Tag: Movies

ART (and pita bread)

ART (and pita bread)

Today started with an early morning trip to the Boca Raton Museum of Art, because Grandma and I had a craving.

A craving for

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Image courtesy of Sarah Thomas on Pinterest

Editor’s Note:

This joke is extra funny with context that The Iron Giant is one of my grandparents’ favorite movies of all time, and that we often refer to my grandpa as “Grandpa Giant.”


The museum is located in an outdoor shopping center with some very nice architectural set pieces called Mizner Park.

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It honestly reminded me a lot of The Grove back home, right down to nearby art museums.

But if you thought it would be easy to overlook an art museum, think again.

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All hail the cube

Those of you that pay attention to my Instagram feed have seen a lot of the photos I took. I decided to put out my favorites on the social platform since it’s all about photography.

I’ll link the posts here so I don’t have to bog down extra media space.

However, there were a lot more pieces that didn’t make the cut. For instance, this animated version of the giant hand on the first floor:

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And then like… A billion more things.

I’ve gathered them together in this slideshow for your viewing pleasure.

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And of course, we can’t forget the best piece in the museum…

But wait, that’s not all!

During our trip to the outdoor sculpture garden, Grandma and I found a curly-tailed lizard running around in the grass. Only to later find an iguana hiding out by the entryway to their gated community!

The invasion of the lizards has begun.

That’s only half a joke, because I was told iguanas are actually overrunning the ecosystem in this gated community and it’s kind of a big problem.

This is the first time I’ve seen one, though. It was very cute.

After absorbing some fine ART, Grandma and I partook in another Iron Giant tradition: Going for ice cream.

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Kilwins is apparently pretty well known for having a fancy blend of chocolates and ice cream made in-house.

Personally, I’m more of a Handel’s guy. But I had some s’mores flavored ice cream that was very delicious.

Once we got home the afternoon was a little more chill. I managed to get in the pool again for a while before the rain kicked up again.

And oh boy, the rain kicked up again this afternoon.

At one point I was genuinely afraid for my life. Until Sonic the Hedgehog came along.

And by Sonic the Hedgehog, I mean a very nice Greek restaurant:

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A very nice Greek restaurant that happened to have a fresco on the wall based on seaside towns like Santorini, Greece that I strongly connect to Sonic Unleashed for whatever reason.

I’ve never even owned that game. What’s the deal, Sonic?

I’ll be waiting for a response.

That’s about all I have. We settled in to watch some America’s Got Talent (which I guess is an interest that runs in the family) and I started to write this up.

As my time in Florida begins to come to an end, it sounds like Grandpa wants to use me for some extra luck at a horse racing track tomorrow.

So come back for my next daily summary to see how that goes!

Floridian Voyeurism + Yesterday Review

Floridian Voyeurism + Yesterday Review

We’ve settled in for the night to watch the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate, so I figure it’s as good a time as any to start my second day debrief.

Despite being exhausted by jet lag and obscene humidity, I woke up early to accompany Grandma at L.A. Fitness.

She got me a temporary membership at her gym for the week, and it had all the same amenities that I’d normally use.

Though it was arguably more fun because I could stand above the crowds with cardio machines on the second floor:

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While there I got to meet all of her gym friends. It was a little weird, but in an interesting kind of way. Like looking into a person’s secret double life.

After that we hit their local supermarket to perpetuate my vague sense of voyeurism.

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The gym and supermarket were nice reprieves from the heat, which I’ve come to find are godsends because WOW is it ever hot in Florida.

Grandma and Grandpa decided that we should go out to the movies later in the afternoon to continue our A/C hopping.

We saw Yesterday, that film which asks what would happen if The Beatles suddenly didn’t exist.

I have… A lot of things to say about Yesterday.

But I’ll get to that later. Don’t want to conflate my dislike for the movie with my enjoyment of the day.

If nothing else the experience of going was worthwhile, even if the movie wasn’t.

