Movie Review: "Sonic the Hedgehog"
Sonic the Hedgehog
After Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is chased off of his home planet, he finds himself alone on earth. He was hunted on his home planet by those who were after his power. Sonic has super speed, and while he can always outrun anyone who is after him, he would never be safe if he was always being hunted. Thus, he used his magic rings to transport him to Earth.
Although far outside the reach of those who were hunting him on his home planet, Sonic must stay hidden from humans. They would definitely not understand him, where he came from, and some may want to hunt him for his power as well. However, when he slips up, his presence becomes known by an evil scientist named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Dr. Robotnik’s resources are as limitless as his technology is dangerous and he has his sights set on the mysterious blue alien. Sonic needs help, and fortunately crosses paths with a local cop named Tom Wachowski (James Marsden).
The Pros & Cons
Sonic & Tom (+6pts)
The Intro (-2pts)
Jim Carrey & The Action (+5pts)
Charged Sonic (-3pts)
Speed & The Coins (+4pts)
Pro: Sonic & Tom (+6pts)
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the relationship between these two characters. Sonic has been alone for a very long time, as he has tried to avoid contact with humans during his time on earth. Tom is a small-town cop that wants more meaning and more action in his job, as he wants to be a cop who helps people in trouble. Together, they end up finding what they have each been looking for. Sonic finds a companion, and Tom finds someone who needs his help.
I enjoyed their respective stories, and enjoyed their story together. The dynamic between the two characters was fun, which made it easy to care about them, and easy to buy into their partnership. I do not want to say too much about them to avoid spoilers. Just know that I enjoyed this story as much as I did, because I enjoyed the two main characters and their relationship together.
Con: The Intro (-2pts)
The introduction of how Sonic came to earth was a little ridiculous. Usually in fantasy kids movies like this one, the stuff involving the character’s world is the more interesting aspect of the story, and usually the story becomes far less interesting when the character gets to earth. That was not true for this movie. Sonic’s world had ninja archers—I was hoping one of them was a certain red, classic Sonic character—a guardian owl, and magic rings.
It was not what was introduced in this sequence that I had issue with. Rather, it was how rushed and packed it was. The filmmakers threw a lot at you, and they did it quickly. It was all just a little overwhelming, so I was relieved when Sonic got to earth and the plot slowed way down. Do not get me wrong, it did not slow down so much that it became boring, it just slowed down to a normal, more enjoyable pace. The beginning of the movie was just a bit too much, so I am glad that the filmmakers moved on from it quickly.
Pro: Jim Carrey & The Action (+5pts)
Before Jim Carrey appeared on screen, this felt like a pretty typical kids movie. Then Jim Carrey appeared on screen as Dr. Robotnik and this movie was taken to a whole different level. He was perfect for this role. He gave the character intensity, he gave the character his classic crazy personality, and he made the character feel like a real threat.
The character was also one that really naturally made for a lot of action. First there was Sonic—an alien with super speed. Then there was Dr. Robotnik—an evil scientist with tons of killer drones at his disposal. This naturally made for a lot of exciting, explosive action, as we got to see the full extent of Dr. Robotnik’s deadly machines and Sonic using his speed in various ways. There action was a lot more exciting than I expected it to be, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Con: Charged Sonic (-3pts)
This was a part of the story that felt pretty inconsistent. Sonic was always fast, but he occasionally became charged with electricity. I want to be careful in not referring to this as “Super Sonic”, as that is a very specific thing from the Sonic games, but this “charged” Sonic was very much a super powered version of what he already was. He seemed to have electrical powers, seemed to be invulnerable, and even seemed to run a bit faster. The inconsistent part was how the filmmakers used this version of Sonic.
The way that he became charged was inconsistent. He sometimes became this way when he was angry, while other times he seemed to be able to turn it on whenever he wanted, and there were even times where there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to how he became this way. It just seemed like the filmmakers used this as a massive plot device. Whenever the characters were in a tight spot that the writers wanted them out of, “charged” Sonic was the answer. They did not seem to care if there was a consistent way of activating it, and they did not seem to care if his abilities were consistent while he was charged. He just became this way whenever it was convenient for the writers, and his abilities were whatever the writers needed them to be at the time. In the grand scheme of this movie, this was a minor issue, but it was very obviously a lazy plot device that could have worked a lot better if the writers kept it more consistent.
Pro: Speed & The Coins (+4pts)
I thought the filmmakers used Sonic’s speed pretty well. First there was the turtle scene, which I was surprised by how funny I thought it was. Then there were multiple scenes that were reminiscent of Quicksilver’s slow-motion scene in X-Men: Days or Future Past. These scenes worked comedically, showed how powerful Sonic was. I expected Sonic to be really fast, but I ended up enjoying how the filmmakers used his speed in this movie despite my expectations.
Then there were the rings. At first, I though the whole portal concept was ridiculous, but I ended up liking how the filmmakers ended up using the idea. They did not overuse the concept, and they actually succeeded in making the rings feel very important. Collecting the rings were always a way racking up points in the game. Here, the filmmakers needed a way to make collecting these rings important to the story, and I think they succeeded in doing so.
Con: Fallout (-1pts)
Throughout the course of this movie, Tom got into quite a bit of trouble. It was one of those movies where the main character’s actions looked really bad to anyone not in the loop with what was going on. In other words, to anyone who did not know that Sonic existed—most of the people in the world—Tom’s actions looked really bad. However, in the end of the movie, there seemed to be no fallout to what he had done. The movie did not end in a way that would have proved his innocence to the general public, so the way the movie ended felt like there was a piece of the puzzle missing. Fortunately, this was a minor gripe I had with the ending of a kids movie, so take that for what it is worth.
Grade: B- (84pts)
I will be honest, I was not expecting much from this movie. I think reason for this was due to the hate the original design of Sonic received. I think another reason for this was that video game movies have historically not done well. The biggest reason for my low expectations, however, were that the trailers never really pulled me in. Anyway, I saw the movie, and I actually ended up enjoying it. I liked the relationship between Tom and Sonic, I really liked Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik, I thought the action was entertaining, I liked how the filmmakers used Sonic’s speed, and I liked how they incorporated the rings into the story in a way that made them feel important.
I did have some minor issues with the movie. I thought the filmmakers were pretty inconsistent with how they used “charged” Sonic, as they pretty much used it as a plot device. I also did not like the lack of fallout for Tom—given everything he had done—and I thought the intro was pretty overwhelming. Fortunately, all of my issues with the movie were pretty minor. I had pretty low expectations going into this movie, but—despite its minor issues—I actually thought there was a lot to like about it, and I thought it ended up being a surprisingly decent movie.