Pokémon Detective Pikachu made its theatrical debut this weekend.
According to Forbes, the live-action Pokémon movie’s opening day was a smashing success as it beat out Avengers: Endgame with $21 million on Friday.
The movie contains a CGI recreation of several members of the Pokédex, including Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Psyduck, Jigglypuff, and Lickitung.
According to an in-depth report by Time Magazine, Erik Nordby, the visual effects supervisor on the film, recently opened up about what went into deciding how to create the Pokémon featured within the movie.
Nordby explained bringing Lickitung into the movie was the hardest concept to get The Pokemon Company on board with. As those who have seen the movie already know, it features a scene where Lickitung uses its massive tongue to lick the main character.
According to Nordby, the Lickitung scene was likely The Pokémon Company’s least favorite part of the movie.
“We built that tongue in reality with a big chunk of latex. It’s completely gross, but we had to have something to wipe Justice Smith’s face with,” Nordby explained. “For something to feel real, it has to have real world grit and texture. But the Pokémon Company would see that and think it was dirty. We had to walk them through a whole series of slides and build the trust that we weren’t going to make these things disturbingly dirty.”
— GoNintendoTweet (@GoNintendoTweet) May 11, 2019
Nordby believes the visual effects and art team were able to get “right up to the edge” of what The Pokemon Company was comfortable with the execution of the Lickitung scene.
According to Time Magazine, the creation of Lickitung wasn’t the only CGI Pokémon the art and visual effects team struggled with. They also had a pretty challenging time developing Mr. Mime.
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) May 11, 2019
Ravi Bansal, the art director for the Pokémon in the film, explained The Pokémon Company told the director – Robert Letterman – they weren’t really sure what Mr. Mime was.
Bansal said working that particular creature into the film was a “strange” situation because the company spent some time trying to talk them out of using Mr. Mime because they couldn’t describe what he was and they weren’t sure how well he would be displayed on the screen.
Nordby added that they struggled to dial down the creepy factor that overwhelmed anyone who looked at the finished product. The team, for example, made the decision to have faint freckles to the Pokémon’s face to enhance the cute factor instead.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu is currently showing in theaters.