Detective Pikachu star Justice Smith recently revealed that Detective Pikachu was shot on film, which gives the movie a “natural grain.”
While video games films are usually horrible, Detective Pikachu has the potential to buck that tend. The upcoming films has two enjoyable trailers and a funny video featuring Ryan Reynolds under its belt so far and already looks much more stylish than any other video game movie based on a popular franchise. The production crew seems to have worked hard to give Detective Pikachu an urban noir aesthetic and even tried to get this across in the cinematography by shooting Detective Pikachu on film instead of doing it digitally.
This fact about Detective Pikachu was recently shared by Justice Smith, who portrays protagonist Tim Goodman, in an interview with Vulture. As a film that seems reliant on CGI, Vulture asked Justice how much of Detective Pikachu was shot on location. Surprisingly, Justice Smith revealed that a lot of Detective Pikachu was shot on location in places like London and Scotland and believes that doing so, along with shooting the movie on film, gives Detective Pikachu a “natural grain” it wouldn’t have otherwise.
“There wasn’t a lot of green screen. Our director, Rob Letterman…wanted to shoot on location as much as possible. We shot in London, and for like a week in Scotland which is like a desktop background,” Justice revealed. “He had this vision to put the Pokémon up against this urban backdrop and use this gray, grainy filter. We shot on film so it gave it that natural grain.” Justice went on to say that shooting on film “makes [the Pokémon] pop more” and compliment Director Rob Letterman as “he was all about the actor and our performance.”
For those of you not familiar with “shooting on film” or the movie making process in general, shooting a movie that way means that actual film stock was used and, like Justice Smith said, gives the film a more realistic and grounded aesthetic. More recently, many films have switched to being shot with digital image sensor. While these kind of cameras are typically more flexible and have more dynamic range, some people believe a certain edge or feeling is lost when shooting digitally.
Either way, shooting Detective Pikachu on film proves that those behind the movie are dedicated to achieving a certain noir-like feeling or aesthetic in any way possible, which only get me more curious to see the movie. Detective Pikachu will hit theaters on May 10, 2019. If you want to try out the game the movie is pulling from before seeing it in theaters, you can currently pick up Detective Pikachu for 3DS on Amazon.