Pokémon Detective Pikachu and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures, Toho, and The Pokémon Company
Directed by Rob Letterman
I know you all are just on PINS AND NEEDLES waiting to find out if this movie is good… unless you’ve already seen it. Seriously, I need to get somewhere that’ll show these things like two days before release date because APPARENTLY EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD GETS TO DO THAT! Sigh… anyway, so Pokémon is no doubt one of the cornerstones of nineties nostalgia which means that we are officially getting too old, but it’s also one of those franchises that has remained popular in all that time, unlike say Transformers which always had a fan-base but one that certainly waned past the eighties. Because of that this has a chance to appeal to not just the adults in the audience who grew up on Red and Blue, but also the kids who enjoyed whatever the heck those Pokémon Mystery Dungeon things were, and not only that but probably the first video game movie to really capture the spirit of the material outside the rather awesome Resident Evil movies. And the DOOM movie; don’t at me! Is this the greatest movie of all time that will span the generational divide and bring us all together in such turbulent times, or perhaps are we a bit TOO overexcited about seeing the cuddly creatures on the big screen? Let’s find out!!
Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is basically the opposite of your average man child in the Pokémon universe. Instead of going out and exploring the world at the age of ten, he went to school and got a real job at an insurance company. I mean say what you will about getting a nine to five, at least you don’t have to survive off fight money and live in a tent! Yes, Tim is happy with his boring life which is free of Pokémon for… reasons, but then his idyllic life in a small town comes crashing down when he gets a letter in the mail informing him that his father died in a mysterious car crash. Not only that, he was a cop in Ryme City which is unique for letting Pokémon just walk around instead of being confined to balls, and I THINK it was founded by Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) who owns Clifford Enterprises which is a… company that does business stuff I guess. Anyway, Tim gets to town, goes to his father’s apartment who rather strangely has a children’s bedroom set up for his twenty-one year old son who hasn’t visited in YEARS, and he tries to figure out the fastest way to deal with all this before he goes back to his normal life. Sadly things are not about to go his way as a rouge Pikachu with amnesia in a Stantler stalker cap (Ryan Reynolds) has broken into his place and is certain that his father is still alive. With much hesitation and after one terrifying Pokémon attack, Tim finally agrees to help Pikachu solve whatever mystery is underway; enlisting the help of investigative journalist slash intern Lucy (Kathryn Newton) and her awesome Psyduck! Will Tim discover the truth behind his father’s disappearance and will he reunite with him once again? Where did this talking Pikachu come from, and what connection does he have to all of this? Is this gonna be the very best that no movie ever was, or should you be… preparing for trouble!?
Now that we’ve got the movies of 2018 out of the way, it’s time to tackle a subject I very much enjoy but have much less experience in. Very rarely will I talk about video games on this site as my focus is almost exclusively on movies and television, but I do play a lot of games throughout the year and as a critic I can’t help but have opinions on them, so what I do is I save up ALL those thoughts and put them right here for you to enjoy! Well, either enjoy or utterly detest me for. I’ll take either one! Let’s get started!!
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (PC)
Developed by Techland
Man, was THIS a fun little surprise! The only thing I know about the Call of Juarez series is that it was as series of ho-hum cowboy shooters that eventually jumped the shark when they went to modern day and made it SUPER racist. This game on the other hand, while admitting that there is a level where you track down a Native American, seems to have been a total course correction or at least something of a soft reboot; a la when they did that 2D Blood Rayne Side Scroller or when Sonic the Hedgehog took a brief respite from being awful in Sonic Mania. From what I saw of the other Juarez games, they were mostly drag and went for an authentic aesthetic where this game is all about charm, wit, and stylistic excess. The character designs are bright and colorful which is not only more appealing but a practical improve since it makes them stand out more prominently against the landscapes, and the overall feel is that of an over the top spaghetti western; encouraging you to make the big moves and go in guns-a-blazing just to see if it’ll work. That’s actually something I think game developers should explore a bit more; how aesthetics and style can change the way that players make decisions in the game which may be a more powerful incentive than more straightforward gameplay design incentives. In something less fantastical and more serious I probably wouldn’t have even bothered dual wielding pistols and unloading them into a group of enemies when my trusty rifle can do the job with fewer bullets and at a safer distance. With the visual design, the UI interface, and ESPECIALLY the story which is a series of flashbacks conveying a story that your player character is narrating as you play through it made me feel more inclined to try and be the BIG HEROTM than play practically. It can be a bit buggy at times as I’m pretty sure I ran into one enemy who was shooting me through a wall, but despite its modest scale it’s still one of the most enjoyable First Person shooters I’ve played in a while!
