ramblings from a body of somekind

Sonic The Hedgehog (2020) movie review

July 26, 2020

  • movies
  • films

Sonic the Hedgehog is a weird brand - the type of brand that has household recognition but has not really been utilised all that effectively. A substantial amount of the modern 2D and 3D games up until the past 5 years have been average to bad and there is little exciting merchandise in the way of the usual t-shirts and pencil cases and other tat. Compare that to Mario and it is a world’s difference in the way Nintendo have cared for Mario. If Mario appears on something, you know it is going to be good, even if it does not strictly appeal to you.

You could only imagine how I must have felt at the announcement of a Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Video game to movie adaptions are notorious for being terrible. Usually, when people think of movies based on video games, they tend to think of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. Do not get me wrong, both have their own following, but you must be a special kind of person to actively seek these films and want to watch it over any other film out there. But then you stick Sonic on there, with the reputation, and I start to worry a lot. If it were going to be made, I would at least like to see some care put into it rather than it be some bland heroes plot with Sonic pencilled in.

The good news is that Sonic the Hedgehog is a good film. It is not brilliant or a game changer or anything, but it is an enjoyable film. Something you can put on and enjoy the hour and a half that the film is on for by yourself or with a family. If I am being honest, with the baggage of the brand and this film being a video game adaption to movie, Sonic the Hedgehog has absolutely no right being this good.

To briefly explain the plot without spoilers, the film roughly starts off explaining Sonic’s home world. For some reason, a hedgehog is raised by an owl but let us ignore that. Because of his super speed, he is told that he must keep his powers secret. Failing to do so as a young ’in, he is chased out of his world and arrives on Earth.

The intro sequence is done and dusted in less than 4 mins. Talk about speed and efficiency - I could gripe about how this intro plot is pretty basic and standard for any sort of “aliens coming into human’s world and being their best friend schtick” but with Sonic it just whizzes past the plot beats because it understands you came here to see Sonic being Sonic, even if for a while he does so in an incredibly lonely environment.

Ben Schwartz does a great job at selling Sonic as a hyperactive speed-monster with confidence but who also has the vulnerability of being in a world where he cannot reveal his true powers of speed lest he has a group of bad guys chasing him out of Earth and into the Mushroom World. There is also vulnerability in this Sonic that does not really exist due to the nature of video games, but it does do a great job at giving Sonic a sense of humanity.

James Marsden and Tika Sumpter do a serviceable job of being a couple who get tangled up in Sonic’s life through one event or another. They both do not stand out, but they are not terrible by any means. I would probably blame the script for this rather than their acting, because let us face it - Sonic is the main star. Well, Sonic and Dr Robotnik.

Which brings me onto Jim Carey. Dr Robotnik’s role was basically made for Carey - this is him acting like an eccentric villain, but with all the rough corners that comes from being a villain filled off for the sake of family entertainment. Carey is effortlessly zany yet pompous, and every time he is on screen, he steals the show.

Sonic the Hedgehog goes through the same classic beats as any family film, but it does so with a grin on its face. And in a time when we are surrounded by so much awfulness, I can’t help but be a little endeared and a little heartened by something that is trying it’s best to have a little bit of fun, even if it wasn’t conventionally “supposed” to have the fun by being way of a video game to movie adaptation.

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