We were going to a special restaurant for dinner until storm clouds rolled in. So we shifted plans and went to a less outdoors-y experience with Renzo’s Pizzeria.

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Grandma and Grandpa say they’ve been going to this sweet little Italian joint for years, and I can see why. The pizza was very good.

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Had to be that guy and photograph my vacation food. Sorry.

As was the company. I got to hear the stories how Grandpa quit biting his nails (a request from Grandma when they were dating) AND how he quit smoking (thanks to a bet with someone who was supposed to lose weight and wound up gaining it).

Also, this was a thing:

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From far away the mouse looked like it had demon teeth, but it just has the Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff mouth.

Which is way funnier.

After dinner we came home, had some tea, put on the debate and the rest is history.

But I think it’s time for a much less divisive subject than politics: Movies.

I’m going to tear Yesterday apart under the cut, so if you don’t care about that sort of thing (and I wouldn’t blame you), go ahead and get back to your lives.

Tomorrow I’m thinking it’s time to finally hit the pool, so stay tuned for that and other exciting developments.
Continue reading “Floridian Voyeurism + Yesterday Review”

The Bachelor in Florida

The Bachelor in Florida

Hey.

Been a while, huh?

I’ve been enjoying my “book writing sabbatical” perhaps a little too much. A lot of my novel has gotten done, but there have been plenty of things over the last month I easily could have blogged about.

I was almost completely by myself for three weeks as Mom and Aly went to New York for a summer music program.

During that time I went to the L.A. County Museum of Art for a graduation party.

I bought Mario Maker 2 and made a bajillion levels.

I hosted a full-on sleepover with my friends.

We saw Disney usher the end times by announcing some great looking Marvel movies at San Diego Comic Con, despite my hatred for their entertainment monopoly.

I completely skipped the Three Houses banner in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Dad and I caught up on the latest season of The Flash, I finally saw (and was blown away by) Shazam and I watched Spider-Man: Far From Home for the second time.

Lots of potential content. But as you can tell, I’ve mostly been keeping my day-to-day exploits on social media.

More time to focus on the book and all that.

However, I might return to daily posts for limited time.

This week I’m on vacation in Florida, invited by my grandparents when they came to California for Graduation. I figure that’s worth recording for posterity.

Today wasn’t the most exciting part, however. Hence the long recap.

I flew out of LAX at 9:30 a.m., where I got to sit through that classic California traffic one last time.

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This was actually my first solo experience in the airport. Every other time I’ve gone places there were family members or school-related functions to keep me company.

But it was easygoing, despite oddities like having to walk through a dog pen for the TSA or having my departure gate flip between two locations multiple times.

I decided to be that guy and get a GIF of the takeoff once we boarded. Which turned out nice in my opinion:

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Then about four hours later, after isolating myself from the outside world to write and catch up on podcasts, I landed in Fort Lauderdale.

Though it was technically seven hours because I traveled into the future.

Isn’t technology amazing? I flew nearly 3,000 miles in a fraction of a day.

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That was such a cool realization after we landed.

Though it was immediately followed by the realization that I decided to go somewhere with 90 degree heat and 64 percent humidity at the end of July.

I guess it was worth it considering I got picked up by these two:

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Even if they took me to The Habit for dinner and gave me flashbacks of late deadline nights at The Daily Titan.

After that we came home so I could unpack and watch American Ninja Warrior with them over a cup of tea.

It took a minute to get over the existential panic of finding out I’d be staying in the “adult” bedroom usually reserved for Mom. But then the relaxation kicked in!

Or maybe it was the jet lag…

Either way, that’s all I’ve got from today. Stay tuned for the next leg of my journey tomorrow, whatever it may include.

Far From Home is far above its competition [Heavy Spoilers!]

Far From Home is far above its competition [Heavy Spoilers!]

I have great things to say about Spider-Man: Far From Home; Marvel’s first Cinematic Universe film following the bombastic conclusion to their Infinity Stone saga.

