Review | ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Races to Success (Finally)

Anyone who’s ever picked up a gaming console has heard the name Sonic the Hedgehog. He first debuted in 1991 on the Sega Genesis system and won over the affection of gamers around the world. From that first *ching*, Sonic quickly became one of the most popular video game characters of all time.

There was an absolutely staggering amount of games featuring him in the titular role, including numerous appearances in crossovers, like “Super Smash Bros.” After all those years of dominance, it was only fair our spiky blue friend should get a chance on the big screen.

Would Sonic the Hedgehog fall into the list of infamous “Video game-movie curse” adaptions or race to success?

Super Sonic

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The importance of making Sonic the Hedgehog was making him a likeable character. It was instrumental to the success of this movie.

After the backlash of his original design (look it up and be prepared to have nightmares), all eyes were on Paramount to get it right and redeem themselves to a fan base filled with loyalty and love for this character.

Remarkably, the idea to delay the movie and work on building a better Sonic paid off. In this case, second time was a charm. What we got next was an incredibly accurate Sonic, not only in looks but also in everything else. Voiced by the hilarious Ben Schwartz, every line he delivered was almost identical to the Sonic portrayed in the games. His witty, sarcastic sense of humor had everyone at the screening I attended laughing out loud.

From the very beginning of the movie–when we meet ‘Baby Sonic’ (yes it’s as adorable as it sounds)–to the very last minute, you will find yourself rooting for the loveable, little blue guy who just wants to find a home.

Friend and Foe

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As far as villains go, they don’t get much stranger than the nefarious Doctor Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey. Understandably, when I first saw the news of this casting, I was a bit surprised.

A return to the big screen for arguably, one of the greatest comedic actors of all time in a role that didn’t feel like the best fit. Anyone familiar with how the character usually looks would agree. However, Carrey’s commitment to the role created a fun, unique antagonist that ended up being a refreshing take on the famous villain.

Sonic was described by popular review site Rotten Tomatoes as “a fine excuse for Jim Carrey to tap into the manic energy that launched his career.” Fans of his will not want to miss this role that sees him revisit his bizarrely hypnotic charm from the ’90s.

Starring alongside Sonic as the human protagonist is the character Tom Wachowski, portrayed by James Marsden. Admittedly, in a pretty generic role and one we have seen all too many times. Human stumbles upon CGI character, forced to protect it, ends up caring for it…and scene.

However, Marsden works well with what he was given and creates plenty of humorous moments from the bored small town cop who just wants to help people. The Human/CGI blend prefectly executed great, funny chemistry between the two. 

Fan Nostalgia

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A crucial part to the success of this movie was capturing that same charm that made fans of the games fall in love with Sonic — directly from the video game. This is done tremendously well in this movie through the use of fan service, but most importantly, nostalgia. Taking viewers back to a happy childhood memory while simultaneously winning over a whole new generation.

The movie is not in short supply of connecting to the popular games of yesteryear. Right from the start (which features his home planet), we are given a scene that has  an uncanny resemblance to one of the most recognizable Sonic levels–Green Hill Zone.

From amazing 8-bit credits to his signature roll throughout the course of the movie in all its retro glory, it’s hard not to watch this movie without being caught up in serious nostalgia. One scene even using the classic Sonic the Hedgehog theme song with a more modern twist made me want to go home, dust off my old Sonic collection, and play it all night (like the good old days).

And if Sonic nostalgia is your thing: don’t miss the end credits scene that will leave you desperately wanting more from this franchise.

Conclusion

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Sonic the Hedgehog is a fun, retroactive, and light-hearted movie suitable for all ages.

For the most part, it avoids the pitfalls of being generic thanks to the uniquely villainous performance from Carrey and lovable fan favourite lead Sonic. Fans of the games will not be disappointed, with its wonderful nods to so many moments from a dearly cherished franchise.

Admittedly, viewers unfamiliar with the character might have less luck connecting with the movie because it can occasionally fall flat with cliché lines and expected plot movement based on the games.

However, by the end of the movie, fans are set up for the potential of a completely different and exciting sequel with a whole cluster of directions they could take.

Rating: 70/100


All Images Courtesy of Paramount Pictures/Sega 
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