A reader refutes the idea that Detective Pikachu is the best video game movie and insists that honour still goes to Mortal Kombat.
I wish to address an injustice. It’s not one I imagine many people feel all that passionately about but it’s an injustice nonetheless. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is not the best video game movie. It’s up there, in that it’s one of only about three or four that are even barely watchable, but for me it cannot claim the crown.
Detective Pikachu was rightly praised for creating a believable cinematic world (universe?) and creating realistic looking versions of the famous creatures. Which is true, all that stuff is great. But the problem I have is that while the portrayal of the city is true to the game Detective Pikachu, that is like the least famous Pokémon game ever and hardly anyone has played it.
More importantly, the way it showed pokémon and humans interacting was completely different to any of the other games or the cartoon, to the point that it completely missed the whole appeal of the franchise. Or to put it another way, there was virtually no catching and no battles in the whole film and I don’t think anyone that didn’t know anything about Pokémon would realise that they were in anyway important from just watching the film.
But when you watch the first Mortal Kombat you get exactly what it is all about.
Now, obviously, Mortal Kombat is not a great movie but I severely doubt any movie based on a game is going to be. But the film gets everything right in terms of following the same basic story, having all the major (and many minor) characters, featuring the same sort of action as you see in the games, and resolving the plot in a way that is similar to the game and not just pulled out of thin air.
The cheesy tone is also right in keeping with the early Mortal Kombat games, with the only significant difference being the lack of any gore. But I think there’s fair enough given what they were doing. There’s plenty of deaths and I don’t think anything about the film would’ve been made better by there being tons of gore, especially not to the extremes the modern games have got to.
The acting is pretty bad and Goro (and definitely Reptile) looked kind of bad even at the time but you just go with it, which is easy when the film’s so much fun. No wonder that Shang Tsung in the DLC for the new game references the movie rather than the original game, where he was just a generic bad guy. The movie made him a character, just like it did with Raiden and a lot of the others.
Now it’s done there’s not really any point doing it again though, with the sequel being a complete waste of time. They do keep trying to do a grim and gritty reboot but thankfully someone always seems to see sense before it actually happens.
That might be the advantage that Detective Pikachu has over Mortal Kombat, in that it is easy to see how you could make more games in the same universe. But in terms of an individual film that I would watch again and again nothing beats Mortal Kombat.
By reader Klayton
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