The bare mention of Pokemon sends me back to an era that all of us 90s kids have left behind, but never forgotten just by virtue of a memory of simpler times. One among them, a particularly fond one: Pokemon, the anime series, that used to be a staple: the customary 5 PM viewing slot in the day while waiting for snacks and beverages, perhaps the only thing that would make me finish up my homework faster and be lost in Ash Ketchum’s pursuit of becoming the greatest Pokemon trainer there ever was: blessed were those days!
Since then, the mania around Pokemon has died and been resurrected far too quickly too many times, but I have no qualms in claiming that there hasn’t been anything likely close to the First Series: the Golden Age of Pokemon, nor will there ever be. The anime series coupled with the extensive merchandise that flooded the markets and a euphoric kind of hysteria among fans: it is things like these that add life to the phrase: Only 90s kids will remember!
Jump to 2019 with Pokemon having quite recently faced a resurgence with the insanely addictive ‘Pokemon Go’ released three years ago, and we have our very first live action Pokemon adaptation: years in the making and based on the 2016 video game of the same name. While the film takes place in a completely different continuity from the ongoing anime and game series, it is satiates fans and even non fans with extensive world building and stunning new Pokemon designs in 3D. To add to that, Ryan Reynold’s voice only makes things better. Now, if you happen to be a fan of Pokeman, just like I am, you have come to the right place. Here’s the list of movies similar to Pokeman Detective Pikachu that are my recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like Pokeman on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Dr. Dolittle
While not a home run by any measure, it is a consistently entertaining film about the legendary doctor who could talk to animals and his exploits, and its core, a film primarily aimed at the blow 10 years age demographic, so expect a little suspension of “plot” logic here and there, nothing that the talking to animals part didn’t warn you of. The highlight of the show is certainly Eddie Murphy, hilarious as the eponymous doctor. While the source material leaves a lot to be desired, let’s hope that the upcoming live action adaptation starring Robert Downey Jr. can fix that.
9. The Jungle Book
A live action blast from the past! Another Disney feature on the list, and gracing the long lineup of Disney movies that are receiving live action remakes from their original, animated roots. No points for guessing that ‘The Jungle Book’ is the story of Mowgli, the man cub and his gang in the Jungle including Raksha, Baloo, and Bagheera facing off against the murderous Shere Khan (played by a menacing Idris Elba) who wants to kill Mowgli for his despise of humans, one of whom burned and scarred him for life. It is very much a coming of age film for Mowgli, who rises to the occasion to save not only himself, but the entire Jungle, proving himself to be a true resident of the Jungle. All the other major players from the original one are present too: Akela, Kaa, and King Louie make memorable appearances making this one a completely well-rounded journey. With some incredible voice acting by respectable names including Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Esposito, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Ben Kingsley and especially Bill Murray who teaches Mowgli about the bare/bear necessities of life, coupled with stunning live action motion capture, ‘The Jungle Book’ is an immensely entertaining adaptation of the original.
8. Tron: Legacy
Apart from the stunning, futuristic visuals and everything Neon that have become instantly distinctive elements of this film, ‘Tron: Legacy’ has another string in common with ‘Detective Pikachu’, and that is the son-searching-for-his-father story trope, something that fans may have instantly caught from the first trailers of the film. While I mostly find the fandom on this one divided, I happen to have thoroughly enjoyed the visual splendour that this film has on display. Sure, it slackens in bits, but overall it manages to build upon the legacy of the 1982 original, completely overpowering it when it comes to technical aspects. While this is something that should be instantly obvious, I found the imaginative heads too at better work than the original. A win for sure, that sadly won’t have a sequel see the light of day.
‘Paddington’ is one of those rare charming and disarming movies that completely render critics powerless: you cannot critique these films no matter how hard you try. With an even better follow up, perhaps among the best sequels in recent times, this tale of a Peruvian Bear with a taste for all things British searching for a haven will appeal to viewers of all ages. While I will recommend the first one irrespective, you HAVE TO catch the precious sequel that details the bear’s life after he has settled with the Brown family: completely delightful fare, something that the ragged movie viewer of today could periodically return to and make use of.
6. Finding Nemo
P Sherman, 42, Wallaby Way, Sydney wasn’t quite in fact the only thing I did remember after watching this animated classic. ‘Finding Nemo’ is the story of a timid clownfish who ventures out into the vast ocean after his son gets lost in it and gets transported a world away. It’s funny, beautiful to look at, and most importantly heartfelt: everything that has come to successfully symbolise a Pixar film. Eventhough its sequel didn’t quite hold up a candle to it, reruns of the original still have me overcome with emotions, reaffirming my faith in the power of animated movies.