When the first teaser trailer came out, I was skeptical. It dropped before Endgame and felt like the worst example of draining tension out of character deaths.

Then the trailer after Endgame made me confident by suggesting the movie would address repercussions of Tony Stark’s death.

Far From Home is steeped in Tony Stark, using the grief Spider-Man feels literally seeing his face in memorials everywhere to bridge us into the future. I was worried about the studio’s ability to hold my interest following its magnum opus, but that won’t be a problem if all upcoming MCU films are as fun and smart as this.

Unlike most of the MCU films I review, the stuff I love about Far From Home leans heavily into spoilers, so I’m going to hide specifics under a read more.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, just know I highly recommend it.


Featured Image courtesy of IMDb

Continue reading “Far From Home is far above its competition [Heavy Spoilers!]”

Father’s Day 2019

Father’s Day 2019

Another year, another celebration.

Today we brought the current peak of the Rochlin’s patriarchal totem pole up to my Aunt’s house in West Hills to ring in Father’s Day with some barbecue and time out by the pool.

Let me tell you, there are few things more magical than having some ribs, taking a dip in the pool and swimming alongside a big, beautiful doggo as Grandpa Joe looks on with a smile.

He really seemed to have a good time. Which is great given how hard it can be to tell how the man is feeling sometime.

It’s hard to feel bad when you’re surrounded by family and dogs out by the pool.

Once we brought Grandpa back home I was able to snag this lovely picture of the three generations of Rochlin men together:

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It took a bit of work to get Grandpa looking at the camera, but I’d say it was worth it. With this being our first Father’s Day after Grandma Rhea’s passing I’ve been thinking about how important it is to chronicle our time with the old man while we still can.

Hence my writing about silly things like our trips to the movies.

But of course Father’s Day isn’t only about my father’s father. Grandpa is only thus because I have a father of my own, and Father’s Day is just as much his — even though a lot of our activities were out and about.

This morning my sister and I went out to get Dad coffee and gave him the one gift that isn’t finished until Wednesday.

He vaguely hints on the off-chance something is written about it later.

Then when we came back home, we spent a few hours making him some pasta and pink sauce:

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Featuring hand-made meatballs and store-bought chicken sausages.

It was delicious, and I’m not just saying that because I made it.

We got his seal of approval. Promise.

So that’s my Father’s Day in a nutshell. Hopefully you had a great one too, or at least made it a good day if you have a more complicated history in that department.

Once more, with feeling: Happy Father’s Day Dad and Grandpa!

Fire Emblem: Days of Future Past

Fire Emblem: Days of Future Past

Within a few days, Intelligent Systems announced the 3.6.0 Update to Fire Emblem Heroes — which includes “revival banners” for discontinued 5 Star heroes — and this Awakening child unit banner.

Considering the 2019 summer-themed heroes are right around the corner, I have come to the conclusion that the developers just desperately want our wallets.

I can’t help but bemoan the fact that these units are pretty worth the investment despite those incoming banners I’d also like to use.


Summoning Focus: From a Future Past


Part of me hopes this banner is a pseudo-reference to X-Men: Days of Future Past so Fire Emblem can cash in on X-Men: Dark Phoenix being in theaters… Despite the shlock Dark Pheonix turned out to be.

But I digress.

Nah is the headliner for this banner, and a fairly worthwhile one. Oracle’s Breath is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.

She and Yarne are also some of my favorite child units. Yarne and Morgan are top five Awakening ships for me, so I’m more than willing to pull for him — which is good considering he’s a speedy boi between the Solo, Wave and Galeforce skills.

Kjelle and Brady are less significant characters to me personally and they have weaker skill sets.

But I am a fan of Kjelle and Owain… Despite Owain going to Nohr and becoming Odin, who I ship with Camilla.

I like her with Severa too, yet Severa also goes to Nohr so it’s the same problem.

That returning trio in Fates really screwed up my shipping charts. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in Three Houses.

Also Cynthia is coming soon. I didn’t connect with her in Awakening, but I’ve warmed to her confident demeanor over time.

