The first time that I saw the trailer for Detective Pikachu I thought it was a joke. I mean Ryan Reynolds voicing a Pikachu wearing a deerstalker? It was the stuff you normally find on that weird part of the internet. But it was real. And despite being utterly convinced that it would suck, I was kind of excited to see it. When I did, I wasn’t sure what to think. I reviewed it here but couldn’t quite get my point across. I liked it but I knew it wasn’t good. But it wasn’t even bad in a funny way. It was kind of confusing. So, when I found this novelisation, I wanted to find out if the added benefit of detail and description would add something to the story. I was hoping it would help us get closer to the characters and maybe make things a little clearer. Of course, I was also aware that this was a book recommended for children so I wasn’t expecting much.
I’m not really sure what I expected when I started reading Detective Pikachu. I guess I wanted to see if it had added anything to the plot of the film. That was a weird film. The narrative didn’t quite know where it was going and had to rely on massive amounts of exposition to help move it along. Tim, a young man who works in insurance, is called to the big city after the death of his father, Harry. Harry was a detective and Tim manages to get caught up in his father’s last investigation. But, thankfully, he has help from his father’s partner. A Pikachu who, for some unknown reason, is able to speak to Tim and only Tim. Pikachu believes that Harry is alive and the pair set off to find out the truth. Along the way, the uncover many mysteries that lead them to someone they never suspected.
What can I say about this novel? This has the feel of someone providing film commentary for a blind viewer. It literally describes the action on screen in the most basic terms. It’s the most basic and simple language you can think of. At times it felt a bit awkward and stilted. And I know it’s for younger readers but there’s no flourish here. No melody to the language. The novelisation is just full of short sentences and dialogue. It’s all “he said” and “she said” and not much else. Really, this book makes the film look like a bloody masterpiece.
Maybe it would help if you hadn’t seen the film? There’s something about reading lines that you’ve already heard Ryan Reynolds speak that makes it all very disappointing. But more than that, this is a very visual story. It’s not the same reading it on the page. Especially when the description is so sparse. Or maybe I’m just too old for this novel? I guess it would be a decent read for a younger reader. There’s excitement and danger a plenty but there is also heart. The story isn’t great but it’s based on a pretty rubbish film script. In the hands of the right reader this would be a perfectly enjoyable book. For a 30-something woman? I probably should have expected this.
Who is Murdocal? A casual critic who is a little bit too obsessed with pop culture. A young woman who swears and rants much more than she knows she should whilst trying to make her way in an adult world she isn't prepared for. A not as recent as she'd like literature graduate who, between job applications and subsequent rejections, has turned to the internet to fight the boredom and review the shit out of everything.
"Maybe, just maybe, I'm the faller. Every family has someone who falls, who doesn't make the grade, who stumbles, who life trips up. Maybe I'm our faller."