“Sonic the Hedgehog” is a movie based off of the beloved SEGA video game franchise of the same name. The last true non spin-off game, “Sonic Heroes,” came out in 2017, yet the series debuted for the Atari game system in 1991.
Throughout Sonic’s history, the blue hedgehog has become a staple in pop culture. Sonic has been known to make frequent appearances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, sponsorings of Formula One racing events, and consistent appearances in Nintendo games alongside Nintendo’s poster boy, Mario. Sonic also was used in projects like “Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games,” “Team Sonic Racing” and even as a playable character in the “Super Smash Bros” franchise.
Growing up in a family passionate about all types of video games, the desire to watch a new take on a character that I grew up with seemed like a no-brainer.
I realized, some time in the middle of the 100 minute film, that my enjoyment came not so much from the movie but from the people around me. Once I remove myself from the fact that it’s a childish plot, it became easier to put aside personal expectations for the film, which is necessary because the movie doesn’t provide a cohesive, logical storyline. Indeed, the show I attended was filled with kids, each clad in their Sonic sweatshirts and masks.
“Once I remove myself from the fact that it’s a childish plot, it became easier to put aside personal expectations for the film, which is necessary because the movie doesn’t provide a cohesive, logical storyline. Indeed, the show I attended was filled with kids, each clad in their Sonic sweatshirts and masks.”
While there were definite negatives that I will explain later on, the theater was consistently full of laughter. Director Jeff Fowler, debuting his first feature film, created, intentionally or not, a way of balancing what die-hard fans wanted, like references to classic Sonic levels, yet also catered to the casual moviegoer with cute, cheesy comedy. I liked the film; I didn’t regret spending my money to go see it.
Still, I couldn’t take it seriously. Even in the climax of the film, I couldn’t help but laugh. It didn’t suffer from a lack of emotion: the film worked really hard to make the audience empathize with the characters; it happened purely because even at its most intense moments I still was watching Ben Schwartz voicing a blue hedgehog arguing with Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey, The Truman Show). The idea that I was supposed to feel bad for Sonic seemed far fetched because he had the same emotions as any 10-year-old boy, whiny and selfish. That may have been the goal, as Sonic has always been portrayed as a pre-teen, but they made his personality so present that it became overbearing.
With the buildup toward its airing, the film was extremely self-aware, as animators, mid-production, completely revamped Sonic’s look after outcries from the fans. Additionally, throughout the film, there were nods to pop culture memes. Still, the drastic switch from lighthearted comedy to the theme of finding true friendship and sacrifice was shallow and not well received. The film would have fared better if they had chosen focus on comedy: the sole purpose viewers came. It was never the audiences’ intention to be dragged in different emotional directions; we just want a good laugh.
“Because of its failed attempts to hold a meaningful plot or accomplish production goals, this movie is unable to be fluid throughout.”
Because of its failed attempts to hold a meaningful plot or accomplish production goals, this movie is unable to be fluid throughout. Every laugh seemingly balanced by a negative counterpart, such as certain unsuccessful jokes which were really just advertisements. I wish I was exaggerating, but there was a point in the movie where they go so far as reciting the price of the “Endless Pasta-Bowl” at Olive Garden. These blatant commercials ruined the moment, making the movie seem like a sell-out. Another flaw paired with beautiful animations was a random assortment of abrupt and unoriginal songs. Finally, with its heart and kid-friendly charm, comes some out of place Sonic lore that seems to be purely fan service instead of continuing the story.
In the end, to enjoy this movie, viewers must expect this film to be a filler in a docket of recent video-game-based movies. I did genuinely enjoy my time watching, but it wasn’t for its triumphs, but for what it lacked, which I found myself able to laugh at or with.
What were your thoughts on the movie? Let us know on the comments below.