Her descriptive text in Heroes is a perfect example why:

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Isn’t that amazing?

Luckily there’s a Forging Bonds event to give us some free summon tickets, because that should supplement the orbs out of this story chapter so I can save up for Lute… Or Genny… Or the summer units.


Book III, Chapter 8 — Truth of a Name

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At the start of this chapter, the Order of Heroes continue exploring the destroyed Ask from Chapter 7. They want to find out what happened to it, as that may provide clues on how to stop Hel.

Along the way they encounter Líf twice. The first time he almost kills Alfonse, but is stopped by Sharena.

Don’t worry about that. Foreshadowing.

As is the second encounter where Eir tries to find out what memories were wiped away by her mother.

There are a few bland encounters with Awakening kids that conclude in a library.

The Order discovers that this Askr was destroyed in a future timeline when they teamed up with Embla to enact yet another deus ex machina Rite that makes Hel vulnerable…

At the cost of all the lives in both kingdoms.

Bodes well for whenever Princess Veronica and Loki show up.

After that exposition dump, the final battle features Líf as its boss. Once he is defeated Alfonse goes Sherlock Holmes on our asses and deduces:

Líf has actually been doomed future Alfonse all along! Which means that Thrasir is probably Veronica, both of whom became Hel’s generals after they died trying to stop her.

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So I guess now we get a ‘change the doomed future’ arc.

Fitting set-up for a Chapter that features the Awakening children.


Intelligent Systems just had to schedule this update for the same day as Nintendo’s E3 presentation.

It’s clever. Pick up that search activity.

Unfortunately, staying up late to write this will make me less likely to catch the 9:00 a.m. presentation live. Not that I really mind as the video will be online, so I’m still planning on writing a post about my thoughts on that.

At least Fire Emblem finally pulled my head out of Stardew Valley.

Because like I predicted… It has me hooked. Hard.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the new Awakening children! Hopefully the upcoming banners don’t completely overshadow them.

A car full of spaghetti

A car full of spaghetti

If I was quiet this weekend it’s because I’ve been immobile outside of family chores, and I didn’t think a second post about running the Burbank Ikea circuit would be very exciting.

The immobility comes from car troubles that have plagued me since early last week and at one point derailed my blog into a discussion on laundry.

I was headed to the gym that fateful day when I heard a pop coming from my engine, followed by what sounded like a rubber band flopping around.

After weeks of screeching sounds coming from the car when it turned on, needless to say I did not wind up going to the gym. I brought the car back home and it has been sitting idle in front of the driveway ever since.

Dad and I looked under the hood and found a completely shredded serpentine belt.

When I say spaghetti in the car, I’m not kidding.

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For those not knowledgable in automobile, that wheel on the left side should have a rubber belt around it. Instead it’s mangled at the bottom.

Mondays are street sweeping days, so the car couldn’t stay idle forever. Thus I called AAA this morning and had it hauled off to our preferred mechanic.

Mom and I drove behind the tow truck on the way there, which gave me the opportunity to photo the damage from a different angle:

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You can see some of the spaghetti dangling from below.

Luckily for my plans later this week, the issue was fixable in a matter of hours. No need to lose my vehicle overnight.

So I spent the afternoon driving around with Mom doing chores. We stopped by my Grandpa’s complex to pay his rent, got a document notarized and delivered, did some shopping and delivered a few held-up items from Friday’s Silent Auction.

By 3:00 p.m. the car was ready.

That’s more or less where the story ends, but before I left the mechanic I got to see a few of the parts that were replaced. The main one was the busted up A/C Compressor that actually had rubber remnants burned into the wheel.

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Pretty incredible.

To some extent I suppose my immobility was a blessing. Earlier today there was an active shooter situation at the Del Amo Mall that’s still being covered as I write this.

I know it’s somewhat cliché at this point (which in itself is a horrible statement on gun control in this country), but it’s hard to imagine that kind of thing happening so close to home.

