If you’re anything like us, the trailers for Detective Pikachu have set your imagination into overload. The neon lights of Ryme City, the kinetic energy seeping through every frame, the lovable Ryan Reynolds bringing the titular yellow fuzzball to life; it’s all so tantalizing and joyous. But if you’re also like us, you’re probably awestruck at just how realistic the Pokémon look. Even if you’re an avid gamer or a fan of the Pokémon anime, you’ve never seen your favorite animated characters quite like this.
So how did the effects team behind Detective Pikachu manage to pull off such realistic-looking Pokémon? Nerdist’s Dan Casey hopped across the pond to London to interview the film’s visual effects producer, Greg Baxter, who had some fascinating things to say about bringing Detective Pikachu‘s 60 different Pokémon to life.
“It’s the first time we’ve seen these characters in three dimensions,” said Baxter. “The Pokémon world that existed before has been a very different style of performance. And so, even just getting a first image of what it might be has been a long process.”
To get things just right, the team worked on individual movements of each character. In some cases – like with Ryan Reynolds, who plays our favorite little lightning-tailed crime-solver in the film – the performance actually informed the visual effects.
“Something really magical happened when we put Ryan Reynolds’ voice into Pikachu,” said Baxter. Pikachu’s speed and gait are based on Reynolds’ mannerisms and the way he performs. And his voice played a part too, obviously. (But is he better than Danny DeVito? We may never know.)
Check out the video above to learn more about the way the effects team achieved the impressive visual effects, which Pokémon is Greg Baxter’s favorite, and get a look at the Neon Carnival, the Coachella afterparty that was recently taken over by all-things Detective Pikachu.
Detective Pikachu opens in theaters on May 10. You can purchase advance tickets here.
Images: Legendary Pictures
Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks