The Pokémon Company and game developer Niantic are celebrating the theatrical release of “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” by putting some movie-inspired content into “Pokémon Go,” they announced on Monday.
Starting on May 7, players of the popular augmented reality game can catch a Pikachu wearing a deerstalker hat. They will also have more encounters with select Pokémon from the film like Psyduck and Jigglypuff. There’s even a chance to catch a Shiny Aipom. Movie-based field research and raid battles are on the way as well, along with new in-game items for player avatars.
“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” comes out in North American theaters on May 10, and in additional markets throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific later this month. The live-action film stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu and Justice Smith (“The Get Down” on Netflix) as his human sidekick, Tim Goodman. It’s getting some positive reviews from critics, currently sitting at 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Variety’s own reviewer, Peter Debruge, had some harsh words for it.
“Though consistent with the game (with a few extra but obvious twists thrown in for good measure), the story of ‘Detective Pikachu’ doesn’t allow nearly enough ‘Pokémon’-related action, while the quality of the computer animation (by Moving Picture Co. and Framestore) falls far short of the basic level of competency audiences have come to expect from effects movies,” he said.
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“If anything, the blessing of ‘Detective Pikachu”’is that it’s off-canon,” he added. “Its box office should demonstrate fans’ hunger for a more robust big-screen version of the ‘Pokémon’ universe, while the disappointment needn’t dissuade another team from coming along and doing it right.”