My family frequents that mall. It hosts our usual movie theatre. It’s where I went to see Detective Pikachu with Aly, and Bumblebee with my friend Juan going back a bit.

This is a bit more visceral than Gable House Bowl was a few months back because I hadn’t been to that bowling alley in years. The Del Amo situation is so visceral that I’m not entirely comfortable with how I feel about it just yet.

So I figure let’s stick with car talk and leave it there.

To any of my local friends who may wind up reading this, I hope you’re safe today.

John Wick is back and bringing his best for Chapter 3

John Wick is back and bringing his best for Chapter 3

Keanu Reeves’ 2014 action vehicle John Wick was lightning in a bottle.

Where Reeves was previously known in the genre as a trench coat wearing techno-superhero, the late 2010s has changed his action pedigree to that of a retired super assassin skilled in glorious gun-fu.

That film exhibited wonderful cartoony violence in a way that enthralled audiences. It was a self-contained story with a hint of mysterious flavor that could have easily stood on its own.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) was less contained. But even if its script clearly acted as the middle man for another sequel, the film was magnificent in its world-building. It elaborated on the mysterious underbelly of the first movie in a way that created intrigue rather than spoiling the fun.

And it somehow kept up a high caliber of action at the same time.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) masterfully blends and elevates the action-packed precedent of the first movie and the world-building of the second to continue an experience warranting the fourth chapter it aims to establish.

Chapter 3 follows Reeves’ titular character as he aims to reverse his excommunication from the worldwide “High Table” assassin society after killing one of its leading members in a safe haven at the end of the second film.

Like Chapter 2, this movie immediately drops its audience into a story that services its past while introducing new elements.

Wick travels to Casablanca and recruits Sofia (Halle Berry) to pay off a debt she owes. Meanwhile veteran characters Winston (Ian McShane), Charon (Lance Reddick) and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) face political repercussions at the hands of a clinical and captivating Adjudicator for the High Table (Asia Kate Dillon).

Facing the consequences for one’s actions is the name of the game, as Chapter 3 establishes multiple times while audiences are introduced to more of the assassin underworld through locales like a training academy and a currency manufacturer in the ramparts of a medieval castle.

The movie embellishes John Wick’s brilliant universe, where gory street level duels are bathed in neon lights despite being planned by codified and cordial socialites in almost baroque meeting places.

The growing universe is enthralling for series veterans, yet I would argue Chapter 3 utilizes it’s exposition in a way that gives newcomers a fun experience unraveling how Reeves got himself into trouble. Like The Hangover, but with trained assassins.

Some of the fine details would be lost, but John Wick supplements its world-building with creative action to make the experience worthwhile.

The hyper-violence of this film is a spectacle. Within the first 20 minutes, Reeves beats a man to death with a copy of Dante’s Inferno and kills motorcycle-riding goons while galloping through New York traffic on a horse.

Yet that hyper-violence is perfectly balanced by enough realism to give confrontations weight and suspense. Wick is constantly battered, retains his scars and takes multiple pauses in the middle of firefights to reload. Every body and bullet casing hits the floor with satisfying clunks.

Not all of the action perfectly hits its mark. One at the midpoint in particular feels a little aimless as endless opponents come out of nowhere.

Though even less stellar scenes have high points, such as that rather aimless fight using Sofia’s dogs to great effect. Never before have I encountered uncomfortable mauling scenes with lovably good boys.

Cinematography and color in Chapter 3 also go a long way to make action more impressive.

For example, a later firefight is dulled by losing most hand-to-hand choreography in the face of near-invincible enemies. But the scene’s nauseating green palate emphasizes how uncomfortable the once-friendly setting is for Wick.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum arguably succeeds best in that it plays well to the strengths its predecessors while keeping things fresh.

Though a few of the action scenes aren’t as stellar as others, long-time fans of Mr. Wick’s exploits will not be disappointed. Especially if they love the assassin-filled world Chapter 2 began to reveal.

