These are fractious, divided times. The country is no longer a country, but a collection of angry, disparate groups of people with no common ground or cause. Each day we wake up in a screaming climate rife with fresh horrors and disputes to keep us occupied as the powers-that-be conspire to keep us in mental chains.
It’s bad and it sucks, is what I’m saying. But, if I can suggest something uncontroversial meant to yoke us together: Pokémon should not have real fur.
Check this shit out.
What is that? It’s the fur, but also the skin and the eyes. The eyes are terrifying.
This is all from Detective Pikachu, a fever dream of a movie starring Ryan Reynolds as a talking, crime-solving Pikachu, spun off from the larger Pokémon universe. The first trailer dropped today, and it is bananas. The movie takes place in a world where Pokémon are real, and where this wise-cracking Pikachu must solve some kind of wrongdoing with his human partner.
Pokémon is one of the great millennial cultural phenomenons — like emo and TRL, it was bound to make a comeback. The movie seems like it’ll be good to watch on drugs, though a friend noted it’s borderline offensive that they went the whole Deadpool route with Pikachu, instead of letting him remain a pure, sweet electric boy.
I’d focus my critique in another direction: The Pokémon look weird. It’s difficult to render any cartoon into the corporeal realm, but easier when you’re translating things with IRL antecedents like humans or robots. Pokémon, however, are fictional animals with deeply unreal physiognomies and colors. We know what a human looks like, and thus have a way of automatically converting a fictional human like Speed Racer or Peter Parker into a real human portrayed by a real actor.
But we have no way of knowing what a perfectly spherical pink Jugglypuff would look like, nor a chubby Psyduck with the beady eyes, nor the titular star. There’s something in our brains that doesn’t accept the more realistic depiction. Is this natural to you? Is this normal? No, it’s not. The animators have gone the Christopher Robin approach, which is one thing when portraying a childhood favorite from a specifically nostalgic approach. This just feels like a transgression against the world God created.
It’s not like the more conspicuously cartoonish Roger Rabbit approach would’ve been any better, and I don’t have any real suggestions, but the fur is weird and the Pokémon don’t look cute. Maybe they’re laying the groundwork for a sequel where he has to solve a Satanic murder. True Detective season 4, hey-o!