Movie Review | ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’

Every decade, Hollywood tries to make a popular video game series into a movie franchise because they need to make money. Hollywood couldn’t help but try to start this decade bringing in the money. So they took the popular Sega franchise “Sonic the Hedgehog” and turn it into a live-action movie. Something no one really asked for or wanted.

Sonic’s the name. Speed’s my game

“Sonic The Hedgehog” is based on the popular video games from the 1990s. The movie has been in the works since 1994 when the games were at the height of their popularity. It wasn’t until 2013 that the movie actually started got picked up by Sony Pictures and it entered production five years later.

The movie follows Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as tries to escape Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) with the help of Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). While working for the US government, Dr. Robotnik is trying to harness the power in Sonic to take over the world and enslave mankind with his robotic army.

With a PG rating, this movie is extremely kid-friendly. This is ironic because the people watching this movie are the parents of the children that this movie is geared towards. “Sonic The Hedgehog” isn’t a horrible movie but it’s not an excellent movie. In fact, I would say it’s a movie that you should just watch and then movie once and then that’s it.

The plot of the movie follows the source material when it comes to Sonic and Dr. Robotnik. But other than that, the plot is flimsy and not very good. There are parts of the movie that good and funny. And then there are parts that aren’t very good. It’s a PG movie that really should have been a G movie. The plot just makes the movie so bland and forgettable.

The acting and presentation in the film are extremely good. The only thing that I didn’t like was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Dr. Robotnik. Granted, I’m not into/never was into crazy, over the top, Jim Carrey. I found him annoying and that’s what I thought of him in this role. He got on my nerves. It took me out of the experience.

L to R: Pre-Twitter rage Sonic; Post-Twitter rage Sonic

There were also some plot points that were introduced in the end credits to set up plot points that were really better than most of the movie. Again, this movie isn’t horrible bad but it just isn’t really any good. For all the hype with the change of how Sonic was designed in the beginning, the movie fell flat.

I do recommend checking out “Sonic The Hedgehog” but I would honestly just rent it. It’s good for a one-time viewing and that’s pretty much it. The plot isn’t great, it faithfully follows the plot of the video game with good presentation and acting. It also suffers from not knowing who the audience is for it. It’s a popular 90s character that gears towards kids who have little to no knowledge about him. Pretty much, this movie is a poorly done cash grab for video game sales.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Movie Review | ‘Birds of Prey’

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With the release of the 2016 movie “Suicide Squad,” my expectations with anything revolving them were low key low. The film itself wasn’t great by any means, and Jared Leto as The Joker confused me. I heard they were going to add my beloved Black Canary to the universe, I wasn’t that thrilled. DC Movies aren’t the best movies in the world. I hoped that “Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” would do her justice.

Behind every man, there’s a badass broad

“Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” was directed by Cathy Yan and is the eighth film in the DC Extended Universe. For those who don’t know, DC Extended Universe is the shared universe where all of the DC Comics movies take place. This is also the first movie to have an R rating.

The movie follows Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) as she deals with the aftermath of her breakup with The Joker. Wanted by Gotham’s top mob boss, Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), she makes a deal to help him find his lost diamond. Things turn for Miss Quinn as she finds herself working with Renee Montaya (Rosie Perez), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

This movie got a lot of hate from critics, and frankly, it’s uncalled for. I immensely enjoyed this movie. Was it a blockbuster? No, and it didn’t need to be. This was just a fun movie that had great action. The acting was excellent, and all the characters were enjoyable and likable. There are some things I would have like to have done differently, like the fact you only have the Black Canary do one Canary Cry. You get a brief back story of the characters. There’s are some things that needed to be dived deeper into, and the movie just isn’t.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is the best part of the entire movie. The way that she portrays the character is just fantastic. Gave Harley Quinn depth and just made her shine. Harley Quinn needs to have her own movie is what we need. Margot Robbie could and can carry a Harley Quinn solo movie. Spoiler: There’s a new Suicide Squad coming out with Margot in 2021.

The biggest complaint I have with this movie is the plot/story. It’s all just bizarre. The first part of the movie is setting up everything. You get to what really should have been the first part, and the movie is almost over. It could have been paced out better. I appreciated the setting up. I just wish they didn’t spend most of the movie doing it.

Verdict

“Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” is a movie that you need to see if you are big into superhero movies. It’s a step in the right direction for DC Extended Universe. While the pacing and the plot weren’t the greatest, you need to watch it just for Harley Quinn. She’s the true queen of the DC Extended Universe. The movie is also a fun time.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Review | ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

It’s the end of an era. It’s time that we cross into the final chapter of Star War’s Skywalker Saga. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has gotten a lot of mixed reviews. Some liked it, others didn’t really enjoy it, and some just thought it was meh. Now that it’s out digital, it’s time to review it because that’s the kind of guy that I am.

The force will be with you, always

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and executive produced “Star Wars: “The Last Jedi.” It’s the ninth episode in the saga. Yep, there’s been nine movies. The cast from the first two films in the sequel trilogy return and reprises their roles. Carrie Fisher is also in this movie as they used unused footage from “The Force Awakens.” She passed away back in 2016.

