Category Archives: video game

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

*note: very minor spoilers, but otherwise I did my best to avoid them.

Let me start this review by making one point clear: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is not a bad movie. In fact, there were times I quite enjoyed myself.  The first live-action Pokémon movie could have easily gone the way of so many other video game films and been so much worse.

But then again, it could have been a lot better too.

Sticking with the positive though, I have to say all of the Pokémon in the film are beautifully rendered. Each Pokémon looks real and believable, I’m not even upset there’s only 60 different species represented in the film (for context there are currently around 800 Pokémon). My particular favorites in the film are Charizard and especially Bulbasaur. I also surprisingly enjoyed Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Detective Pikachu. I wasn’t sure about that in the beginning but it works.

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The film’s story is also a minor positive. Once you have all the core components, the film’s premise is essentially sound. We have a setting, a protagonist, a villain, and the villain’s motivations for doing what they do. We also have some convenient twists along the way along with a boy meets girl sort-of-romance angle that felt slightly forced. The problem is, the execution of this plot left something to be desired. Certain plot points are presented in such a convoluted manner that I was left asking questions in my head until almost the end of the film. I understand the writers were trying to create a sense of mystery, but as a result so much time was spent on a winding path of plot points that the story lost something. And while I liked most of the characters, I feel like more time could have been spent with the villain and the villain’s motivations. More character development would have made certain key scenes that much more impactful.

The film’s biggest weakness, for me at least, is the sheer amount of awkwardness. Early on, it felt like the actors were each interpreting the script differently. Some were playing it more or less straight, some were acting over the top, and this is one of the first times I can remember being distinctly aware of a lack of onscreen chemistry between certain characters. I think some of the scenes were meant to be awkwardly funny on purpose, but that kind of humor has never gone over well with me and the film would have been better without it.

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*minor spoiler for this next paragraph*

However, above all else, the thing that bugs me the most comes mid-way through the film when two characters go exploring in a certain rather dangerous area. The way these characters enter this area demonstrates such a lack of common sense and thinking that I was dumbfounded as the scene played out. I know these characters aren’t experts in investigation, but come on, EVERYONE knows you’re supposed to at least try to be sneaky about these things.

To conclude, I did enjoy Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, even though it didn’t blow me away. There’s certainly ample potential for a sequel and I’m not against seeing one made. Let me know what you thought about Pokémon: Detective Pikachu in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Soundtrack Review: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Film/TV Reviews

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Soundtrack Review: Days Gone (2019)

Just for fun, I decided to switch things up today and review the soundtrack for a video game instead of a movie. Days Gone, a survival horror video game, is currently available, as is its soundtrack, which was composed by Nathan Whitehead (The Purge, He’s Out There, Delirium). The game follows former outlaw Deacon St. John as he roams post-apocalyptic Oregon, fighting enemies and making his way in a world overrun by zombie-like creatures.

Regarding the soundtrack for Days Gone, Nathan Whitehead had this to say:

“The ideas that define the score are the tenacity of the human spirit and the value of relationships. Early in the process John Garvin, creative director at Sony’s Bend Studio, described to me how the game isn’t simply about surviving, it also examines why we want to survive. When I heard that, I was instantly excited about all the places the music could go. I found it really interesting to be navigating the survival aspect and also this introspective aspect at the same time. The Pacific Northwest setting is absolutely beautiful and it really felt like the score needed to connect to this environment as well. Deacon and the environment seemed to call for an organic, lived-in sound with a touch of Americana.”

Boy, does Nathan Whitehead ever succeed with this goal for the soundtrack. Considering this is a survival horror video game, the music is surprisingly normal and, well, not-horror. There are exceptions of course, particularly the track titled “The Rager Bear” which is clearly straight out of a horror film, with its harsh beats and tension-raising rhythms. But other tracks I liked, including “Days Gone” and “A Good Soldier” are very lyrical in nature, with flowing strings and almost relaxed melodies. This could be a way of offsetting any tension created by the gameplay. When you think about it, an ideal way to relax players after they’ve been fighting zombie-like monsters for who knows how long is to create relaxing music for any cutscenes or segments taking place inside settlements. Otherwise it would be hard for players to unwind.

Another detail I love is the range of this soundtrack. Video game soundtracks are now practically equal to their film counterparts in terms of musical quality. Whitehead’s melodies range from almost upbeat to straight horror. The music is dynamic, and if you didn’t know better, you might find it hard to believe this came from a video game.

Overall, I like the soundtrack for Days Gone. It’s not a game I would play personally, but I highly recommend checking the soundtrack out if you get the opportunity. Let men now what you think about Days Gone (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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