The Fugitive

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The Fugitive

A murdered wife. A one-armed man. An obsessed detective. The chase begins.

19932 h 11 min
Overview

Wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to death, Richard Kimble escapes from the law in an attempt to find her killer and clear his name. Pursuing him is a team of U.S. marshals led by Deputy Samuel Gerard, a determined detective who will not rest until Richard is captured. As Kimble leads the marshals through a series of intricate chases, he uncovers the secret behind his wife's death and struggles to expose the killer before he is recaptured, or killed.

Metadata
Director Andrew Davis
Runtime 2 h 11 min
Release Date 6 August 1993
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

The Fugitive stars Harrison Ford playing Dr. Richard Kimble, a man falsely accused of murdering his wife struggling to prove his innocence. Pursuing him is US Marshall Samuel Gerard, played by Tommy Lee Jones. That premise alone makes this film fantastic. What a great pair of actors to put against each other in an action-thriller. The plot, in and of itself, is simple. But the execution is top notch. Both Ford and Jones settle into their roles well in what is a peak performance for both actors.

Even though Kimble and Gerard are against each other, the film does not make Gerard feel like a true antagonist. He has nothing personal against Kimble. He is a US Marshall; chasing after criminals like Kimble is his job. What makes it work is that both characters are smart. It quickly becomes a game of cat-and-mouse with Gerard chasing Kimble, who himself chases his wife’s murderer. And it really works because Kimble has the benefit of a head start and is skilled enough to stay there. Kimble is just slightly more capable than Gerard, which is offset by Gerard’s better resources and experience.

As fantastic as the actors are, the film’s writing and direction is just as powerful. Granted, The Fugitive does have the benefit of being a big budget movie ($44 million). One of the big things here is that the action sequences are not overused. When they happen they are intense, but the movie is not one giant gunfight. There is not even that much fighting; the action more comes from chase sequences. Definitely more “thriller” than “action”. And these scenes are paced well enough that the movie has room for good, significant plot between them.

I was not aware that this film was based on a TV show until after watching it. Several changes were made, such as the events taking place over a few months instead of several years and Gerard’s character being a US Marshall instead of a police lieutenant. Despite the characters having more of a larger than life presence, my understanding is that the film is still pretty faithful to the source material. It ultimately relies on its characters and their interactions to make the film good. Rather than overused action sequences, which many action movies (even good ones) are often guilty of. This all makes The Fugitive a very rewatchable film, even more than 25 years later.

April 26, 2020

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 4

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 4 Book Cover That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 4
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
FUSE
Light Novel
Yen On
December 11, 2018 (English) | May 7, 2015 (Japanese)
Paperback
320

Rimuru is gaining more and more power with his monster country, especially now that he has demon lord and dwarf allies. But then he has a dream about Shizue-a grief-stricken plea to save her former students...

 

The 4th volume of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime covers episodes 20-23 of the anime. Episode 24 dealt with a side story not featured as part of Volume 4’s main plot. This is the point where we start to see some disconnect from the books. The anime skipped over a fair amount of material from Volume 4. Some of these events were watered down in the anime and get summarized quickly. Others are skipped over entirely, removing sub-plots from the story. Overall, about half of Volume 4 was cut from the TV show.

The first part of this book deals with the aftermath following the big battle at the end of Volume 3. As the Jura Tempest Federation continues to grow, Rimuru’s life becomes more political. At the beginning of all this, he was just some guy. Now he is the ruler of a country with thousands looking to him for leadership. A little self-reflection on this fact makes Rimuru realize the full implications of his new position and he starts to make additional arrangements to ensure the Federation will be a lasting thing. At the same time, his own desires and a promise to an old friend also start to influence his choices.

Compared to the first three books, the stakes are not high here. There are stakes, but not on the level of Rimuru and co. being wiped out if they fail. In this book, their lives are more everyday (or as close as possible for them) instead of being thrust into another massive battle. The story here also expands on Shizu’s backstory and what Rimuru’s promise to her ultimately means. Getting extra development for a character whose personal story is already wrapped up is rare, but the way FUSE does it works well.

