The Long Awaited Sonic Review


William and Mali show their excitement in front of the Sonic Movie poster.

William Kraft and Mali Downing

Video games are a medium loved by all, whether you’re a kid coming home from a day at school or an adult trying to unwind after a long day at work. However, video games have received quite the horrific reputation in the film industry. Films like Super Mario Bros. (1993) and Doom (2005) didn’t do well in the box office, nor with the critics. On occasion, they performed decently at the box office, but didn’t sit well with the fans of the franchise since the films tended to be more about an original concept rather than the franchise they represent. This movie is similar to the game only in some respects, however, it still is very entertaining to watch despite it not following some aspects in the original games.


The Sonic the Hedgehog movie focuses on Sonic the Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz) living in a small town called Green Hills. He invests himself in the life of Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), yet never talks to him, instead watching from a distance as an outsider of society. One day whilst playing a baseball game by himself, he accidentally causes a power outage in Green Hills, as well as most of the country. This inadvertently causes the government to send Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), an eccentric mad scientist, to search for the responsible party. This leads Sonic to work with Wachowski and sends them on an adventure to find Sonic’s rings, his transportation between worlds so Sonic can escape capture by Robotnik.


One of the things that made this movie great was how it didn’t take itself too seriously. The movie poked a lot of jokes at the franchise, as well as including some jokes and past memes created by the fanbase. One particular scene from the film depicted the meme “Sanic” which was a meme created back in 2010 in the “HOW TO DRAW SANIC HEGEHOG” by YouTuber Onyxhearts. The dialogue was very humorous as well. It was obvious that a few characters were simply put in to provide comic relief, however, the dialogue they offered didn’t subtract from the film, and instead improved upon it.


The animation of the movie is also very well done. Usually video game characters in movies, especially live action ones, tend to be a bit off with their designs. At first, Sonic was no exception: look no further than the original design in the film’s first trailer. Many people were completely revolted by it, and bullied the animation studio to change it–and the studio actually listened! Two words, great decision. The studio made the character look cartoon-ish instead of the weird, blue haired, humanoid biped who was most definitely a rejected design from the Cats movie. The revamped Sonic design really helped make the movie a good film instead of a dumpster fire that Paramount threw together carelessly.


The casting of this movie was another beneficial aspect to the film. The director made an extremely bold choice in casting Jim Carrey to play Dr. Robotnik. Carrey seemed like a very odd choice at first, but after watching the movie, it was clear that he was capable of portraying the version of Robotnik that SEGA had in mind. He definitely brought a lot of charm and humor for the movie that made it extremely entertaining to watch. They also had a good choice in casting James Marsden in this film as Tom Wachowski, as he has also played in Hop (2011) where he essentially played the same character in the same genre of “live-action animated” film.


But the movie wasn’t all positives. The movie included a multitude of strange plot devices including the choice to show a “baby Sonic” and give him a backstory involving a strange owl mother figure that had never been previously mentioned in the Sonic Universe. It was a confusing choice to say the least, and she only gets about one total minute of screen time in the whole movie before killing her off and expecting the audience to feel some semblance of remorse. I really didn’t like how she was added as just a plot device–it was incredibly forced and obvious to the viewer that she was only there to progress the story. Additionally, the amount of inconsistencies in the movie were in great abundance. Characters would suddenly know things that had never been mentioned, in order to keep the plot going. For example, even though Robotnik led with being an electrician, Wachowski somehow knew later in the movie that he was “a weird government official.” Motivations were poorly constructed, and characterization for certain characters was weak.

But all in all, Sonic the Hedgehog was definitely a decent film. The characters interacted nicely with one another, and the movie definitely gave it’s audience some good laughs during the run of the movie. It’s a rare instance when a movie based on a game sits well with gamers, so let’s just hope that they don’t tank it in the inevitable sequel.