Long Review: Sonic the Hedgehog Movie

When another gaming movie was scheduled to be released Valentine’s Day, the gaming community was certainly concerned if it was going to be yet another flop for the genre. Instead, Sonic the Hedgehog was able to bring a video game into an entertaining and comical movie.

When the first trailer dropped on April 30, 2019, fans of the popular Sega video game had nothing but negative comments to say about the design of Sonic in the movie. Director Jeff Fowler responded to the fan backlash on Twitter.

“The message is loud and clear. You aren’t happy with the design & you want changes. It’s going to happen”.

The new and improved Sonic design hit the ground running, and it was all thanks to feedback from the community and Director Jeff Fowler for listening to fan feedback.
The movie is set when Sonic is forced to flee his homeworld in order to escape the evil Dr. Robotnik, who is trying to use his super-speed for evil.

Alone in our world, Sonic has no one to talk to but himself and “us” as he can occasionally break down the fourth wall Deadpool style. Voice actor Ben Schwartz’s portrayal is unique in being able to invoke that thrill-seeking spirit Sonic is known for. There are times where Sonic’s constant talking gets a bit too cartoonish, but the character evolves once he’s forced out of isolation in order to escape the clutches of Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carey) and he befriends Tom Wachowski (James Marsden).
From there, the plot is as straightforward as the 1991 Genesis game. Go fast and make a mad dash to collect those rings. Defeat the villainous Dr. Robotnik and on to the next scene.

It’s a movie about friendship as James Marsden’s “Tom” is looking to find meaning within his own life while Sonic is looking for a friendship with someone. They both end up finding what they’re looking for while trying to escape the clutches of Dr. Robotnik.
One might think it is hard to go against such a beloved blue, fast, energetic hedgehog, but the opponent is just as animated. Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik brings reminiscing times of his Ace Ventura character. Showing that he still has overwhelming acting talent in him.
The film, however, does suffer from implementing too many visual effects we’ve seen used countless times before in films, often with more creativity. For example, a few may remember the scene from X-Men Days of Future Past, where Quicksilver cleverly shifts things around while running. You’ve seen it done before. It’s just done by Sonic now.

Sonic the Hedgehog stands out the most when it stands by the video game material showcased in the film. Director Jeff Fowler does an exceptional job putting in as many easter eggs from the Sonic games as possible, to the point where even hardcore Sonic fans have to watch the movie more than once to catch them all.

If you’re a Sonic fan worried whether this movie could genuinely catch the essence of nearly three decades worth of history of Sonic the Hedgehog, don’t be. While it lacks in some of the deeper cuts in Sonic lore, such as trapped animals in aggressed robots and Mystical emeralds, the essentials are all here in the highly scrutinized title character that should keep fans more locked into the story.

While this family-friendly action, comedy stumbles from a simple story and focuses too heavily on visual cinematic clichés, Sonic the Hedgehog is propelled by the fantastic acting of Jim Carrey and Ben Schwartz. Their game of cat and mouse has you at the edge of your seat the entire film.

If you’ve been a long time Sonic fan and been here since the start on the Sega Genesis, then this Valentine’s Day, Sonic the Hedgehog is the love letter you’ve been waiting for.

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