Apart from Mr Mime, there was one other Pokemon from Detective Pikachu fans found rather disturbing to see in the film’s photorealistic style. A pale pink creature with a 2-meter long tongue whose licks can cause paralysis: Lickitung, The Licking Pokemon.
Like with every other Pokemon featured in Detective Pikachu, the film’s effects team went above and beyond to make Lickitung look as “real” as possible while still keeping everything about its original design intact. According to visual effects supervisor Erik Nordby, they went as far as to create a physical latex tongue to use during the scenes Lickitung was in, as shared in an interview published by Time Magazine:.
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 [the actor gets licked by Lickitung in one scene].
However, much like with Mr.Mime, the Pokemon Company did not quite share the team’s enthusiasm for a realistic looking Lickitung. Nordby and his team had to spend a lot of time easing the company into the idea, and reassure them that things won’t get too creepy or disgusting.
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.
I wouldn’t say that [the scene with Lickitung] was the Pokémon Company’s favorite scene in the movie. That’s one where we got right up to the edge of what they would be comfortable with.
What do you think? Did the team at Detective Pikachu succeed at making Lickitung not come across as gross? What other Pokemon might have trouble being adapted into this realistic style? Let us know in the comments below.