One annoying thing about Volume 4 is the cliffhanger. The book ends on a high note, but it’s still singing once you reach the last page. But overall, this was a solid volume in the series. Not having any major events happen let FUSE spend more time world-building instead. The cliffhanger does show that Rimuru will be back in the action during the next book. This cliffhanger is another piece of content cut from the anime (though they do foreshadow it). Presumably season 2 will start with it. With a new season of the show confirmed, here’s to hoping the anime continues to adapt these books well.

April 19, 2020

Exile (The Legend of Drizzt #2)

Published Post author

Exile Book Cover Exile
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
Wizards of the Coast
December 1, 1990
Paperback
306

Hostile in ways that a surface-dweller could never know, the tunnel-mazes of the Underdark challenge all who tread there. Among these souls are Drizzt Do’Urden and his magical cat, Guenhwyvar. Exiled from his drow homeland, Drizzt must fight for a new home in the boundless labyrinth. Meanwhile, he must watch for signs of pursuit—for the dark elves are not a forgiving race.

 

Exile begins “shortly” after the end of Homeland (10 years, short for an elf). Drizzt has forsaken his home city of Menzoberranzan and left to survive in the Underdark with only Guenhwyvar by his side. He immediately faces two key issues. One, the Underdark is crazy dangerous. In the Dungeons and Dragons game, most of the monsters there are fairly powerful and have the Evil alignment. Two, a guy can only spend so much time alone before the madness starts to set in. Given that the drow are the poster children for evil, it is nigh-impossible for Drizzt to make friends with the few non-hostile beings he encounters.

But even in the darkest depths, Drizzt is still able to find small glimmers of light. Like the previous book, Exile is primarily about character development. There is still a good vs. evil conflict but it is secondary to Drizzt’s personal story. The only person he ever felt true kinship for was left dead in Menzoberranzan, leaving him feeling truly alone. As someone who has only ever known the wicked drow society, Drizzt begins to wonder if he is the only Good being in all this world. He has sacrificed everything to keep his life and, more importantly, his morality intact.

Exile is filled with more action than Homeland, given how dangerous the Underdark is as Drizzt wanders through. Drizzt finds many more enemies than allies on his journey of self-discovery as he continuously comes out ahead. Which is one of my gripes not only with Exile, but prequels in general. We know Drizzt is going to be ok in the end because the Icewind Dale trilogy (chronologically later) was published first. It takes away from the sense of danger and suspense, but there really is no good way around that. At least, not for Drizzt and Guenhwyvar. The other characters are all fair game for tragedy, which helps significantly.

In a trilogy, the second installment is usually the weak link (with some exceptions). Exile breaks this trend by expanding on what Homeland built instead of being filled with fluff. With Menzoberranzan behind Drizzt, the story can focus more on him now. The politics of the drow city still play a role here, but they are less of a key focus. The plot related to the city is resolved by the end of this book, but it seems unlikely this is the last time Drizzt will ever hear from his fellow drow. In the meantime, the remainder of his origins will conclude in the third and final book highlighting Drizzt’s beginning.

April 12, 2020

Into the Storm (Destroyermen #1)

Published Post author

Into the Storm Book Cover Into the Storm
Destroyermen
Taylor Anderson
Sci-fi
Roc
June 3, 2008
Paperback
416

Pressed into service when World War II breaks out in the Pacific, the USS Walker---a Great-War vintage "four-stacker" destroyer---finds itself in full retreat from pursuit by Japanese battleships. Its captain, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Patrick Reddy, knows that he and his crew are in dire straits. In desperation, he heads Walker into a squall, hoping it will give them cover---and emerges somewhere else.

Familiar landmarks appear, but the water teems with monstrous, vicious fish. And there appear to be dinosaurs grazing on the plains of Bali. Gradually Matt and his crew must accept the fact that they are in an alternate world---and they are not alone. Humans have not evolved, but two other species have. And they are at war.

