Reynolds provides Pikachu's voice, and, funny enough, never puts on any kind of cutesy affect, instead opting to sound like just… a human man. To the movie's credit, it never feels too silly or overwrought: "That was the conceit of the game, which is why it made a lot of sense as an adaptation for a movie. Having this big gruff personality and voice coming out of this small adorable yellow furball was just such a great character idea."
Blade Runner, which has long been a touchstone for visually exciting, noir-influenced cinema, was one of Detective Pikachu's biggest influences: "We talked about Blade Runner a lot. Blade Runner is always in the background, the Japanese cultural influence -- and we're also doing a mashup of East-meets-West. There's a lot of connecting points."
Though a lot of the world of rainy, neon-lit Ryme City is digitally augmented, and the creatures that inhabit it are entirely computer-generated creations, Letterman decided he needed to shoot Detective Pikachu on 35mm film instead of digitally to get the look that he wanted. "I still think it's the best capture medium," he explained. "I'm always chasing the look of film." Cinematographer John Mathieson, who's worked, notably, with Ridley Scott in the past, suggested that if Letterman wanted the look of film so badly, why not do it that way?
"We really had to beg the studio to get permission to do it. There's so much fear associated with shooting on film now, I don't know why. It wasn't purely pretentious… I mean, it's a little bit pretentious. But, I needed to figure out a way to bring inherently cartoon silhouettes into the real world. It's a misnomer on a visual effects side that shooting digital is better for digital. It's exactly the opposite. You want to bring these visual effects creatures into the organic look and feel of film and the imperfections of film."