Sonic the Hedgehog 2

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Paramount;
Family;
Box Office $190.87 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $35.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for action, some violence, rude humor, and mild language.
Stars Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore, Lee Majdoub, Tom Butler, Melody Nosipho Niemann. Voices of Ben Schwartz, Idris Elba, Colleen O’Shaughnessey.

The first Sonic the Hedgehog movie in 2020 was a relatively low-key affair in terms of adapting the Sega video game. Elements from the games were kept to a minimum, as the film focused mainly on establishing the speedy Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) on Earth by pairing him with a sheriff named Tom (James Marsden), who helped Sonic evade Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).

After the success of that first film, for the sequel the filmmakers have opened up the world a bit, introducing more elements from the game, new characters and a lot of high-speed action. It’s a fun ride, especially for fans of the games and the first film, but it runs a bit long as the filmmakers can’t help but indulge in bringing their favorite moments from the game to life.

Robotnik, last seen at the end of the first film trapped on a mushroom planet, is found by the echidna warrior Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba), who brings him back to Earth in order to track down Sonic. Knuckles believes Sonic is the key to locating a powerful artifact called the Master Emerald, while Robitnik just wants revenge, so they form an alliance. Meanwhile, Tails the flying fox arrives on Earth hoping to help Sonic against Knuckles.

Now that the big three characters from the game are in play, plus Robotnik sporting a look closer to his game appearance with a crazy moustache, the plot doesn’t need to rely on the human side characters as much, and finds an excuse to keep Sonic separated from Tom for most of the movie.

Sonic discovers the map given to him in the first film when he was sent to Earth contains clues to the location of the Master Emerald, setting off an Indiana Jones-type adventure quest as Sonic and Tails hope to find the jewel before Knuckles and Robotnik.

Tom, meanwhile, ventures to Hawaii for his sister-in-law’s wedding, in a storyline that eventually comes back around to tie into the main plot for a spectacular final boss level battle, but it’s a bit of a chore to get through as it feels like a conventional slapstick comedy tacked onto a video game fantasy movie.

Topping things off are some nice messages about teamwork and family.

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The film looks great in 4K and the game characters are rendered well, even if they look like cartoon characters dropped into a live-action world. Carrey’s over-the-top performance is probably the key to tying it all together as he’s basically a living cartoon character anyway.

Knuckles will likely be seen as the breakthrough character here, as Elba does some terrific voice work, and Paramount+ is developing a miniseries about the character for release in 2023. The film also lays some groundwork for a third film, which has been announced for 2024 since the second film did better than the first one at the box office.

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The Blu-ray includes a five-minute short film called “Sonic Drone Home” that is something of a follow-up to the movie, but is fully CG-animated.

Another highlight is the commentary from Schwartz and director Jeff Fowler, which continues the fun conversation the pair were having in the commentary from the first movie, as they discuss how the movie was made and point out more references to the games.

More behind-the-scenes details are revealed in five featurettes that run a total of about 20 minutes.

Also included are 17 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, three minutes of bloopers, a humorous Q&A with Schwartz, and a Kid Cudi music video for the song “Stars in the Sky.”

The Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Blu-rays are not offered as combo packs, and are configured as either a standalone 4K disc or a standalone regular Blu-ray. Each has all the bonus material plus a code for a digital copy.

Creepshow: Season 2

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJ/Shudder;
Horror;
$34.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Kevin Dillon, Ted Raimi, Ali Larter, C. Thomas Howell, Iman Benson, Josh McDermitt, Ashley Laurence, Keith David, Ryan Kwanten, Breckin Meyer, Molly Ringwald, Eric Edelstein, Barbara Crampton, Denise Crosby, Justin Long, D’Arcy Carden, Kiefer Sutherland, Joey King, Anna Camp, Adam Pally. 

The Shudder original series “Creepshow” returns with a second season consisting of five new episodes, an animated special and a holiday special.

The anthology-style episodes offer two stories each, except for the season finale, which consists of one single story — “Night of the Living Late Show,” a tribute to classic horror films in which Justin Long plays a man who invents a VR device that allows him to insert himself into his favorite movies. The hourlong Christmas special also presents a single story.

Other highlights include “The Right Snuff,” in which an unhinged astronaut who dreams of surpassing his father’s legacy jeopardizes a meeting with alien life; and “Model Kid,” another vintage-movie tribute in which a kid uses his love of scary movie monster toys to cope with an abusive uncle.

The show’s quaint production values evoke the feeling of 1950s ‘B’-movies, with retro-style practical effects and cheesy-looking monsters.

The Blu-ray also includes several behind-the-scenes featurettes, a WonderCon@Home interview with producer Greg Nicotero and photo galleries, and comes with a nifty comic-book-style episode guide.

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IMDb Announces First Scripted Series ‘You’re Not a Monster’

Online site IMDb has announced its first-ever scripted show, the animated series “You’re Not a Monster” debuting this fall.

Fans at San Diego Comic-Con this month will get a sneak peek of the 10-episode, short-form series when its trailer premieres on the IMDboat.

The show joins other IMDb original series “The IMDb Show,” “IMDbrief” and “Casting Calls.”

In “You’re Not a Monster,” Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”) voices a former psychiatrist-turned-vampire who mentors his great-great grandson Max (Eric Stonestreet), a therapist who has inherited his practice. In each four- to five-minute episode, Max treats classic monsters, including Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and Medusa, as they seek therapeutic help. Rounding out the voice cast is Aparna Nancherla as a demon receptionist, Ellie Kemper as a therapist who thinks Max is imagining everything, and Peter Grosz, Langston Kerman, Joel Kim Booster, Patton Oswalt, Adam Pally, Amber Ruffin, Amy Sedaris and Milana Vayntrub as monsters.

Show creators and cast members, including Grammer and Nancherla, will participate in an exclusive interview with host Kevin Smith on the IMDboat at Comic-Con July 20.

“Monsters are people, too,” said Grammer, who serves as executive producer of the series, in a statement.

The comedy series is created and written by four-time Emmy-winner Frank Lesser (“The Colbert Report”). Lily Stuart Streiff serves as Animation Director.

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“As a movie fan, I’ve always loved IMDb and am excited to work with them to humanize these inhuman creatures,” said Lesser in a statement. “Plus, I figured this would be the easiest way to get another credit on my IMDb page. ‘You’re Not a Monster’ is a show with a lot of heart. And, yes, sometimes that heart is lying in a pool of blood, but it still looks adorable thanks to Lily’s Streiff’s delightful character design.”

“We are thrilled to offer a new original comedy series to our fans as we shine a light on the daily struggles faced by classic movie monsters,” said Steve Bernstein, GM of IMDb Video, in a statement. “’You’re Not a Monster’ is not only the first-ever animated series for IMDb, but also our first scripted program, and introducing the show on the IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con is the perfect place to share its fun narrative alongside members of the incredible cast.”

“You’re Not a Monster” premieres this fall at www.imdb.com/monster, on the IMDb TV free streaming video channel, and on the IMDb iOS and Android apps.

IMDb, also worldwide source for information on movies, TV shows and celebrities, is an Amazon company.

Fox Bringing ‘Dog Days’ Home in November

The comedy Dog Days will be released through digital retailers Nov. 6 and on DVD Nov. 20 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film follows a group of strangers whose lives intertwine as a result of their dogs. The cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Jon Bass, Nina Dobrev, Adam Pally, Eva Longoria, Rob Corddry, Finn Wolfhard, Ron Cephas Jones and Thomas Lennon.

Dog Days earned $6.8 million at the domestic box office.