With its steam power and weaponry, the Walker's very existence could alter the balance of power. And for Matt and his crew, who have the means to turn a primitive war into a genocidal Armageddon, one thing becomes clear: They must decide whose side they're on. Because whoever they choose to side with is the winner.

 

Into the Storm features a group of WWII-era US Navy sailors suddenly stuck in a strange new world. This is a world where mass extinction never wiped out the dinosaurs, drastically changing Earth’s evolutionary history. The premise gives the story the feel of The Land That Time Forgot, which probably inspired Into the Storm somewhat. Only in this story, there is not a clear path back home for the characters. The story starts with a real basis in history and moves onto fantastical elements from there.

One of the great things about Into the Storm is its basis in real history. The USS Walker was a real ship that saw service during WWI. And the Second Battle of the Java Sea is a real battle from WWII. The ships that wind up in Anderson’s new world were not present at the actual battle. The historical USS Walker was decommissioned prior to the war, as was the USS Mahan. Their disappearance likely resulted in Earth’s history remaining unaltered, with a Japanese victory, in this book. The remaining Allied ships were sunk, and their surviving crew members captured.

So, the fictional Walker and Mahan are now in this strange new world. Both ships are outdated and damaged with limited supplies. But they are not alone. Now we get the good guys, the Lemurians, and the bad guys, the Grik. The Lemurians are peaceful lemur-people. The Grik are humanoid but have more in common with a Spielberg velociraptor than anything else in terms of temperament. These two do not get along. And now here comes the USS Walker with military technology far ahead of what either side possesses. The Walker’s crew is in a strange new world that will forever change due to their very presence.

As the first book in a series, Into the Storm does a lot. Characters are introduced, worldbuilding is established, and the plot starts pushing forward. Anderson does a fantastic job juggling all those aspects to make his story feel alive. Is this anything new? No, not really. But it is reminiscent of great works of literature and seems on track to be highly entertaining. Despite the sci-fi premise, it still feels like a Navy story. Maybe not full-blown Master and Commander, but still the Navy. By the end of Into the Storm things are just getting started and I am excited to see where they sail next.

April 5, 2020

Contagion

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Poster for the movie "Contagion"

Contagion

Nothing spreads like fear

20111 h 46 min
Overview

As an epidemic of a lethal airborne virus - that kills within days - rapidly grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself.

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 46 min
Release Date 8 September 2011
Details
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

They say life imitates art and that seems true where Contagion is concerned right now. There are a lot of pandemic/illness movies out there, but Contagion is the most realistic one I have seen. Most other films seem to be zombie movies, post-apocalypse scenarios, or comedies. The next closest film is probably Outbreak, but even that is grossly unrealistic compared to Contagion. Outbreak is a bit more fun as a movie, but far from being mistaken as a documentary. It Comes At Night is also a close second but carries a very different tone. The Andromeda Strain also merits mention, but the overall story there is very unlike a pandemic.

This is not the first film where director Steven Soderbergh used an ensemble cast and this film would not have worked without it. In any story where society as a whole is affected, it is easy to get too focused on one area. Many such stories focus on just one group of survivors or scientists looking for a cure. In Contagion, we get a little bit of everything. The character cast consist of scientists, government officials, and members of the public in different locations worldwide as events unfold.

The spread of the virus itself is incredibly realistic. At first, very few individuals grasp how bad this is going to be. As things get worse, governments on both local and federal levels are more worried about their bureaucracy than the outbreak. You have individuals who are looting for food and medicine, an individual spreading misinformation for his own personal benefit, and people both in and outside of world governments forming “us vs them” mentalities as supplies begin to grow limited. And throughout all that, the film bounces through the entire cast pretty evenly with limited character development so that the pandemic itself remains the key focus.

What is really great about Contagion is the sense of realism. This is not a film that necessarily has a happy ending. The characters do not find a cure and just declare “the day is saved!” and the film ends. Even after working towards a cure, which takes time, they still have to produce and distribute it. They know more people will die in that time, but there is nothing else they can do at that point. Ultimately everything winds up being ok, but the question “for how long?” looms over the audience as the film ends.