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is owned by Warner Bros Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners
Directed by Rob Letterman
We knew this was coming and yet it still feels totally unreal, doesn’t it? They’re FINALLY going forward with a live action Pokémon movie and frankly they seemed to have made the smart move by going with one of the Pikachu spin-offs rather than try to encompass the entirety of the Pokémon experience into one movie, but hey! Just give it a few years and we’ll surely get our Pokémon Trilogy followed by a Pokémon Expanded Universe, so for now let’s take a look at the trailer for what will surely be one of the biggest films of next year! The first thing I’m sure everyone noticed is HOW FREAKING DARK THE TONE OF THIS MOVIE IS!! I mean sure, it’s not Bladerunner, Sin City, or even Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but the aesthetic here is unlike anything I’ve ever seen associated with Pokémon; even that Pokémon Coliseum game with that broody looking protagonist. It’s ridiculously incongruous in so many ways; especially where this dude who looks MAYBE sixteen is supposedly a grown ass man on the police force (maybe?) and lives in Daredevil’s apartment complete with overbearing neon lights constantly seeping through the cracks of his blinds, and we have moody cinematography with wistful music over freaking Pokémon posters on his walls! It’s utterly ridiculous and frankly feels about on par with the Super Mario Bros movie as far as strange yet oddly compelling design choices for such a kid friendly franchise. Yeah, I said it! Super Mario Bros THE MOVIE looks pretty cool!
In my effort to try and get back into the swing of things before Live Free or NekoCon, I’ve pulled out this post I started on over a year ago and am presenting it here; mostly so that the absurd amount of money I spent on this crap didn’t go entirely to waste. The reason why this one didn’t go up despite me finishing most of it is that I always set these up to be the last one of my convention recaps but I always write them first. When I get back, it’s just easier for me to get the table ready, get the lights, and go through all this stuff right then and there instead of postponing it and hoping I’ll ever be in a better mood to get it done. Also, I do want to point out that one of the manga I bought has a hate symbol on it that I have “tastefully” edited out, so just be aware of that before we go any further. And with that, everything going forward (excluding a brief wrap up at the end) was more or less written a year ago, so enjoy!
Here we are with the second and final part of my look at games I played in 2016 (part 1 can be found here) that were interesting enough to talk about! Like before, any game that I didn’t play on PC will be note specifically which platform I did play them on because it was way easier for me this year to play on my computer than to do so from a console. I mean, I’m ALREADY sitting in from the damn thing most of the time! Anyway, let’s not waste any more time and just get started! This is gonna be fun, right?
Developed by Game Developer X
Sigh… You know, this game was a lot funnier when we weren’t months away from a tax payer funded Thunderdome or some asshole House Rep putting forth a Purge bill. Still, the fact that Bossa Studios hasn’t jumped on this is kind of surprising as I was reminded of games like Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread while playing it even though it’s clunky and as all hell and riddled with poor design decisions. The game’s primary purpose is political satire, so naturally the timing of the game’s release was just as important as making a good game, but behind all the frustrating elements and damn near impossible stages, there’s a brilliant physics based puzzle game to be made here. I don’t know who Game Developer X is or if they’re even interested in this concept outside of its use as a political lightening rod, but I do want to see what they end up making next; whether it’s a refinement of this formula or if they’ll continue to push buttons with even zanier games. If it’s the latter though, PLEASE let someone else make a sequel to this so we can see its full potential!
Another year has passed which means it’s time for Doctor Scientist and I (along with Doctor Scientist’s girlfriend this time) to head back to Hampton VA and attend NekoCon 2016! And yes, if we do this again next year, than it will be called NekoCon with a Vengeance. With my schedule the way it is (work, website, sleep, repeat until death) I’m not one to get out much for anything other than seeing movie and making poor choices about my diet, so I really have been looking forward to going back to this convention since I got back from it last year. So how was it? Well considering that this is only my second convention ever, let’s just say that it’s still a work in progress for me to get the most out of my experience. I’m not a typically social person in the first place, so being surrounded by THAT many people is nerve racking to a certain degree which kinda limited how much fun I was having at the time; rather I was focusing a lot on having a full schedule so I would have lots to talk about here. I do have a notebook full of notes and a mountain full of things I bought, so there’s no doubt I got something out of it, but the in-between moments where I had an hour or two before the next event, I was struggling to do anything other than walk around the Vendor’s Hall decidedly not buying anything and not really talking to people either. Oh well. Live and learn I guess. I DID get more pictures this year than last, so that’s something at least!