And even if I wouldn’t recommend it, Chapter 3 seems like it could work as a standalone flick. It certainly did for my Grandpa.

I’m very much looking forward to the Chapter 4 this movie’s namesake sets up.

Even if it won’t have the same mind-blowing realization for me that Reeves’ great, cocky foil Zero is played by Mark Dacascos: The Chairman from Iron Chef America.


Featured Image courtesy of Movie Poster HD

Analyzing animation and Pokémon

Analyzing animation and Pokémon

After dealing with the mental gymnastics of drama retroactively changing content appreciation, it’s nice to find some new YouTube personalities to enjoy.

You may think replaying Sacred Stones would sate my appetite for entertainment, but the game’s weakest point is its soundtrack. I pointed that out in my essay, and it proved to be true.

So I looked for things to listen to while playing, and my newest obsession has been a series on Pokémon typings from Lockstin & Gnoggin.

There’s actually a somewhat interesting history behind my discovery of this series.

The channel’s “Every Pokémon Type Explained” has been recommended to me by the platform a number of times. Each episode was recognizable from a uniform thumbnail with black borders around images of different Pokémon with clickbait-y text suggesting they should NOT be that typing.

It always seemed over-the-top for my tastes, so I never watched any part of the series.

Cue life lesson about not judging a book by its cover.

As fate would have it, I intersected with the channel again through a collaboration they did with the animation channel TerminalMontage.

TerminalMontage is another fairly recent addition to my watch list, but became a favorite thanks to his “something about” series where the plots of video games are just torn apart with a goofy cartoon style and memes.

I’m particularly a fan of any Star Fox-related video, as he leans hard into the Super Smash Bros. Melee meta Fox who jolts around with the sounds of a GameCube controller clicking in the background.

Makes me laugh literally every time.

Brilliant stuff if you’re into fast, purposefully random comedy.

His recent animation depicting a Fortnite-style battle royale featuring Legendary Pokémon really caught my attention.

Like his prior Pokémon battle royale video, it was full of interesting deep cuts that made me want to know more about the thought process behind putting the project together.

So this time I paid attention when they recommended watching Lockstin’s breakdown of the Legendary Pokémon battle royale. Because he helped plan the videos.

I enjoyed his style of commentary and seemingly well-calcified knowledge of Pokémon lore. Thus, I finally bit the bullet and started watching the typing videos I’d put off.

In essence each video takes one of the 18 types (minus two as of my writing this) and tries to divide each Pokémon of that type into categories of real-life equivalence. And yes, he does actually indicate which ones might not belong. Clickbait justified.

For instance the rock-type video divides monsters into living rocks or beings that adorn rocks, and further breaks down what kind of real mineral each Pokémon represents.

Meanwhile the ghost-type video (in lieu of real-world science) breaks down every monster into what mythological legend or ghost story they represent.

It’s a really interesting and analytical series about what many probably consider an innocuous franchise. I appreciate the depth and flashy style of editing that shows a lot of care on the production’s back-end.

As a result, that’s my recommendation for the day. I’m always a fan of pointing out great content where I find it… And I really don’t have that much else to talk about tonight.

But stay tuned.

Tomorrow I will complete my video game/YouTube/movie media trifecta with a review of a little movie I’m going to see called John Wick: Chapter 3.

And boy I’m excited!

Detective Pikachu made my heart swell

Detective Pikachu made my heart swell

Move over, Endgame.

You might have ended a decade of MCU movies, but Detective Pikachu played to my 20-years of investment in the subjectively best video game series of all time.

My development as a person and writer was kick-started by Mom teaching me to read with the text in Pokémon Crystal. I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since.

So, the objective side of my cinephilia can critique a few key issues. But that doesn’t take away from Rob Letterman giving me the breathing Pokémon society — focusing on more than just prodigal, battling children — that I’ve always wanted.

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Image courtesy of IMDb

Detective Pikachu follows accountant Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) as he confronts the death of his mother and resulting alienation of his father after the man goes missing in a utopian city designed for Pokémon to coincide with humans.

