Motifs in Henry Jackman's Pokémon: Detective Pikachu SoundtrackI love this soundtrack's sound design. However, I am not well-versed enough in sound design to analyse why I find it so amazing.
However, I do have some experience analysing motifs, and that's what I did for this soundtrack. Because motifs are important in a soundtrack, to make it memorable and to tie the film together, but it's also essential that there is variety in the music, and the same theme isn't used over and over again!
Here is my take on the motifs in Henry Jackman's Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.
First off, there is the main theme: Ryme City. This was written in 7/8 time signature and probably takes inspiration from Tubular Bells. The motif plays throughout the entire track, although it's not always as high in the balance.
After being introduced to this track in the film, you won't hear it again for a very long time. It is finally heard again when the climactic final battle begins: you will hear the main theme reprised at the beginning of Game On. When the battle is won, at the end of Howard Unplugged, it is heard again.
Finally, at the very end of the film, at the end of Together, the theme is heard one more time, in a 4/4 (or 8/8?) variation.
Main theme variations
I appreciate that the main theme was kept for these climactic moments, because it gives them a lot more weight. However, the rest of the soundtrack is tied together too. There are two main simpler, related motifs to the main theme.
One moves upward: the opening track, Mewtwo Awakes, introduces this motif in a very ominous setting. It is used ominously in some other tracks as well, but it also appears in different settings: in A Key to the Past, the motif is used to convey mystery, and in Childhood Memories it even sounds melancholy.
Then there is also a motif related to the main theme that moves downward, as the main theme does. This motif takes a prominent role in the two very different tracks Ditto Battle (a scene of intensity) and Epiphany (a scene of amazement).
The two main theme related motifs even play together during the run-up to the film's climax: in True Colors and Merge To One you can hear both.
In at least half of the soundtrack one of the motifs related to the main theme plays. This could be boring, but because of the different ways they are used and because of the great sound design, I actually love it.
I'd also like to quickly mention two other motifs, though, that occur in several tracks: first there is a solemn motif, which plays first in Bad News, is reprised in Childhood Memories, and again in Embrace. Finally it plays for most of the final track Together (which then transitions into a call back on Buddies, to end with the aforementioned variation on the main theme).
And with quite some action scenes the soundtrack's also got a motif which I'd like to call the 'danger motif': Aipom Attack is largely built on this motif, but it also appears in A key to the past, Game On, Pikachu vs. Charizard and Howard Unplugged.
I hope I was able to interest you with this analysis, and I hope you'll check out some of the tracks mentioned and listen for the motifs! :)