The first trailer for Pokémon: Detective Pikachu already amazed a lot of fans with its surprisingly endearing take on Pikachu as more than just a lovable companion to a Pokémon trainer. In fact, the initial antagonism between Pikachu and Tim (Justice Smith) is half of what makes the premise so charming. In this second trailer, Ryan Reynolds’ amazingly fitting voiceover and the investigation into Harry Goodman’s supposed death is still the centerpiece of what makes anticipation for this movie so sky-high, but we also wanted to take a closer look at some of the other visually exciting aspects of this latest promo that go by in a flash, including some enjoyable cameos from Pokémon of several different generations and evolutions.
The first part of the trailer sums up the opening story nicely: Pikachu has lost his memory, and the only clue to his past is an address inside a hat that points him to Harry Goodman’s apartment, now inhabited by his son, Tim, who seems reluctant to acknowledge that the Pokémon is anything more than a hallucination. The only extra detail we get from this opener is that this particular Pikachu is addicted to caffeine, which sounds like a recipe for disaster for any trainer wishing to avoid electrocution from accidental lightning-type discharge caused by hyperactivity.
But Pikachu’s love of coffee is what gives us perhaps the most perfect cameo of the trailer: Ludicolo as a bartender. Who wouldn’t want a pina colada served up by a pineapple-duck with a sombrero-like head making it seem like everyday is Cinco de Mayo? Stereotypes aside (political correctness has no place in a Pokémon discussion), this zaniest of Gen III evolutions is doing what all trainers likely always pictured him doing for a living, although some might have pegged him as the drinker of beverages rather than the server of them.
Okay, so it’s a coffee bar staffed by Jigglypuffs, fine. Keepin’ it kid-friendly…
Some creature appearances are more for their general cuteness or humor appeal, such as Snorlax sleeping in a crosswalk or Lickitung unrolling his tongue on a train. But we also noticed some appropriate career choices similar to that of Ludicolo. For example, there’s a pair of policemen being accompanied by Growlithes — quite an intimidating K-9 unit! And is there anyone more qualified to direct traffic than a 4-armed Machamp? We think not!
We also get several glimpses of Kathryn Newton who plays Lucy, the female lead in Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, but her role is still kept rather vague in this trailer. She sure does seem to be sneaking around a lot though, a task that would seem to be made more difficult by the Psyduck strapped to her back in one scene.
How the investigation into Harry’s disappearance will lead to Pikachu entering battle in a cage match is anyone’s guess, but the antagonists in Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, represented above by Omar Chaparro’s character Sebastian, have made an interesting choice in featuring Charizard as a grizzled, surly dragon rather than the majestic beast trainers often picture. There are certainly more evil-looking third evolutions, and although the Pokemon detective in this movie has not yet become a Raichu and thus is no match for Charizard, pitting a fire/flying type creature against an electric type isn’t particularly effective anyway. The Blastoise versus a host of Gengars we spotted also seemed a puzzling matchup.
Are we nitpicking like a bunch of Pokémon nerds? Yes, we are, but we’ll give credit where credit is due. At least the deejay in the battle arena has a gaggle of Loudreds helping him drop some sick beats. Well played, music man.
One of the later generation Pokémon to take the stage in the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu trailer were the Gen VI Greninjas, who do not look particularly friendly here. But this music-video style portion of the promo also featured the graceful appearance of the classic Eevee, a Cubone escaping from a Pokéball out in the wild, and a shockingly aggressive-looking Aipom.
But what are we to make of the debut of Mewtwo at the 2-minute mark? As Pikachu himself says just as the music cuts out, “That’s a twist! That’s very twisty!” You’d think Mewtwo would be a principle villain in any Pokémon movie, but that’s not necessarily the case here. With the detective story taking center stage in a live action movie, you can bet there are evil humans manipulating things, even for this legendary Pokémon.
So the trailer ends by telling us that Pokémon: Detective Pikachu arrives in theaters on May 10, 2019, but not before giving us one last scene poking fun at the antics of Mr. Mime, perhaps an obvious joke but a welcome one nonetheless. Did the trailer spoil all the fun of seeing the different Pokémon rendered in realistic CGI? Maybe, but we have the feeling that there are plenty more cameos we didn’t see here, and our enjoyment of what we got was certainly the enticement to see the full film Warner Bros is hoping for.
Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). He co-hosts our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast and voices much of our video content.