POKÉMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU / COMPOSER: HENRY JACKMAN / LABEL: MUSIC ON VINYL / RELEASE DATE: 26TH JULY
Henry Jackman’s score for Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is everything Rob Letterman’s film was: a madcap blend of videogames, detective noir, and Looney Tunes madness. However, it’s not all go-go-go intensity. Much like the movie, the film’s score isn’t afraid to engage in some heartfelt emotional moments which gives the standard detective tale something more than a cartoonish outline.
Detective Pikachu’s plot includes frenetic action sequences on both small and large scale. There are a couple of excellent chases as well, and the scene of Pikachu and Tim interrogating a Mr. Mime is an absurdist reinterpretation of the usual “good cop / bad cop” questioning done in so many films which preceded it, but still scored with sizzling violins.
The apex scene for Detective Pikachu, in terms of musical performance, is when Pikachu battles a Charizard in the Roundhouse, an underground fighting league in Ryme City. The mysterious R gas is released and the entire place goes mad, but what ratchets up the comedy is when the Loudreds switch from enthusiastic dance music to dubstep as the Pokémon go full-bore bro aggro. It’s a laugh out loud moment, and the track “Pikachu Vs. Charizard” showcases the fun composer Jackman has with his score as the soaring action switches to ridiculous techno.
As Detective Pikachu swoops and dives from the opening moments of “Mewtoo Awakes” to the rambunctious clamor of “Aipom Attacks” and on through the emotional beauty in “The Forest of Healing” and “Epiphany,” Jackman keeps the music just as rollicking and childlike as the film itself. It’s as fun to listen to as the film is to watch and, in much the same vein, when it’s over, the desire to go through it one more time is pretty strong.
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu comes pressed on white vinyl, although it seems that Music on Vinyl missed a real opportunity to press this on half-red, half-white to make the LPs look like Pokéballs. The d-side of the second LP is a picture disc, with an image of Pikachu printed directly onto the vinyl. It’s a great look, and comes in a separate clear sleeve, so that it can be seen rather than tucked away inside the sleeve. There’s also a Pikachu postcard, a copy of the movie poster, and a four-page booklet, making this limited edition of 2500 copies a really excellent package.