March 29, 2020

Redshirts

Published Post author

Redshirts Book Cover Redshirts
John Scalzi
Sci-fi
Tor Books
June 5, 2012
Hardcover
320

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that:
(1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces
(2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations
(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

 

To appreciate the Redshirts book, readers need to be familiar with the Redshirts trope. This is basically the good guy equivalent of Stormtroopers in fiction. The inefficient mooks who act as cannon fodder while the main characters do stuff. Whereas Stormtroopers are jokingly known for missing every shot, Red Shirts are known for dying easily and instantly. Mainly to serve as a warning sign so the protagonists know what to avoid. Anyone who is at least somewhat familiar with Star Trek should be familiar with this concept. And with the hilarious ways Redshirts pays homage to the trope.

If you have never seen Star Trek before reading this book, go watch a few episodes beforehand. Any episodes, it really does not matter which ones. But preferably episodes of the Original Series or Next Generation. Even being familiar with the general hokeyness of 1960s television (compared to modern shows) helps here. This was an era where science fiction was a lot less “science” and a lot more “fiction”. Redshirts essentially takes those crazy concepts and tries to make them more real. Think of any episode of Star Trek and ask, “How would a real, living, breathing person react to these shenanigans?”

This all makes for a very different book than Scalzi’s main claim to fame, Old Man’s War. Both books are sci-fi, but Old Man’s War is an action story while Redshirts is a comedy. My only complaint about this book is that the page count is a bit deceptive. The last 20-25% or so of the book features a few short stories that wrap up unresolved plot points from the main story. It is nice to have that closure, but it means the meat of the book is only a bit over the 200-page mark, not the 300-page mark. Still, the main story did not really need to be any longer, so it all worked out in the end.

Even if you are not a diehard Star Trek fan (which I, myself, am not) this is still a fun book. I enjoyed it a lot, so much so I may actually go take a crack at watching Star Trek sometime. Is this an overall great work of literature? No. Is it great at what it sets out to do? Oh yes, definitely. If you need to fill an afternoon with some laughs, Redshirts is a great way to do it.

March 22, 2020

Homeland (The Legend of Drizzt #1)

Published Post author

Homeland Book Cover Homeland
The Legend of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore
Fantasy
Wizards of the Coast
September 19, 1990
Paperback
343

Drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden, first introduced in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, quickly became one of the fantasy genre's standout characters. But Homeland first reveals the startling tale of how this one lone drow walked out of the shadowy depths of the Underdark, leaving behind a society of evil and a family who want him dead. It is here that the story of this amazing dark elf truly began.

 

A while back a friend got me into Dungeons and Dragons, so I started to read up on the lore. While D&D is a multiverse and there are a couple different key worlds, the main world is called the Forgotten Realms. This is where most of the official adventure books take place and it has a long-established history of heroes, villains, and key events. One of the most well-known of those heroes is the drow (dark elf) Drizzt. Originally introduced in Salvatore’s Icewind Dale trilogy, Drizzt became such a fan favorite that he got his own trilogy later to flesh out his backstory.

What started as a standalone trilogy with Drizzt as a sidekick eventually became The Legend of Drizzt. This series started in 1988 and is still going at the time of this writing, more than 30 years later. But the series is broken up into separate story arcs that are each three or four books long. Even though the Icewind Dale trilogy was published first, it is not required reading for Drizzt’s backstory. A few things make more sense once readers are through both stories but reading through everything chronologically seems easier.

This story takes place in and around the drow city of Menzoberranzan. Drow are dark elves, long ago tricked by the wicked goddess Lolth into worshipping her and only her. Hate and xenophobia are cornerstones of daily drow life in a society where backstabbing and assassination are second nature. So, what happens when there is a drow whose innate sense of right-and-wrong does not fit the culture? When one realizes what they have been taught from birth does not feel right? This very much becomes a story of nature versus nurture for Drizzt. One that covers his life from birth to several decades into budding adulthood (he’s an elf, they live for centuries).

