Pokemon is about to take a big step towards realism, because the franchise's next major movie is going to render its iconic creatures with photorealistic CGI. That's a pretty big deal since Pokemon has really only been cartoonishly animated for its long existence, and a number of fans have imagined what a more realistic take on these strange little animals might look like. The Detective Pikachu director revealed how Detective Pikachu will bring Pokemon to life with CGI recently, and it will definitely shake up the Pokemon universe.
The upcoming movie's director Rob Letterman detailed what the "photorealistic" take on Pokemon will look like in Detective Pikachu at the 2018 Pokemon World Championships over the weekend. According to Letterman, the movie will make use of "some of the most high-end visual effects in the world" to render the Pokemon so that they feel completely alive and part of the human world. Letterman compared the photorealistic animation style to that seen in Guardians of the Galaxy and The Jungle Book, both of which used a mixture of live action and CGI to create realistic humanoid animals:
They’re incredibly real, you should think of it as the way [Guardians of the Galaxy character] Rocket Raccoon sits in the movie as if he’s really there. It’s that technology. The same group of people that worked on that, or worked on Jungle Book. We’ve got the people on it that worked on Fantastic Beasts. They’re technically, some of the most high-end visual effects in the world. It’s completely photorealistic, like they are alive and in the movie.
So it sounds like Ryan Reynolds, who is starring in the movie as Detective Pikachu, may be doing a bit of motion capture work alongside his voice acting to make the lead Pokemon even more realistic. The movie also released its first poster over the weekend:
Rob Letterman also spoke about his decision to not include Pokemon's ever-present human lead Ash Ketchum in Detective Pikachu, marking the first time in the franchise's movie history that Ash will not appear. He said that since Detective Pikachu was already breaking grounds with so many huge firsts, that it would be a good idea to bring in a new human character to center the story around as well. Taking Ash's spot will be a young man named Tim Goodman, played by Justice Smith (The Get Down). Goodman is Detective Pikachu's partner, and the two set off looking for Goodman's missing father.
Detective Pikachu will also star Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies) as a reporter named Lucy Stevens who has a Psyduck as her partner, and Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) as Detective Yoshida. The cast is rounded out by Suki Waterhouse, Chris Geere, Rita Ora, Bill Nighy, and Omar Chaparro in undisclosed roles.
Detective Pikachu is based on the mystery-solving video game of the same name, which was released in 2016 in Japan but only earlier in 2018 in America. It centers on a particularly intelligent Pikachu who can speak, and uses his smarts to solve mysteries. Detective Pikachu is scheduled to land in theaters next summer.