representation — as well as ugly tropes — in the horror genre. The film had some big-screen showings before streaming on Shudder. 

Best Documentaries 2019
Tell Me Who I Am CR: Netflix

9. Tell Me Who I Am. Director Ed Perkins’ documentary about a pair of twins, and the family secrets one must tell the other, is very creepy and unsettling, but still essential. It debuted on Netflix, where it’s a perfect fit, and is still streaming there now. 

Best documentaries 2019

10. Diego Maradona. This look at the 1980s soccer star, directed by Amy filmmaker Asif Kapadia, makes masterful use of archival footage to depict the rise of this one-of-a-kind athlete. The doc, which played on HBO this fall and is still streaming there now, is a must for the many Americans who have gotten into soccer for the first time in the last decade, and are unfamiliar with the stars and stories of the past. 

****

Honorable mention: Black Mother, The Human Factor, Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, Carmine Street Guitars, Mike Wallace is Here, Varda by Agnes, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, Screwball, American Factory, Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce,

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