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As a general rule, video game movies tend to be bad. That’s just how it goes – Hollywood has yet to figure out a way to consistently translate video game IP to the big screen. Now, that isn’t to say that ALL video game movies are bad; there are some that are, if not necessarily good, at least OK.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” was precisely that kind of OK back in 2020. So it’s no surprise that we got a sequel – OK is practically Oscar-worthy in the context of video game movies.

Now, is the sequel as good as the first film? It is not. The story is even more scattered and the film as a whole feels overstuffed – in what world does anyone want or need a video game movie to be over two hours long? That said, it’s not as bad as it could have been, thanks to some invested performances and a few decent set pieces.

(I’ll concede that my experience may have been colored by the fact that I attended a screening with quite a few kids in the audience. Their enthusiasm absolutely contributed to my own enjoyment of the film – it’s tough to remain dour when the kiddos are constantly raising their voices in sheer delight.)

Published in Movies

Superheroes have spent the past decade-plus as the primary cinematic currency of the land. Whether you enjoy those films or not, you can’t deny their primacy in the movie world. And while the main beneficiaries of that primacy are the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, there are other, less obvious projects that are adopting their own super-angles.

Take Disney’s “Flora & Ulysses,” currently available on Disney+. Based on Kate DiCamillo’s 2013 children’s novel, the film – directed by Lena Khan from a screenplay by Brad Copeland – takes a very different, much … smaller leap into the superhero realm. How small?

How about the size of a squirrel?

That’s the deal – a 10-year-old girl teamed up with a superpowered squirrel, all in the context of a story about the struggles of family and fitting in. It sounds ridiculous – because it is – but it’s no less engaging because of it. Frankly, it’s charming and quite sweet. Plus, it has a wildly overqualified cast, resulting in a movie that is significantly better than the tossed-off throwaway project that it easily could have been.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 19 February 2020 13:51

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ runs amok

It’s a bit of a Hollywood truism – video game movies are bad.

Unlike a lot of things that “everybody knows,” this is actually more or less true. That isn’t to say that they don’t make money – some do all right at the box office even when they’re terrible – but in terms of quality, they never measure up.

So it was with some obvious apprehension that I sat down to watch “Sonic the Hedgehog.” Considering the long and arduous road to release the film had – including extensive redesigns following the internet’s collective horror at the initial trailers – and the fact that I myself was always a Nintendo guy instead of Sega, it’s fair to say that my expectations were low.

Imagine my surprise when “Sonic” exceeded them.

Not by much, mind you – we’re not talking greatness here, to be sure – but still. This movie is … OK. It’s fine. And the reality is that “OK” and “fine” are words that have only rarely been associated with video game adaptions.

Sure, it’s all a bunch of dumb jokes and already-dated pop culture references, but the truth is that the target audience loves those things. Kids will dig it and adults will be able to tolerate it, which is no small thing. And there are occasional moments (all of which feature Jim Carrey cranking the weird to 11 and snapping off the knob) that are even better than that. For a movie that threatened to be an unhealthy dose of nightmare fuel, that’s a win.

Published in Movies

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