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5. Christopher Robin
Disney films have recently observed a trend of live action reboots of their animated classics, what with the correct tools and progressive technology available, with ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ being the latest released ones, and The Lion King and Dumbo lined up for next year. ‘Christopher Robin’ is agreeably Disney’s attempt in the same direction to harvest the heavy nostalgia for A.A. Milne’s supremely popular and adorable characters. The entire gang is present: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit and Roo, and their camaraderie and continuous silly humor form the better bits of thee film. However, the film belongs to Ewan McGregor’s titular Christopher Robin reuniting with his childhood mates and rediscovering his sense of imagination in the process. Simple yet heartfelt, this is trademark Disney, yet feels different in a good way.
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4. The Lego Movie
Nobody could have dreamt that ‘The Lego Movie’ would be as big as it actually turned out to be, spawning a franchise and a successful spinoff series of its own. At its core, ‘The Lego Movie’ is a family friendly entertainer, even laugh out loud in parts, appealing to the sense of creative wonder in you. An ordinary Lego worker in Lego city, Emmett, dreams of making it as a Masterbuilder, but the fate of the Lego universe is threatened when Lord Business finds a super weapon called the “Kragle” and plans to use it to glue the entire Lego world into eternal stasis. The world’s only hope is a piece of resistance, a mystical object with the power to stop the Kragle and the execution of Lord Business’ plans that gets stuck to Emmett’s back. The twists on who Lord Business is and what the Kragle actually signifies are simple and “childish”, but not at all in a bad way: infact, they managed to bring a smile to my face. This one is likewise, wildly imaginative and gorgeously animated in unbelievable detail with the Lego everything only adding to your appreciation. Plus, it has been directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and I sincerely believe that anything animation related that the duo touch even if in the writing departments, they turn it to absolute gold. Bonus points: Will Arnett as Lego Batman is singularly the star of the show!
3. The Secret life of Pets
There are not a lot of film related terms that can explain the experience of watching ‘The Secret Life of Pets’, except that it is boundlessly adorable! Our pets grow to be an inseparable and indispensable part of our lives, and this animated feature from Universal explores the idea of them having a secret life that begun as soon as we left for our jobs or started our work day. Some of the banter in there between the pets: where dogs and cats are just the beginning of the lineup is hilariously funny, and the writers smartly base most of the humour on regular pet habits, and putting a spin on them, making them all the more endearing. While the shortcomings are obvious, I do digress that it is no Pixar. In the end, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is a children’s film about talking animals. We would be so much better off remembering that.
2. Alita: Battle Angel
Alita: Battle Angel would be the first and definitely among the very few movies even in the near future that managed to break free from the manga/anime to live action adaptation curse. ‘Alita’ soars on the strength of its visual trickery, a beautifully realised dystopian landscape, and the earnest character development of its leading lady, even beyond an admittedly sloppy screenplay in parts. The world it creates roots itself in Cyberpunk, with cyborgs, holographic projections, gadgets, flying automobiles, robots and the kind of virtually impossible architecture it presents, and while the film itself may be seen as an exercise in imaginative world building, ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ is only a part of the intended film series its makers so obviously try to establish. To right measure, the inspiring end does make me look forward to the next part and does get me sufficiently hyped up. While the film by its very nature may not be able to please fans of the manga, fans of the anime should be able to pass ‘Alita’ as a respectable or atleast thoroughly entertaining adaptation.
1. Pokemon Series 1
Well, this one should be fairly obvious. ‘Pokemon: Detective Pikachu’ does include a fair bit if fan service and nods that only wide eyed fans would take home. Regardless, while I strongly suggest catching up with the first, the original Pokemon anime series (Gold and Silver), when it comes to movies, any or all of them should have you armed enough for the references and easter eggs in the film. These would include ‘Pokemon: The First Movie- Mewtwo Strikes Back’, ‘Pokemon: The Movie 2000- The Power of One’, ‘Pokemon 3: The Movie- Spell of the Unown’, ‘Pokemon 4ever: Celebi- Voice of the Forest’ and ‘Pokemon Heroes: Latios and Latias’ dealing with some of the most popular stories in the Pokemon cannon.
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