The internet had a good chuckle this past week at this screenshot:
Taken from this review, screenshotted and tweeted by Carolyn Petit, it makes the somewhat ridiculous comparison between Schindler’s List, Stephen Spielberg’s masterpiece about the holocaust and one faint light of hope, and the recent videogame-inspired blockbuster Detective Pikachu, in which a lad teams up with an electric mouse to find his missing father.
But just how ridiculous a comparison is it really? In many ways, Detective Pikachu is very much like Schindler’s List.
Oscar Schindler had a list of roughly 1,100 Jewish people who he hid from the Nazi German Regime. This brave, selfless act was a stupendous moment of humanitarianism which illustrates the importance of individual defiance against monstrous populist regimes. Speaking of monsters, Pokemon has a list of 809 colourful creatures in its pokedex. Coincidence?
Schindler’s List was based on the novel Schindler’s Ark, itself inspired the true events in which an industrialist selflessly put everything on the line to save the lives of people he had never met. Detective Pikachu is based on the 3DS videogame Detective Pikachu: Birth of a New Duo, in which if you can’t solve the puzzles a yellow mouse will pretty much do it for you. Obviously, this isn’t quite as meaningful an act of self-sacrifice and hard work as what Oscar Schindler did, but I think if you beat a difficult game like Sekiro it would be about as worthwhile.
3: They’re Both Films Which Made Me Cry
Schindler’s List is a phenomenal and important film. Its combination of the very darkest acts of human hatred and an inspirational light of hope moved me to tears. In 2019, when my own nation moves heart-breakingly towards hate and nationalism even as the Pokemon Company romanticises it in their new game, this film only becomes more touching and vital. On the other hand, I really fucking love Pokemon and seeing that world and that ethos brought to such perfect live on the big screen made me well emosh mate.
2: They’re Both Films I Unwisely Forced Dates To Watch With Me
My current girlfriend is a pretty big Pokemon fan but she isn’t really a cinema-goer. Nonetheless, I’ve dragged her to see Detective Pikachu not once but twice since its release in Japan a week ago. This is not nearly as stupid as what I did with my first proper girlfriend back when I was 18. Upon hearing that she’d never seen Schindler’s List, I borrowed a VHS copy from my history teacher and made her sit with me and watch it. It should go without saying, but it didn’t really lead to a romantic evening.
I stand by the decision, though. If there are two films I think literally everyone should watch . . .
1: They Both Grapple With The Difficult Subject Of Those Whom Society Unjustly Deems as Lesser
Nazism is defined by its indefensible concept of racial superiority. Primarily Jewish people, but also other groups like Romani people and homosexual, were scapegoated for society’s ills, persecuted and killed in their millions. Punch Nazis.
In the Pokemon World, nobody really talks about it but Pokemon are kind of like slaves? They’re totally sentient but in the games, they’re just tools to be shoved into balls and used in combat at the whims of ten-year-old children. Its really dark, y’all.
Anyway, watch Schindler’s List if you haven’t. And please go watch Detective Pikachu, I want them to make as many Pokemon movies as Marvel movies.
Oh, and fuck Nazis.