Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is a film that is sure to capture the hearts of younger audiences and fans of the Pokémon universe. While it may not be the most original mystery flick out there, it still delivers fantasy fun that is hard to resist. The film features Pokémon creatures battling on the Ultra HD stage, and the 4K HDR10 presentation and Dolby Atmos soundtrack are top-notch. However, the Blu-ray and Ultra HD physical media packs have the same set of supplements.
When viewers start up the film, they are taken to a static screen with the usual options along the bottom and music playing in the background. Pikachu partners with Ultra HD, which is equipped with a great-looking HEVC H.265 encode that delivers a small step-up in some areas but is not a significant upgrade from its day-and-date Blu-ray counterpart.
While the 2160p transfer is slightly sharper than the Blu-ray counterpart, it ultimately shows imperceptible differences. The CG visuals fall on the softer side and are ever-so-slightly out of focus, with several poorly-resolved moments throughout the film. This may be due to John Mathieson’s heavily-stylized cinematography, which features a lightly muted design with lots of heavy, dark shadows to supply the plot with a neo-noir mood.
As a result, the overall contrast is more subdued, giving daylight sequences a grayish overcast tone that makes the 2.39:1 image feel somewhat flat and slightly dull. However, whites are crisper and more brilliant than its HD brethren, supplying scenes with Mewtwo, Pikachu’s electrifying static, and holograms with a bit more pop and radiance. Specular highlights, on the other hand, are comparable and don’t seem to have improved as dramatically.
Black levels, however, are inkier and truer, bathing the streets of Ryme City with rich, velvety shadows without sacrificing the finer details within the darkest corners. The overall palette of the film does not show a significant improvement in the 4K video compared to the HD SDR counterpart. The stylized photography still displays a strong orange and teal color scheme that strongly pushes the blues, adding to the visual’s noir aesthetic. While the neon lights throughout Ryme City or in the Pikachu vs Charizard battle are fuller and largely feel more animated, the difference between this HDR10 presentation and its HD SDR counterpart is still minimal.
In conclusion, while the 4K video may not offer the upgrade we would expect from the physical media format, fans of the Pokémon universe and younger audiences will surely enjoy Pokémon: Detective Pikachu for its fantasy fun and thrilling battles. The Ultra HD stage, 4K HDR10 presentation, and Dolby Atmos soundtrack are impressive, making the overall package worth a watch when you have nothing else to watch.
Sign up for the MovieGainz Email Newsletter and never miss out on another one of our 4K/UHD Physical Media movie reviews or analysis around the physical media we love.