The movie picks up after the events of “The Last Jedi.” Rey (Daisey Ridley) leads the resistance against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his First Order. The First Order got a little more powerful after a Sith emperor returns to lead Kylo to end all Jedi once and for all.

The movie itself isn’t bad. The primary thing that holds the film back is the pacing. It starts off high speed before hitting a roadblock in the middle and slowing down and just drags until the finale. The movie is 142 minutes, or two hours and 22 minutes. Because the central act drags, it just brings the film down. The central act is still short, but it doesn’t feel that way.

It’s an instinct. A feeling. The Force brought us together.

Finn

The story of the movie is still impressive. There’s just so much plot, and it directly ties all nine movies together. While the callbacks to previous films are good, it’s rather too much. Fan service for the point of fan service. It’s kind of like they decided to throw out a bunch of things just to tie up all their loose ends. And the ideas to tie up loose ends aren’t bad, in fact, they are rather interesting takes on it. I just wish they decided to use the ideas earlier on in the sequel trilogy.

The issues with the story have to be due to “The Last Jedi.” It wasn’t done by J.J. Abrams. They really don’t reference much of the story from the eighth episode, besides the significant plot. Even then, this movie undoes that so that happened. Frankly, it’s kind of a hot mess. It’s not an unwatchable hot mess but a hot mess nevertheless.

The acting is excellent, as well as the action scenes. They live up to what we all come to expect in a Star Wars movie. But it’s the pacing and the story that hurts “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” The ending is fitting of the Skywalker saga, but it could have had a more cohesive trilogy to end to it. I do recommend watching it as it’s really not a bad movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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It’s a whole new world with the new ‘Aladdin’

In the fall of 1992, Walt Disney Pictures released the animated feature film “Aladdin.” Based on the Arabic folk tale “One Thousand and One Nights,” the film went on to become the highest-grossing film of the year, as well as have an animated series, two direct to video sequels, and a Broadway adaptation. And like everything in this world, it’s time that to remake the classic Disney film that made an estimated $504 million in the box office because of money.

A Whole New World

“Aladdin” was directed in Guy Ritchie (“Snatch,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “One of Madonna’s ex-husbands”). Guy also wrote the screenplay with John August (“Charlie’s Angels,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). Like stated and mocked above, this is a remake. While I wouldn’t call it a modern retelling, it is a different version of the movie that we have gotten. There’s a lot of what we loved about the original film, as well as some updated elements that help add more depth to the story.

Mena Massoud (“Jake Ryan”) stars as the title character Aladdin, a young thief from the right side of the tracks that end up falling for Princess Jasmine, played by Namoi Scott (“Saban’s Power Rangers,” upcoming reboot of “Charlie’s Angels”). Aladdin gets trapped in the cave of wonder after Jafar, Marwan Kenzari (“Ben-Hur,” “The Mummy,” the remake king), send him in after Aladdin meets the Genie, Will Smith (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Men In Black”), and the Genie helps him try to win over Princess Jasmine’s heart before Jafar’s master plan comes into light.

Honestly, this movie isn’t horrible. It’s not the most magnificent remake in the world, especially went it’s compared to the source material. “Aladdin” is overall little over two hours and ten minutes or 128 minutes. 1992 “Aladdin” is about an hour and a half, or 90 minutes. That’s about 38 minutes longer than it needs to be. I get that it’s different when it comes to live-action vs. animated. If they could have chopped off 10-15 minutes, then it wouldn’t have dragged toward the end. Most of that is more depth in parts to add to the plot. Some of that does work, but a lot of it doesn’t work. It just feels out of place and drags the movie.

The acting in the movie is excellent. Everyone in the film does an excellent job as portraying the characters. I’m not a big fan of Will Smith as the Genie, but that was always going to be a hard act to follow. I’m also sad that Gilbert Gottfried didn’t reprise his role as Iago, but it works as Iago didn’t have that big of a function like in the animated works. The music in the film is also well done. It’s all the songs from the original movie, plus one new song that honesty is everything. Mena, Naomi, and Marwan are the ones that shine the most in their roles.

Production-wise, this is a beautifully shot and produced film. Some of the directing is a little wonky at times, but you can look past it at how they brought this film to life. Parts of it was produced in Jordan, and those deserts scenes are what really make it feel like “Aladdin.” The CGI is okay but for a Disney film in 2019, it could have and should have been better.

Verdict

“Aladdin” isn’t a bad movie; if you didn’t know it was a remake, it would be a fun Disney movie. As a remake, “Aladdin” doesn’t stack up to what we got with the “Beauty and the Beast” remake. While I appreciate them trying to add to the overall plot and story of “Aladdin,” the changes don’t do anything for the movie. I do recommend checking out the film, because like I said, it’s a good movie on its own merits. But as a remake of a beloved classic, it falls short of being in the same class.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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