Movie review: “Sonic the Hedgehog”

By Percy Mohn

Elm Staff Writer

Since its announcement in 2014, the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie has garnered much discussion from fans of the series. With its scheduled release for November 2019, Sonic fans waited eagerly for more information about the movie and just how they would bring the beloved blue hedgehog to life.

However, fans found themselves disappointed when the first trailer dropped in April 2019. To put it bluntly, Sonic looked ugly. With realistic hands and legs, and a face attempting to look something akin to an actual animal, Sonic looked nothing like the hedgehog fans of the series loved so much. In a YouTube video on Sonic the Hedgehog from Brian David Gilbert of Polygon, he exclaimed, “Oh, those legs are way too human. I could have those legs. Please don’t show that to me anymore. Get it out of here.”

Humor and distress aside, Gilbert describes just what Sonic fans wanted from the movie: “Sonic should be that cute, blue, cartoon hedgehog that’s gotta go fast.”

The Sonic fans of the series initially did not receive the character they felt they deserved. This hedgehog strayed so far from what fans wanted that there was an outcry. Cries for redesigns erupted from fans, some even taking it upon themselves to redesign the hideous abomination that was this new iteration of Sonic.

Surprisingly, Paramount Pictures listened to the upset fans, and months before the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie was set to be released, they announced that they would delay the release to February of 2020 and redesign Sonic to be more palatable to fans.

Director Jeff Fowler took to Twitter and thanked fans for their criticism and that the changes would happen and that they were “fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be.” On Nov. 12, images of the new Sonic were revealed, and it appeared that Fowler and the rest of Paramount held true to their promise of a redesign.

The movie itself ended up as a love letter to long-term fans of Sonic the Hedgehog. I will admit that as someone who has played Sonic ever since I was a child, I probably enjoyed the movie more than a newcomer to the series would.

Before the movie starts, fans are greeted with the signature logo and sound effect that are present in any SEGA game. It felt like I was starting up another Sonic game, ready to follow him on another adventure.

The beginning of the movie shows a baby Sonic, running through the classic first level of the game, Green Hill Zone, complete with its loop de loop and checkerboard patterns. Baby Sonic is adorable, demonstrating his “gotta go fast” personality from the start. He’s charming all throughout the movie, from the gags to the more emotional scenes.

While the story is rather fleeting and fast-paced, Sonic, as well as the other characters in the movie, more than make up for it.

One of my only complaints with the movie was Dr. Robotnik, Sonic’s main antagonist, also known as Dr. Eggman, played by Jim Carrey. While Carrey had the energy and the personality of Dr. Robotnik, he looked too much like Jim Carrey for me to believe that he was the Robotnik I had grown up with as a kid. The mustache was all wrong, he did not have the iconic voice, he just felt like an evil Ace Ventura they just placed in the middle of the Sonic franchise. I wish they had put as much effort into redesigning Jim Carrey as they had while redesigning Sonic.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” received mixed reviews from fans. Many fans did not like the prevalent pop-culture references. Matt Patches of Polygon describes the movie as “basically live-action ‘Shrek,’ full of pop-culture, wisecracks, grins, and occasional flatulence. Also, Sonic flosses. Twice.”

Patches, however, praises the animation for keeping up with Sonic’s voice actor, Ben Schwartz, as well as Schwartz’s accurate performance.

Dami Lee from The Verge also criticizes the pop-culture references but praises how fun the movie is, especially when she writes, “the movie shines when it remembers it’s based on a video game.” She also praises how fun Jim Carrey’s performance is as well, highlighting his “evil-plotting montage that makes you wonder why more movies don’t feature bad guys with choreographed dance sequences.”

“Sonic the Hedgehog” is a fun, light, and fast-paced movie that appeals to Sonic fans and newcomers alike. So, if you find yourself with nothing better to do on a Friday night, consider driving down to your local movie theater to watch “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

Whether you find it great or distressing, there is nothing funnier than telling all your friends that you saw the Sonic movie.

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