Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 4K Blu-ray Review

Pika Pika?

by Simon Crust
SRP: £24.99

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu Review

It really is quite an enjoyable little romp.

There was a time when my house was full of Pokémon trading cards. My two boys would happily tell me all their names and special abilities and what they evolve into, but ‘couldn’t remember’ the 7 times table. I was never a big fan of the TV show, but I did see the first movie, not a prerequisite for tonight’s feature, but it did help. Nintendo’s live action film output has had a patchy past, but that can all be forgotten about because Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, whilst not perfect and relying on typical movie beats and story direction, is really quite an enjoyable little romp.

On hearing of the death of his police detective father, insurance salesman, Tim Goodman, travels to Ryme City, the utopia for human-Pokémon relations, where he finds a Pikachu that he can understand, and even stranger, that can understand him, and together with Lucy, a media intern, the intrepid group seek to get to the bottom of Tim's father's demise. The mystery deepens with each clue and takes a very dark turn.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, whilst not perfect and relying on typical movie beats and story direction, is really quite an enjoyable little romp

For what is ostensibly a kid's film there are plenty of layers to the story and a number of narrative threads, and whilst the red herrings and numerous twists won’t come as any major surprises, the whole thing does have an even flow, with a good story structure and hitting all the right beats. The film does look amazing, with plenty of attention to detail to cover the ‘noir’ aspect, but to also highlight the futuristic nature of the cities; colour plays an important part. The characters are likeable, their plight relatable and, yes, the ending is in no doubt, at least it adds some decent peril along the way.

Diehard Pokémon fans may have wished for a bit more depth or exploration of the world, but to a casual viewer or those wanting to dip in and out, the film brings together a realistic environment and opens the doors for future exploration.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 4K Blu-ray Picture

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was shot using Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 cameras on 35mm film and finished as a 2K DI which has been used for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release. The disc presents an up-scaled 3840 x 2160p resolution image in the correct widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio, and uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut(WCG), High Dynamic Range, and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. We reviewed the Region free UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu on a Panasonic 65DX902BUltra HD 4K TV with a Panasonic DMP-UB400Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

Despite the up-scale, the image easily tops the Blu-ray; detail is excellent throughout, skin texture, both human and Pokémon, is well defined, as are clothing weaves. The many landscape shots, whether they are of Ryme City, or its neighbouring forests and mountain ranges are perfectly rendered.

Despite the up-scale the image easily tops the Blu-ray

This is ably supported by the WCG and HDR, which really give the colours some verve. The neon lights of the city or the vegetation of the forest are given equal regard. The scene of Tim carrying Pikachu through the forest valley is a moment of pure visual splendour (equally matched by the accompanying soundtrack, I might add) with the brightly lit Pokémons leading the way through a misty, wet landscape. Staples like computer terminals, holograms stand out as always, and the climactic parade has some lovely purple.

Black levels are, save one early scene in Tim’s Dad’s apartment where a dark grey was more apparent, extremely robust with a decent sense of depth to the frame. There is some good shadow detail, check out Lucy’s entrance, for one. The white scale really pushes the image too, with highlights and top end colouring being beautifully bright. Pikachu’s electric charges, or Mewtwo’s psychic blasts along with any fire are crisp and bright.

Digitally, though there are no compression issues, I might have spotted some slight banding, but nothing to even mention really, while the original source is clean and retains a light sheen of grain showing its filmic roots

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 4K Blu-ray Sound

The Dolby Atmos surround track is a real winner with the expansive environment really opened up with the benefit of the overhead channels. Effects are myriad, whether that is Pokémon chattering in the streets of Ryme City, or in the forests that surround it, the ambience is picked up by all the speakers to give a real sense of the environment. The chase through the forest is cataclysmic in its positioning, with debris flying in every direction, a real thrill ride. 

The Dolby Atmos surround track is a real winner

Yet quieter moments, such as Mewtwo’s POV from the lab, fare just as well with the muffled dialogue and lab kit forming a sensory bubble. Dialogue is clear, well positioned, given a little directionality and sounds very natural, whilst never being lost in the mix. The score makes full use of the speakers and the 3D surround environment. Bass is terrific, with plenty of LF effects giving significant impact to the effects – it even has its own ‘Skadoosh’ moment; and it’s a beaut! Much like the track as a whole.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 4K Blu-ray Extras

The UHD has no extras features, but the set comes with a unique trading card. All extras are housed on the included Blu-ray.

Detective Mode– A PiP features of old; a pop up track with plenty of information about cast and characters, trivia, featurettes and interviews.
My Pokémon Adventure– 2 minutes with Justice Smith gushing about Pokémon.
Creating the World of Detective Pikachu– A making of feature split into 5 parts, with each concentrating on a specific aspect; titles are: Uncovering the Magic, Colourful Characters, Bringing Pokémon to Life, Welcome to Ryme City, and Action.
Alternate Opening– 2 minutes of Tim doing insurance.
Mr. Mime's Audio Commentary– Commentary for the interrogation scene.
Ryan Reynolds: Outside the Actor's Studio– Ryan Reynolds being Ryan Reynolds.
Music Video– Carry On by Rita Ora and Kygo.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 4K Blu-ray Verdict

8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 4K Blu-ray Review

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is Nintendo’s first real success as a live action adaptation of one of their products, in this case, the loose story behind the Detective Pikachu game. It has a decent cast who show good chemistry in their respective roles, tells a family friendly story in a familiar (some might say obvious) fashion and in doing so manages to appeal to a very wide audience; diehard fans might have wanted a wee bit more depth, but as an opening to a potential franchise; it hits all the right buttons.

 Diehard fans might have wanted a wee bit more depth, but as an opening to a potential franchise; it hits all the right buttons

The 4K UHD disc from Warner is pretty good; the up-scaled image is bright, detailed with strong colouring and defining black, while the Dolby Atmos track is pure delight in the 3D surround environment. The extras package, held on the included Blu-ray, is comprehensive and harks back to a bygone age!

Scores

Movie

.
.
.
7

Picture Quality

.
9

Sound Quality

.
9

Extras

.
.
8

Overall

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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