It is often the case that when a remake of a much beloved character is made, there is both fear and consternation as to the fate of the character. Will the film honour the work of previous writers and do justice to the character; or, will they decide that a new updated version requires a complete rewrite, changing both the tone and essence of the character?
When I heard there was to be new version of Pikachu, and a live action version to boot, I was highly skeptical. Often when animation is rendered into a live version, something tends to get lost in translation. This is because different mediums have varying needs and restrictions from other formats. What you can get away with in a comic or manga just doesn’t work on-screen.
Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when the trailer came out. It’s loosely based on the Nintendo game, Detective Pikachu (hence the title), but don’t be fooled. This isn’t a film for little kids. Judging by the trailer, this film is a bit of a nostalgia piece for those 90s kids who first played Pokémon as trading cards or on a Game Boy. As those kids have grown up, so has Pikachu. Pikachu has gone from being a one-dimensional fighter into a full character with hopes, fears and, most importantly, a voice (courtesy of Ryan Reynolds of Deadpool fame). When Pikachu meets Tim, the only person who can hear him, they set out on journey that leads them to uncover a plot that will change their world.
Sounds good, huh? But if you’re anything like me, you either need a little more backstory or you simply can’t get out opening weekend to see it. So for those that are waiting until after May 10th, take a gander at the original Pokémon to help you along. We have the graphic novels, Beginner Readers, and chapter books (often found in both English & French), the TV shows and the video games to kick start the love of Pikachu. For those who want to take the next step, there is manga for teens and adults, as well as graphic novels and art books that teach you how to draw manga.
So, dust off your Pokédecks, (or whip out your Pokémon Go app), and see what you still need to get, because you still gotta catch ‘em all.