He does so with the help of a talking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds — clearly channeling Deadpool while still grounded in this source material) and aspiring investigative reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton).

To be blunt, Detective Pikachu is bloated with clichés.

It mimics film noir and buddy cop tropes, such as a boy who needs to learn to love again and his amnesiac animal partner. There are also multiple plot points throughout the movie’s two-hour run you’ve seen before:

  • The shady, experimenting corporation.
  • The blossoming love between main (human) characters.
  • The incidents with a substance that causes loss of control (ala Zootopia).

Besides a surprise twist in the third act, the overall situations are well-worn. Yet the actors keep them from feeling stale.

Reynolds made me love the overplayed series mascot I usually scoff at. He’s snarky, heartfelt and delivers some solid (seemingly improvised) jokes.

Minor spoiler: At one point, he sings a depressed rendition of the original anime theme song, and it’s worth the price of admission alone.

Reynolds and Smith sell the buddy cop bit, and I liked Smith and Newton’s chemistry as well — especially since their burgeoning romance ended without a dramatic kiss.

Smith carried the movie handily, surprisingly so given my lukewarm reception to Fallen Kingdom. I really enjoyed his character arc and relationship with Pikachu that shined during a heart-to-heart mid-way through the film.

That scene in particular also has a gorgeous shot where Smith’s stoic face during a sad story is betrayed by a tear that makes the neon city lights outline his cheek.

Detective Pikachu had surprisingly pretty cinematography in my opinion, outside of some shots that relied too heavily on shaky dissolves and off-center angles for my taste.

On top of that, I never once felt like the CGI Pokémon were out of place. They always seemed believably real in the living people’s arms.

Granted I might be predisposed to believing in real-life Pokémon because of my history and encyclopedic knowledge with the series. But my sister (who saw the movie with me) is less of a hardcore fan and didn’t report any concerns.

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We had a blast going together!

Ironically, I felt like the Pokémon CGI was masterful in-part because a lot of the practical effects were… Real bad? Most of the actors looked like they were slipping around on wires during action scenes.

But for me, that was barely a concern in light of the respect Detective Pikachu shows fans of the series in its overt and subtle references.

Alongside the anime’s theme song, most of the music throughout the film sounded like it could have come from the Sinnoh or Unova region games.

There are dozens of the 800+ Pokémon appearing as live models (both the recognizable Pikachu and less conventional Treeckos or Purrloins) and set-pieces (some favorites being the Latios and Latias stickers in Tom’s room, and a store named after Whismur).

Their appearances are true to established lore as well, with Charizard weakened as someone stomps on its tail flame and Slaking almost exclusively loafing around.

Mewtwo‘s powers are a less traditional example that sticks out, but even that strange treatment plays into an unexpected plot point that I enjoyed. Plus, they nailed the legendary Pokémon’s origin with an interesting new angle.

People who are not a fan of the games or anime may be somewhat lost. It immediately drops audiences in and lets most references quickly fly by. Yet enough is explained for the public to follow its plot, and the movie is funny regardless of pre-existing knowledge.

You might get more out of some jokes if you know Mr. Mime, for instance, but even if you don’t his scenes have some great slapstick with effective sound effects.

Frankly, I’m not sure what else I can say.

I’m obviously biased, but the movie is just as obviously tailored toward fans like me. From that perspective, I wholeheartedly recommend Detective Pikachu from my three-year-old heart and from the highly knowledgeable dork I am today.

But the movie also has enough family-friendly elements and appeal for non-super-fans. Some of the effects aren’t perfect, and the overall package leans on clichés, but the cast and world-building do more than enough to make up for it.

I had a blast seeing this movie with my sister. It’s a master class in video game adaptations — One that’s very much needed in the face of Sonic the Hedgehog and Angry Birds 2.

Go see it, so we can get more live action Pokémon movies. And cards to go with them:

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You won’t see a TCG fan like me complaining.