Thursday, February 20, 2020

Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)







Man, this sure had a long leadup, am I right? Like Ghostbusters 2016, most of the buzz about the movie didn't really have all that much to do with the movie and occurred way before it premiered. But that's all "hype." It's all "marketing." So what's the deal with this thing? Did a more photogenic Sonic save it?

Eh. It was okay.

It really disappoints me to say that, but I can't claim I didn't see it coming. The studio did what lazy studios do when trying to reintroduce a franchise character to an audience they underestimate: They done plopped Sonic in the real world, with very little connecting to anything a Sonic fan would remember. Sure, there's rings, robots, he says, "Gotta go fast!" once, but they didn't bother trying to adapt anything.

Say what you will about the more current releases, but Sonic stories weren't always hamfisted trash. The first two games communicated themes of nature vs. technology very well just through level progression. Sonic 3 & Knuckles had a pretty good story, with Robotnik remaking the Death Egg on the fallen Angel Island, Knuckles thinking Sonic was part of it, and eventually Robotnik steals the Master Emerald and Sonic has to go Super to stop him. Now it's certainly no Final Fantasy 7, but with textless cutscenes they did a good job,

So what I'm saying is, this movie subtracted more than it added. Sonic's world, sometimes known as Mobius, gets a single scene early in the film before he's fled to Earth and the rest of our film takes place. But not before an opening so cliche, I think in the last 10 years there's been more parodies than straight uses: In the middle of the end-movie action scene, the screen pauses and Sonic narrates to the audience, "So, I bet you're wondering how we got here." I'm shocked the filmmakers had the restraint to not use a record scratch. He also has an Owl Mom for some reason, and echidnas are trying to capture him. But that don't get resolved. This is really just an origin story for Robotnik, and even then we're only catching the tail-end of it. He's already a pretty evil machinist in the beginning, it's just by the end he has a wacky mustache and hates Sonic.

Jim Carrey was pretty good, as I'm sure most people thought he would be. He doesn't quite bring the Grinch-level energy I've come to hope for, but it's certainly not bad. James Marsden was Mr. Bland the Human Actor, really not much to say there. Sonic. Sonic Sonic Sonic. I mean, he was more tolerable than he was in Lost World. Ben Schwartz did fine, I thought it would be really distracting, but by the end I felt the voice fit just fine. Sonic as a character is like a hyperactive kid, which I guess is fitting enough. He doesn't so much learn a lesson as get everything he wanted, but I wasn't really expected some hard-hitting emotional truth from this.

It's funny that nothing but the video games ever has any consistent idea of what rings are for. In the one cartoon called SatAM, they gave him some kinda power boost, they never show up at all in the whimsical cartoon or the OVA, and in this movie they make portals. It's not something really important, just a little thing I wanted to mention.

But yeah, there was nothing especially terrible about Sonic (LIKE THERE COULD HAVE BEEN) but nothing make it stand out. They took all the safe routes, which means it couldn't have attained any real highs or lows. I wonder what we could've gotten if they'd taken a chance on a full CGI movie in the Sonic universe. I guess we'll never know. Maybe if there's a sequel it could expand on that, but honestly I don't think we'll be going anywhere fantastical.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Sonic The Hedgehog Redesigned Trailer

This is weird. It's an unprecedented oddity that a company previewed a product, everyone hated what they saw, and not only did the company decide to redo the thing that everybody hates, but they pushed back the release date to make it more fair for the artists involved and as the final kicker, it actually looks like an improvement over the original product.

Has that happened before? It's sort of been a thing with video games, but that's after a product has already released and they patch it for people who have bought it. But this is a movie! It's at most a solid 2 hours of images on a screen that nobody's actually seen yet.

Let's be honest, usually the internet adding input to any creative endeavor is a recipe for disaster. Remember Boaty McBoatface? Remember that 4chan exists? So, to put it lightly, I'm flabbergasted.

I mean, hell. He looks like Sonic now. Like, actually Sonic. They got the guy who made the best Sonic cartoon ever made to do it.

I didn't see that coming. Especially after Monster Sonic. Can we talk about Monster Sonic for a minute?

As you're all doubtless aware of, I have to watch bad movies. There's something insidious in my brain that makes me do it. I was fucking on board to watch this blue abomination traipse across the screen while sounding like Rutabaga Rabitowitz. Hell, I turned up to watch Sherlock Gnomes on opening day, this would be nothing.

So now I'm a bit torn. Actors have said there weren't any reshoots involved, meaning the only thing that has changed is the design of Sonic himself. All the writing, all the voice acting and human actors are remaining the same. So really, my opinion shouldn't change that much from the initial trailer. I'm not expecting Spider-Verse over here. They altered the feel of the trailer somewhat from the first draft, and I'm not completely on board. Gangster's Paradise was an unexpected choice, to say the least, but it was distinct. This time they used Blitzkrieg Bop. The most overused track in existence. Oh wait! They added more high-hat at the end and slapped in some video game noises! Totally different now.

Let's be honest with ourselves. Any Sonic fan that still exists is used to a lot of shit. Name a Sonic game (apart from Mania) that's overall actually good in the last ten years. Okay, nix Generations as well. There ain't much there. So if the movie's pretty bad (which I am still expecting) then it's pretty par for the course for Sonic. I expect to enjoy Jim Carrey as I always do, but like, the rest of it doesn't seem like it's gonna have a high grade of quality here. It looks like a movie from the 90's, like Masters of the Universe. The old trope where a popular character's movie has them leave their own world and enter THE REAL WOOOORLD. It's been played out over a decade ago, but then again everything good about Sonic was left in that era. Regardless of how it turns out, I'm still going to see it because it releases on Valentine's Day and I need something to distract me from the monstrous gaping void of loneliness that threatens to engulf my very essence.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Books From The Bin: Trilby

There's a popular trend nowadays at certain businesses and libraries to have on their premises a book exchange box. There are varying names for this sort of thing, but it boils down to somewhere you can leave old books and anyone who's interested can pick them up. There happens to be some at my local library and my former place of work, so I looked through them pretty often. Usually they end up filled with romance, mystery, or military books, but once in a while I would find something interesting. Typically I'd go for something sci-fi or horror, but sometimes I would just find a book with a detail that piqued my interest. Something like this:

Books From The Bin: Trilby

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Pizza Hut's Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza

I furtively dialed a number with shaky hands. Glancing from side to side, making sure nobody was watching, I resolutely hit the call button.

"Thank you for calling Pizza Hut, how can I help you?" said the disembodied voice. An unwilling accomplice to my heinous premeditation.

"Hi, could I order the, uh, the Cheezit pizza"

"You want the Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza?" they asked, blasé in the face of the uncanny.

"Yes, yes goddamn it."

Taken aback by my curtness, they began the next statement with an extra gentle tenor.

"Would you like that with pepperoni?"

I sighed, and a single tear ran down my cheek.

"Just fuck me up."

What is rock bottom? Is it a place? A feeling? Can it be a food?

Is it this food?

Is this food?

After a certain point in life, you assume you know how the world functions. Most of things you deal with day-to-day make sense. But then you start working a night shift and the most deranged minds on the planet gain employment at a pizza company R&D department. Day is night, dinner is breakfast, and everything you came to trust comes crashing down beneath you. As hard as I try, I cannot wrap my head around how this was meant to be a pizza. They couldn't even be bothered to use the one culinary term that gives one carte blanche to do as they wish, "deconstructed."

This idea, and I'm ashamed to admit it, wasn't doomed from the start. Burger King has had, on a few occasions, the illustrious Mac n' Cheetos, another snack melded with comfort food into a brobdingnagian chimera. But it worked. It was essentially just deep friend mac & cheese, a state fair staple, but breaded with Cheeto dust. I've always scrambled to get it before it discontinued again, but little did I know it seeded a virulent idea in some disturbed individual.

There's one thing, and one thing only, I am willing to give Pizza Hut credit for.

It sure looks like a Cheez-it.

When one cooks, it's important to have varying tastes and textures put together that mesh well with one another. You have the crust on a cheesecake, pasta in soups. What you do not do, is take a cheese-flavored cracker, turn it into a crust, and fill it with substandard pizza cheese. But unfortunately for all of us, that is what transpired.

In the interest of pure inquiry, I first took a bite without availing myself of the proffered marinara. I soon saw my mistake. For one instant there's the alluring taste of a beloved Cheez-it, but then it's gone, like a kiss on the wind.

Then there's nothing. It's an undifferentiated mass of grease and something I could, only after rigorous investigation and soul searching, describe as cheese. They could have put anything in there! The supposed lifesaver of this dish is the marinara, a condiment I am quickly associating with culinary failure. With merely a dip, you transform the bland tasteless chunk into a chunk that tastes like marinara. That's it.

The astonishing thing is, if you let it sit for a few hours, intentionally neglect what was once a hot meal prepared for your enjoyment, it almost, not quite, but almost, resembles its namesake. It comes so close to having a crunch. It comes so close to really existing as food.

Why did things have to turn out like this? Just because something seems like a good idea to the guys in marketing doesn't mean you have to put it in production and actually sell it to innocent people. We have to learn from this, as a society. There must be a better way!

There you go I did it.