Doing a video game as a movie is always a tricky proposition because milestones sometimes don’t translate to great story points. Also tone is always a meandering creature because the stakes can either get out of control or move to a point where they don’t mean anything. With “Sonic The Hedgehog”, the want to create something family friendly can create a groan factor because some of the lines sound like they were created out of a screenplay workbook. Yet the pure essence of Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) works because it is schizophrenic. Now whether that played into certain aspects of story structure is not clear. Because of the way the sequences run, the Sonic bits likely had to be more under control. On the other hand Jim Carrey is the most free flowing he has been in years. Comedy seems cyclical because the type of performances he was known for in his early career is what he tried to move away from by approaching more dramatic material. In doing this role and possibly coming back for a new Ace Ventura, it shows a shift in his progression.
The reality is that he is much older so it takes likely much more energy to pull off such a performance. His timing is still undeniably there and the director obviously let him go off on riffs even in some of the major action sequences. The result is an enjoyable to a point, grating at others, adaptation of what could have been simply one note. The reality is that fairly few video game adaptations achieve what they set out to do. Some fail miserably like “Super Mario Brothers “because it overplayed the camp and threw the audience into a world that looked like a day glo explosion. A film like “Doom” with The Rock and Karl Urban had possibility but what happened i that only at one point in the movie when it becomes first person do you really feel connection to the video game. Sonic provides a basis story (flimsy as it may be) which can connect to younger audiences (replete with bad dialogue) but still offer some levity (thanks to Jim Carrey) that can work on a slightly different level. “Sonic” isn’t perfect or particularly great but being what it is, it basks in its awkward levity until the end.
By Tim Wassberg
The mixture of tendencies within these comics point to two specific points. With Batman, The MAXX and the Sonic team is that triumph within character and depth are cyclical while in the Star Wars stories, those good tendencies tend to outpace evil even if darkness is lurking right below the surface.
Batman & The MAXX – Arkham Dreams #2 The interesting thing about The MAXX is the nature of his perception of the real and the almost tongue-in-cheek way that he perceives reality since he completely believes it. Through some weird perception of Batman, they become linked in the Outback which in many ways makes this reader think of the netherworld that Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow inhabits in one point of “Stranger Tides”, a world where everything means nothing and yet so much. Reflections of the real world tend to happen in a misshapen way. The Penguin’s mind is initially masked in this experiment but it moves to The Joker who interestingly enough seems to live in this world to a point so he can control its mechanizations. The art in this comic is extremely lurid which gives the grotesque imagery of The Joker and to a point Batman disgusting skewed features (in a good way) while The MAXX remains consistent in perhaps another metaphorical perception about the notion of reality.
Sonic – The Hedgehog #10 The massing of teams from different edges of the Sonic universe to battle a Neo Demon of sorts can play like a video game version of “Lord Of The Rings” with bright pastel colors. Everyone has their differences but also their strengths. In terms of character structure, Shadow, unlike the more cautious Sonic, fights out of rage which ultimately opens up the team to problems. A deeper psychological structure with Whisper is started which is also explained in the post notes. The essence of emotional pain even within this world gives the characters depth where it might not have existed. This is a point of reference that Nintendo & Illumination (who are gearing to do a new adaption of “Super Mario Brothers”) should pay attention to. Even in these worlds built in two dimensional game format, there is possibility for 3 dimensional depth. “Sonic – The Hedgehog #10” has a bit of it while still adhering to the base.
Star Wars Adventures #15 The small perceptions of “Star Wars” in mini episodes sometimes tells the most about the characters in the small details without having to worry about a very large super structure. This is why the first “Clone Wars” shorts by Genndy Tartakovsky many years ago still remains some of the best (even though the mythology has been undeniably mined by David FIloni’s eventual continuing series). Here the first story is “An Unlikely Friendship” with Poe Dameron and BB-8 landing on an aboriginal planet that has textures of Dagobah. They meet a young man on a walkabout to find his focus as part of his tribe. This boy helps them through selfless help of his own backing up the essence of good human nature. The 2nd part of the comic is “Flight Of The Falcon Part II”. Bounty hunters are looking for the Falcon but droids who were saved recount Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and C3PO landing on a garbage planet looking for a place to relocate the rebel base. There, a taskmaster wants to take the Falcon but the Rebels learn to get out of there fast. However the droids see that 3PO is his own robot capable of free thought which gives them the confidence to leave the master that has subjugated them.
Star Wars Adventure – Tales From Vader’s Castle #5 – The Fearful Finale The culmination of Commander Graf’s entering of Vader’s Castle to save her beloved droid Crater does have the texture of a set up. However one of the aspects that hasn’t been as specifically shown within Lord Vader is his intention of psychological warfare. The aspect of fear is almost as virile as fear itself. Lord Sidious/Palpatine subjugated Anakin into Darth Vader specifically with this tactic so it is interesting that he do it himself. The resolution points to this possibility but also to the confidant action by Graf’s assistant/pet Scripp to save his master per se. Again two lessons of story melded in one with a sense of foreboding.