Normally, fantasy stories focus on a great battle of good vs. evil while characterization is secondary. That gets flip-flopped here. While later installments in the series use the typical fantasy formula, this story is about Drizzt. How he became the hardened veteran who first appeared in the Icewind Dale trilogy. This series also expands upon the drow as a whole, which works because they are fan-favorite villains among D&D players. But on the topic of Drizzt, it is always fascinating to see where a great hero starts. This series is aptly named “The Legend of Drizzt” but the first installment in this trilogy starts to show the man before the legend and how the pieces fell into place for one person, alone in his world, to become something greater.

March 15, 2020

Grave Peril (The Dresden Files #3)

Published Post author

Grave Peril Book Cover Grave Peril
The Dresden Files
Jim Butcher
Fantasy
Roc
September 4, 2001
Paperback
378

Harry Dresden - Wizard
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden has faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you're the only professional wizard in the Chicago-area phone book.

But in all Harry's years of supernatural sleuthing, he's never faced anything like this: The spirit world has gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble - and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone - or something - is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself....

 

The spirit world is going crazy with ghosts running amok. So, who ya gonna call? Harry Dresden, Chicago’s greatest and only wizard P.I. The story kicks off a year after the previous book with Harry and his old friend Michael ghost-hunting. Despite being an old friend to Harry, Michael is a new character. So, let’s talk about him. Michael is essentially a modern-day paladin. As in the Lawful Good, sees the world in black-and-white type of person. Which is fairly different from Harry’s own chaotic way of doing things. Michael is all about doing the honorable thing, even if the honorable thing would otherwise be considered a bad move. This gives him varying levels of insufferableness throughout the story.

Then there is Harry himself. While other protagonists like Murphy and Susan are present here, they mostly take a back seat to Harry and Michael this time around. Harry’s main function is to worry about saving his own skin and then have his guilty conscious (and Michael) force him into doing the right thing. Which he continuously manages to pull off despite massive inconsistencies in what Harry can/can’t do.

The last two books established that Harry is a very powerful wizard. Wizards have a limited pool of magic before they need to get some R&R. But Harry can cast as many spells in a day as the average wizard can cast in a week. That is all well and good, in theory. In practice, Harry seems to have no limits. He constantly mentions how he is out of magic or nearly at his limit. And then he manages to use more magic through seemingly nothing but sheer willpower. It was fine the first time it happened, but after a while it feels like reading a shōnen manga.

The other weird thing was how Harry describes women. Which comes off as more a Jim Butcher thing than a Harry thing. Almost every female character who shows up gets a description of her ahem “assets”. It makes sense for Harry to do that for Susan since they are dating, but it happens with a lot more people than Susan. They have been dating for more than a year, so Harry probably is not sex starved. Maybe Jim Butcher was not having much luck with the ladies when this was written, who knows? Anyhow, the Dresden Files seems to lose a little more quality with each subsequent book. Hopefully it can bounce back a bit in the 4th installment.

March 8, 2020

The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 3: The Finest Hour

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The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 3: The Finest Hour Book Cover The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 3: The Finest Hour
The Saga of Tanya the Evil
Carlo Zen
Light Novel
Yen On
July 21, 2018 (English); November 29, 2014 (Japanese)
Paperback
288

Contrary to her dearest wish to find a safe place and stay there, Major Tanya von Degurechaff continues to wade through the fog of war with her troops on land, at sea, and in the air. After many battles with the increasingly numerous enemies of the Empire, a chance for a breakthrough finally appears.

But when her comrades begin celebrating the glories they've reaped, savoring the sweet nectar of imminent triumph, Tanya alone is frozen in fear. Has the Empire decisively won the war, or is this nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory...?

 

The Saga of Tanya the Evil has unique pacing compared to most other light novel anime adaptions. The TV show actually ends during the middle of The Finest Hour, but this book’s events do get wrapped up (and then some) during the follow-up movie. This is also the point where the differences from actual military history become even more apparent. Up until this point, the battles and events taking place have largely reflected WWI. There were some elements of WWII in the last book, but not a ton. Those differences start to become more apparent here, both to the audience and Tanya.

Some history books argue that both World Wars are essentially the same conflict. To quote Marshal Ferdinand Foch, “This [the Treaty of Versailles] is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.” In the Saga of Tanya the Evil, that pause in the fighting does not happen. The reasoning behind that being referenced in this volume’s title, The Finest Hour. Tanya is a student of military history; as these events start to unfold around her, she knows where the path is leading. But to the generals in command, this is all new. Her plights to superior officers are ignored until they realize, too late, that she was right.

Through all that, you have to remember that Tanya is not a patriot. Far from it. She is still looking out for herself. Every decision from trying to end the war to making sure her soldiers are the best is designed to keep herself safe. The brass thinks she is a patriot because of her crazy success rate. The same can be said for the troops under her command. In reality, she is just looking out for #1. All while hiding her true, selfish motives from every single person around her.

Aside from Tanya herself, more plot threads start to come together in The Finest Hour. Existing side characters are further developed while new ones are also introduced to influence future events. And, as always, Carlo Zen shows off his impressive knowledge of military history. Despite his world containing different technologies, most notably the mages, he continues to utilize combat tactics used during both World Wars in this series. The same can be said for the political aspects of the series, as the constant ongoing war causes the gears of the Empire’s military machine to start grinding. While Tanya’s new world has not entered a World War just yet, it continues to creep closer to that edge.

March 1, 2020

Sonic the Hedgehog

Published Post author

Poster for the movie "Sonic the Hedgehog"

Sonic the Hedgehog

A Whole New Speed of Hero

20201 h 39 min
Overview

Based on the global blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega, Sonic the Hedgehog tells the story of the world’s speediest hedgehog as he embraces his new home on Earth. In this live-action adventure comedy, Sonic and his new best friend team up to defend the planet from the evil genius Dr. Robotnik and his plans for world domination.

Metadata
Director Jeff Fowler
Runtime 1 h 39 min
Release Date 12 February 2020
Details
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

Video game movies are a fickle thing, particularly live action adaptations. For a very long time, they were bad. Like, really, really bad. But in more recent years, we have seen some transition from “entertaining because it’s a dumpster fire” to “objectively a good film”. And that is where Sonic the Hedgehog falls: a good film. Not a great film, but something fun for the family that can be used to entertain yourselves for the evening. A looser adaptation like this film or Detective Pikachu seems to be the right formula for a video game movie to turn out right.

First, let’s look at plot. This is where most video game movies fall flat. Because it turns out that squeezing an 8+ hour game into a 90-minute film is hard. But Sonic the Hedgehog does not really have a plot. The later games do, but the old-school original games were just Sonic running around smashing robots. The film makers were able to put enough game references in here to make it still feel like Sonic while simultaneously changing things to better fit a film vs. video game format without making things suck.

Next are the characters, starting with Sonic himself. The portrayal here is very true to the video game version of his character. He is young and fun-loving, viewing a lot of the danger around them like a game. But when he needs to get serious, he can. This is helped by his being voiced by Ben Schwartz, who I at least know as the goofy Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Rec.

And then there is the other big star, Jim Carrey. It had been a long, long time since I had seen him in anything. Probably not since the A Series of Unfortunate Events movie. And he is just as goofy here as he was as Count Olaf. He is much sillier than Dr. Robotnik is usually portrayed, but it works because it’s Jim Carrey. While funny and entertaining, he is also unhinged and just mean enough to be a real villain and come off as a threat to Sonic and his friends.

Lastly, we have James Marsden playing the token human friend that any movie with a CGI animal protagonist uses. He has come a long way since X-men, namely in that he actually feels like the main character he is supposed to be in this movie. He winds up in a kind of fatherly/big brother role to Sonic and more than once thwarts Eggman’s plans. This is one of the few instances where the added-in-for-the-film-adaption human character feels natural instead of forced.

Overall, this is a fun film for classic Sonic fans and kids new to the franchise. There are a lot of references to the series throughout the film (hint: the town’s name) while it remains a lighthearted story ultimately aimed at children. Probably not going to win any awards, but a fun movie for anyone who enjoys family-friendly films.

February 23, 2020