When detective Harry Goodman goes missing, his son Tim and Harry’s former Pokémon partner Detective Pikachu join forces to unravel the tangled mystery. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray review of Pokemon Detective Pikachu from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Warner - 2019
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 104 minutes
Genre: Comedy/Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Bill Nighy, Ken Wantanabe
Directed by: Rob Letterman
Music by: Henry Jackman
Written by: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, Derek Connolly
Region Code: A

Release Date: August 6, 2019
"Start Looking for Clues"

“When detective Harry Goodman goes missing, his son Tim (Justice Smith) and Harry’s former Pokémon partner Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) join forces to unravel the tangled mystery.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

My Take:

Ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son, Tim, to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry's former Pokémon partner, wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth Detective Pikachu. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Pikachu, the duo chases clues on an epic adventure through Ryme City, a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world. There they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and, uncover a shocking plot that could destroy the whole Pokémon universe.

Honestly, I know next to nothing about Pokemon but, am aware of its global popularity. Here’s a little background from the press release:

Launched in 1996 to an overwhelming response, the Pokémon brand is a global sensation that now encompasses a robust video gaming fandom with over 324 million units sold worldwide, a trading card game available in 11 languages with more than 25.7 billion cards purchased, an animated television series in its 22nd season that is available in more than 160 countries and over 20 animated films, as well as books, manga comics, music, toys, merchandise and apps, including the wildly popular Pokémon GO, which has been downloaded over 850 million times and is enjoyed across the globe by fans of all ages.

Truth be told I had no real interest in seeing the film however, my son saw it and said that there it turned out to be better than expected so, I went ahead and requested a review copy. Pokemon Detective Pikachu is clearly aimed at Pokemon fans as it includes loads of references to the various characters and a wink and nod to its establishment. The plot is elementary, in a good way, as it contains the requisite elements for a surface level mystery as well as a bit of light drama aimed at tugging on the heart strings. I am not certain that the latter pulls that off but, I was okay with it. The levity is primarily left up to the character of Pikachu, voice by Ryan Reynolds, via a buddy style interaction with Tim. It’s more or less hit or miss in that regard but, as a fan of Ryan Reynolds’ ability to spout quips and one-liners, I did chuckle a few times.

Looking at Pokemon Detective Pikachu as a whole, coming from the perspective of a novice, I found it mildly entertaining and slightly overlong. Given the nature of the source material and narrative depth, 90 minutes would have been more than enough of a runtime. Be that as it may, Pokemon Detective Pikachu is light popcorn entertainment that should find broader appeal with Pokemon fandom.

*For a limited time only, the 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD Special Edition will include a special Pokémon Trading Card Game card.*

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
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  • Entertainment factor: 

Pokemon Detective Pikachu comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu appears to have been shot on film and rendered from a 4K DI for its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

In terms of resolution the differences between this and the 1080p version are appreciable as there is a noticeably finer texture in the minutia, especially in the characteristics/physical makeup of the animated characters. This also applied to backgrounds which emphasized depth of field and fine detail. The wide-angle shots of Ryme City and, the exterior locations in and around the mountains, CGI and all, looked great.

Fleshtones are reproduced beautifully, with a natural and pleasing tonality. The image has lots of pop as the expanded color gamut and emboldened dynamic range draw out the film’s bright chromatic palate and use of contrast. Whites are gradational and bright and the monochromatic grays, blues and black featured in the sequences with limited lighting, of which there are many, are multi-staged and dimensional in appearance.

The use of high dynamic range is limited in the first two acts, but is appropriately applied. Exterior sequences offer a hint of added punch, especially those that take place in the light of day, where the sun reflects off of objects etc. and, artificial lighting in all of its variants appears vivid. During the large engagement in the final act, things pop quite nicely, as the specular highlights from fiery explosions, and arcing flashes from Mewtwo light up the screen.

Viewing Pokemon Detective Pikachu in Ultra HD wasn't an eye-opening experience however, I think it makes the most of the film’s elements, making it the go to for UHD fans considering a purchase.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix atmospherics and discrete effects. The music score is subtly mixed over the platform so as to add natural depth to its orchestrated elements while complimenting the story's thematic tone. When the action kicks the level of immersion increases as the sound field comes alive. This is especially evident during the aforementioned engagement in the final act as the correlation with the onscreen events provides the "being there" effect quite well. I enjoyed the presentation's balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement which complimented the source material.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Pokemon Detective Pikachu comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel.

This is a great looking new release title from Warner. Images onscreen exhibit plenty of fine rendering and crisp definition that on occasion rises to higher levels especially during close ups which can be very revealing. Long range shots appear resolute with good dimensional depth and notable object detail. Bright exterior segments are punchy with crisp dynamic whites and appreciable texture. Colors are vibrant with eye catching primaries and natural rendering that looked great in high definition. Fleshtones are tonally divergent and appear lifelike in depiction. Blacks are deep and shadow detail is excellent. I didn’t detect any video related anomalies and felt that this appeared to be a faithful video presentation.

The lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Atmos core) has excellent dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s thematic elements. Well-integrated discrete and atmospheric sound effects play an intricate role in this surround mix as the detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is excellent. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the palpably rich bass and dynamic impact associated with the “sounds” of the world it depicts. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. I enjoyed this audio presentation and found that it complimented the film’s recorded elements.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Pokemon Detective Pikachu Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Pokemon Detective Pikachu Blu-ray
    • Detective Mode
    • Alternate Opening
    • My Pokémon Adventure
    • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Welcome to Ryme City
    • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Uncovering the Magic
    • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Action
    • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Colorful Characters
    • Creating the World of Detective Pikachu: Bringing Pokémon to Life
    • Mr. Mime's Audio Commentary
    • Ryan Reynolds - Outside the Actor’s Studio
    • "Carry On" by Rita Ora and Kygo (Music Video)
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a mildly entertaining and, slightly overlong buddy comedy, that makes for light popcorn entertainment that should find broader appeal with the Pokemon fandom. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring excellent overall video quality, solid lossless sound, including a Dolby Atmos immersive soundtrack and a fair supplemental package. Pokemon Detective Pikachu was hit and miss with me but, if easily worth the price of a rental on Blu-ray for those looking for something light on movie night.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems