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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO COURTESY PARAMOUNT PICTURESSonic the Hedgehog in “Sonic the Hedgehog.” CONTRIBUTED PHOTO COURTESY PARAMOUNT PICTURESSonic the Hedgehog in “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

Movie Review: ‘Sonic’ very animated

Monday, March 9, 2020 by PAUL WILLISTEIN pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

“Sonic the Hedgehog” has the elements of an entertaining animation feature film: cute lead character, good guy who befriends him, and evil genius who they oppose.

The movie, and especially its title character, Sonic, as in supersonic, moves so fast that the plot goes by in a blur.

That’s OK. There’s not much of a plot to see.

Fortunately, Sonic, the title character; the good guy, and the evil genius are entertaining enough.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” is based on the Sega videogame, first released in 1991. The Sonic videogame has been incredibly successful, grossing more than $5 billion by 2014.

Sonic The Hedgehog is so popular that fans objected to the original depiction of the character in the feature animated movie preview and Sonic the character was retooled.

The revamping worked. The Sonic character is “Sonic the Hedgehog” is endearing, wisecracking and fun.

The movie plot has to do with Sonic trying to find his lost rings. The rings are large gold circles that create portals through which Sonic can time-travel.

Ben Schwartz voices Sonic The Hedgehog. His voice is effective.

What’s even more effective is the depiction of Sonic the Hedgehog. He’s not unlike the classic Warner Bros. cartoon character, Bugs Bunny, in his stance, rapid-fire dialogue and speed of movement, although in this, his speed, he’s more comparable to that other classic of the full-cell, hand-drawn animation era, the Road-Runner.

With advances in Computer Generated Animation, Sonic seems to actually move at supersonic speed. The movie, “Sonic the Hedgehog,” is an arpeggio of animation. Sonic moves so fast, he’s often a blur, appropriate since one of the movie’s production companies is Blur Studio.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” has several impressive animation sequences.

One is a chase along an interstate highway where Dr. Robotnik’s super semi-tractor trailer mobile lab release drones that attack the Toyota Tundra pickup truck driven by Sheriff Wachowski (James Marsden) with Sonic as passenger.

Another is atop the Transamerica Pyramid building in San Francisco. In this scene, and in some others, Sonic can stop time and moves around the other characters, who are frozen in place.

The animation effects in these scenes and several other scenes are amazing.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” combines live action and animation seamlessly. Sonic, a fully-animated CGI character, appears side by side with the human characters in the film. It’s all very believable.

As the good guy, James Marsden, is fine as Tom Wachowski, a Green Hills, Mont., sheriff, who befriends Sonic. Marsden is amiable and effective. Tika Sumpter plays Maddie, Sheriff Wachowski’s wife.

As the evil genius, Jim Carrey is great as Dr. Robotnik. With black pompadour hair, Snidely Whiplash inspired hipster mustache with twirled ends, Carrey invokes his trademark rubber-like facial gestures. Carrey also gets to cut loose with his limber legs and arms akimbo in dance-like antics.

In supporting roles are Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally and Neal McDonough.

The movie is directed by Jeff Fowler (his feature movie directorial debut: director, Oscar-nominated animation short, “Gopher Broke,” 2005) based on a screenplay by Pat Casey and Josh Miller (co-directors, TV movie, “Team Hot Wheels: The Skills to Thrill,” 2015) based on characters by created by Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima and Hirokazu Yasuhara.

The film should be enjoyed by elementary school age children and pre-teens.

At the conclusion of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” Dr. Robotnik ends up on the Mushroom Hill Zone Planet Green Hills, and the Sega game character, Miles “Tails” Prower, a fox and Sonic’s friend, is introduced, hinting at a sequel to “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

“Sonic the Hedgehog,” MPAA Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give “parental guidance.” May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.) for action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language. Genre: Animation, Action, Comedy. Run time: 1 hr., 39 min. Distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: “Sonic the Hedgehog” closing credits begin with a montage of the film’s scenes in video-game style.

Box Office, Feb. 28-March 1: “The Invisible Man,” starring Elisabeth Moss, appeared at No. 1, with $29 million, opening, ending the two-week-straight No. 1 run of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” dropping one place to No. 2 with $16 million, $128.2 million, three weeks, as “The Call of the Wild” dropped one place to No. 3, with $13 million, $45.8 million, two weeks, and “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising” opened at No. 4, with $5.1 million, weekend; $8.4 million, since opening Feb. 26.

5. “Bad Boys For Life” dropped one place, $4.3 million, $197.3 million, seven weeks. 6. “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” dropped three places, $4.1 million, $78.7 million, four weeks. 7. “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” moved up four places, $3.5 million, $6.6 million, two weeks. 8. “1917” (10 Oscar nominations; three Oscars received) dropped one place, $2.6 million, $155.8 million, 10 weeks. 9. “Brahms: The Boy II” dropped four places, $2.6 million, $9.7 million, two weeks. 10. “Fantasy Island” dropped four places, $2.3 million, $24 million, three weeks.

Weekend box office results are based on reporting as of March 1 by the Internet Movie Database and Box Office Mojo websites.

Unreel, March 6

“Onward,” PG; Dan Scanlon directs the animation film and the voice talents of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and John Ratzenberger in the Fantasy Comedy. Two teenage elf brothers try to connect with their long lost dad.

“The Way Back,” R: Gavin O’Connor directs Ben Affleck, Janina Gavankar, Michaela Watkins and Da’Vinchi in the Sports Drama. A former high school basketball star tries to rebound from alcoholism to coach his alma mater team.

“First Cow,” PG-13: Kelly Reichardt directs John Magaro, Orion Lee, Rene Auberjonois and Toby Jones in the drama. The story is about a cook, fur trappers and a Chinese immigrant in frontier Oregon.

“The Burnt Orange Heresy,” R: Giuseppe Capotondi directs Elizabeth Debicki, Claes Bang, Donald Sutherland and Mick Jagger (Yes, that Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones rock band) in the Crime Thriller. An art dealer gets involved in a plot to steal a rare painting.

“Sometimes Always Never,” PG-13: Carl Hunter directs Bill Nighy, Sam Riley, Alice Lowe and Jenny Agutter in the Comedy Drama. A love of words helps a father reconnect with his absent son.

“The Booksellers,” No MPAA rating. D.W. Young directs the documentary about the New York City rare-book collectors world. Parker Posey, Fran Lebowitz, Gay Talese and Susan Benne are interviewed.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes