“You didn’t choose then. When it chooses you.”
In 2013, the Catholic Church was shaken: Pope Benedict XVI retired from his position. Can you do that? It’s been almost 600 years since the last resignation… which, if you do the math, is a very long time!
In the weeks leading up to his departure, Benedict had petitioned his desired successor, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. To Benedict, this man was born for this role … except for a small detail that Bergoglio was not at all interested in. Like… at all.
Bergoglio, by then, had lived quite a life: from doorman to janitor to chemist to priest. From dedicated waiters to considered handicapped. From getting engaged and falling in love to being ordained and in seminary. From dogmatic shepherd to progressive advocate. From local religion to national position. With all that behind him, Bergoglio isn’t completely (or holy) sure of his future. In fact, instead of happily and confidently accepting Benedict’s wish to be the new Pope on deck (which sounds like a comedy about meddling with a Whale who accidentally turns into a pirate), Bergoglio HIMSELF wants to retire!
In the years following 2013, Bergoglio has struggled to hear God’s voice. He had struggled to see the power of the papacy. Tradition, blind eyes, ritual — Bergoglio only sees the door closed when what the world yearns for is an invitation. In his view, acceptance is the only way to reach wounds and promote healing… and the Catholic Church is not famous for their tolerance of *coughs of the Cross*. He looked like a fish out of holy water.
How can a Pope change 2,000 years of insensitive ceremony and inflexible expectations?
Despite tradition and trusted counsel, Benedict stepped down from his role as Pope. The cardinals gathered, doors were locked, and voting began. On the fifth ballot, the white smoke signaling the new Pope has been named! Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio… well… that’s too hard to remember. How about Francis? Yes, that Pope Francis!
What made him change his mind about the future and its impact? The film The Two Popes (on Netflix…and fantastic) proposes a simple line conveyed by a fellow Cardinal: “The most important qualification for any leader is not wanting to be a leader.” The biggest reason Bergoglio had to accept this position (the supreme papal power) was because he didn’t want it… he didn’t deserve it… he didn’t dream of it. He didn’t spend his life chasing her. He, in the service of God and people, was given this opportunity, and, at the exact moment when he was most needed, he accepted the call.
Maybe being a leader, being a hero, isn’t about top position or accumulating praise. Stay sharp and wait for the call.
Sonic saves Green Hills, saves Tom and his friends, and throws Dr. Evil Robotnik to the other end of the galaxy. Roll up credit.
Except nothing is that simple. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) refuses to remain outcast. You know the old saying: when life gives you a planet full of mushrooms… you make an intergalactic signaling device. When the call is made, help arrives in the form of a talking echidna named Knuckles (Idris Elba). Knuckles wanted Sonic, and Robotnik knew exactly where to find him.
Meanwhile on Earth, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) yearns for more adventure. Sure, Green Hills has never been safer… but what about other cities? Another helpless human? Sonic is out to make a BIG difference in this HUGE world… except it’s not as easy as it looks on TV. It turns out, “help” as dangerous as the real danger is sometimes.
I know this sounds like an odd coincidence, but, as soon as Tom (James Marsden) leaves town for a wedding and Sonic is left alone, the universe is threatened with extinction. Good luck explaining that, Sonic! Sonic fans of Galaxy Tails entered the picture with bad news: Robotnik is coming, Knuckles is furious, and some mystical emerald that sits on earth may be the key to ultimate chaos or eternal peace.
Now THIS looks like a call—a defining moment destined to be defined. Better hurry!
My oldest son is now 10 years old. He’s been through many defining moments, moments that will forever change the trajectory of his life… but 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog is at its peak. Went to that movie, he was like, “Sonic the what-hog?” But, in the 781 days since its release, my son has never been the same again. The film unleashed a love I had never seen in him. It becomes what he talks about, what he reads, what he draws, shapes himself. My son is now the number one fan of Sonic (official name changed to “Judah the Moore-pig” delayed).
Opening night, you better believe we were there!
I entered in fright; Rarely is a sequel guaranteed to exist… but I was pleasantly surprised! It doesn’t break any conventions, but it builds well on its predecessors and reinforces its established strengths. Director Jeff Fowler has now created a world rich with life and possibility.
Like the first, the star is Jim Carrey—his comedic neglect is simply amazing. I have always been amazed by his creativity and courage. This new film gives him a deeper and darker feel to his character.
Other standouts are the proven James Marsden; even though his character was reduced a bit to allow for new characters, he still shines. Adam Pally as Wade is a gift! He took every opportunity given to him and gave maximum laughs every time. Natasha Rothwell as Rachel is much funnier this time around. However, Ben Schwartz is a little less funny — his Sonic feels a bit more dodgy this time around. Idris Elba is a delightful addition; its flat comedy elevates many moments.
Although some scenes work, most are energetic and fresh. Although some jokes were reduced, most caused genuine waves.
And, friends, you should have seen the joy radiating from my son! We are talking about toxic levels of radioactivity! Really shaking in his chair!
REPORT CARD: “Sonic the Hedgehog 2.”
Comments: Sequel with laughter and power