Columns, Opinion

“Sonic the Hedgehog” – A fun tribute to a classic character, but nothing more

When the trailer for “Sonic the Hedgehog” was first released, it was terrible. The design for Sonic was horrible. From the clips that were shown, “Sonic the Hedgehog” looked like it was going to be the latest in a long line of bad CGI-hybrid films such as the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” or “Smurfs” franchises.  

The online community was flooded with negative reviews for the trailer and demands that the CGI model for Sonic be changed. The fact that Sonic comes from a long-running and beloved video game series, with countless fans, didn’t help either. In the end, the design for Sonic was changed for the theatrical release.    

“Sonic the Hedgehog” is not a terrible movie. To even call it a bad movie would be going too far. “Sonic the Hedgehog” is many things, but it’s not bad. If you want a fun movie to take your kids to see, then they’ll probably enjoy this one. But besides some entertainment, there’s nothing to this movie. 

If you do watch “Sonic the Hedgehog”: just go to have fun. Don’t try to analyze or think too hard. If you do, you’re going to find a lot wrong with it.

There are several plot-holes. To the point that most of the film’s story did not have to happen. On top of that, there are gaps in logic, plot-lines that don’t go anywhere and awkward product placement. If they would have released “Sonic” with the original design for the character, it would have been disastrous.

Most of the actors in this movie are okay. It’s hard to say if they were truly bad or not, I doubt they had much to work with. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s alright if actors don’t try hard because they are appearing in something called “Sonic the Hedgehog.” By that reasoning, Jim Carrey should have been terrible in this film. 

Carrey stars as the villain of this movie, Dr. Robotnik. He and Ben Schwartz, the voice of Sonic, are the two highlights of the film. They are both committed to their roles. Even when they have to say bad exposition or an unfunny one-liner, they make it work with their energetic performances. And in Carrey’s case, his ability to pull off Robotnik’s ridiculous timing and body movements is part of why he is such a great actor. 

This movie did have some potential. For one thing, it should have been animated. There are parts of this movie, both at the beginning and end, that are animated to look like classic Sonic video games. Like the redesign, it’s done well. Why wasn’t the rest of the film animated? What does this film gain by having it set in the regular world with hybrid-CGI animation? 

This is a question you have to ask for most films in that style. Studios seem to be afraid to market them if the movies aren’t set in the regular world, which they believe will affect viewership. This may be the case, but it still holds back movies like “Sonic the Hedgehog.” It prevents filmmakers from embracing part of what made the animated subject matter work in the first place.      

It’s clear that the “Sonic the Hedgehog” team put care into creating this movie. The animation and the commitment to showing the source material on-screen prove that the filmmakers like the games or at least respect them. 

“Sonic” is a harmless movie. It’s fun and entertaining at times, but it’s not a good movie by any means. I suspect most people knew that anyway when they went to go see it.  


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