Genre: Action, Adventure, Family
Release Date: 14 February 2020
Director: Jeff Fowler
Writers: Patrick Casey, Josh Miller
Stars: Ben Schwartz, Tika Sumpter, James Marsden
Sonic's first live-action film has taken an interesting journey in the past few months leading up to its theatrical debut. After a readjustment of expectations with the new design of the digital protagonist and a series of crazy interviews by Jim Carrey, who plays the villain Robotnik / Eggman, it no longer mattered if the film would continue to break the curse of game adaptations in the face of immense curiosity aroused .
Now that Sonic: The Movie hits the big screen, it can be said that the result is much more digestible than expected from a game movie or the wrong materials revealed to the public over the past year. In a way, the opening of viewers to films with more unusual heroes - Rocket and Groot from The Guardians of the Galaxy - or projects that bet on the visual strangeness of game concepts - Jumanji, Detective Pikachu - prepared their palates for this film.
The result arrives exactly according to the order, slightly beyond the expectations of this type of film and within the parameters created by the most recent game adaptations, however it does not do much more than that. Just like the last cinematic foray of Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander, aimed at "not bad" and hit its target successfully, the blue hedgehog film accommodates itself within a formulaic mold of the fugitive alien film, without taking great risks , but doing it well.
His simple plot does enough to recreate familiar symbols for game fans and present the two most prominent figures in the franchise: Sonic (Ben Schwartz in the original and Manolo Rey in our language), the fugitive hero with a radiant attitude, and Eggman (Carrey ), the chasing villain armed with deadly machines. Their presence is justified in the world of margarine commercials where the rest of the humans live, including the kind policeman Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), without being too out of line for nonsense and breaches in logic.
Still, the script by Patrick Casey and Josh Miller proves to be the most disappointing aspect for barely enjoying the rest of the universe established in the games, focusing more on the simple relationship of prey and hunter that sets up between Sonic and Eggman than bringing up their contexts. This constitutes a hit by covering the appeal of the production to children who do not know the games, but for the players and fans, the project ends up sounding too shy in the way it incorporates the elements of the source material, reserving the most direct connections with the games for the introduction and the epilogue.
If the plot conceived here does not mark or instigate adaptation, at least simplicity serves a very agile rhythm and, again, an easy digestion. Even risking falling into visual excesses and delivering visually noisy action sequences, Oscar-nominated director Jeff Fowler conceives Sonic's skills on screen with prowess and a clear geography for the pursuits, as well as finding a productive middle ground for digital effects - neither cartoonish nor simple-minded to create a match with live-action images.
It is a pity that Fowler has space to orchestrate only a limited number of these frantic situations, since they all have such care and fluidity in their execution. However, the filmmaker compensates for the intervals between the great action scenes with a confident handling of the dialogues between Sonic and Tom and visual humor, as in the bar fight and the sequence of gags in the house of the policeman's sister-in-law, moments that vary from more effects. sophisticated slow motion to simple assembly ideas.
By the way, the cast is still committed to the tone of the work, similar to that of a Hanna-Barbera animation. Evoking a bit of the work of Roger Craig Smith, Sonic's most famous voice actor in the Games, while also presenting something of his own, Schwartz perfectly captures the hedgehog's youthful essence. Marsden, for his part, is surprisingly charming, while Tika Sumpter and Adam Pally have good moments of comic delivery in the way they react to the absurdities that occur.
Jim Carrey, on the other hand, is more like an elevated version of himself than Eggman, who is undeveloped beyond the role of Coyote for Sonic's Road Runner. Leaving this aside, however, Carrey delivers exactly what is expected of him at this advanced point in his career, making his weirdness a spice for most of his conventional scenes. We've seen villains like this many times before, but we've seen few in this specific key the actor turns on - his evil dance to the sound of Where Evil Grows is one of the highlights.
At this point in the adaptations of games to the big screen, one can feel that mere competence is enough when the result does not reach the abysmal levels to which one is accustomed, and in that Sonic: The Film may end up being celebrated as one of the best films of games made so far. But despite the effective direction and harmonized cast with the tone of the material, one feels that something was missing to consider it a handful success, with an outcome that is quickly satisfied with hooks and promises for a possible second film.
While the debate about its positioning within the pantheon of game films should last for a few months, one thing is certain: the long blue hedgehog is like a safe and reasonably fast-paced game, without risking many tricks but also without losing many of its rings in the process.
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