So I saw Sonic The Hedgehog in theaters on premiere night and a second time and there’s a major flaw with this movie which shows the cast and crew did not do their job properly. They forgot to make this movie horrible. Video game based movies are NOT supposed to be good, and by making it good, it means everyone really screwed up here. So let me explain how they screwed up by making this movie good.
WARNING: MILD SPOILERS IN IMAGES AND WRITING!
WARNING: MILD SPOILERS IN IMAGES AND WRITING!
First of all, the movie when it starts, it puts us right into the action with Sonic and Dr. Robotnik which is genuinely something I’m not fond of in any media, but it’s brief and we then get right to the origin story when Sonic was a small kid on his own planet which is know officially as Baby Sonic. Baby Sonic was absolutely adorable, and he was raised by an anthropomorphic owl named Longclaw who tells Sonic he needs to keep his powers hidden so no one takes them or worse.
However, Sonic was reckless and a tribe of some echidnas follow him. Longclaw tries to escape with Sonic, but she is injured in the process, and with that, she gives Sonic a bag of rings which can warp Sonic to any location he thinks of. Longclaw uses one of the rings to send Sonic to Earth where he can be safe. Once Sonic is through, he tries to get back to Longclaw, but the warp ring closes.
|"Good bye, Sonic...."|
On the rings, I have heard a couple of years ago some people criticizing the rings for this purpose, but when you think back, Sonic 1, Sonic CD, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and a few other games, they had giant rings that when you jump through, you teleport to the Special Zone (Special Stage to some others). So if rings like that were part of the games, I see no reason why these rings can’t do something similar here even if it’s not to a Special Zone.
However, I have a problem with this scene. It’s a good set up for Sonic’s origins, but as we see Baby Sonic become Teen Sonic, this is only brought up two more times, one time immediately when he has grown into a teen, and another during the middle of the movie when Sonic is at a motel with our human lead, Tom Wachowski which I’ll get to, but it’s only brought up on if he’s discovered that he must escape to another world, and that Longclaw told Sonic not to interact with anyone, but maybe she was wrong and he can have friends. You would think Sonic would feel more worry and sadness over losing his mother figure, so yeah, feels like a derp in writing. I honestly feel when the motel scene came up when Sonic brought up Longclaw to Tom and saying maybe she was wrong, maybe Tom also asks Sonic who Longclaw is, and this is where Sonic reflects on her and wonders if she is even still alright. This would have added a bit more depth. So badly missed opportunity there.
I will also add on Longclaw's design. While I really love how she looks, she's very realistically owl like, so I am feeling like she may have been part of the original art style with Sonic's old Manhog the Sonic awful design since birds like the Babylon Rogues still have the same art style as everyone else in the Sonic universe. If this is true, I'm guessing as Longclaw was an original character, and everyone really liked how she looked as it was, they decided to let her keep her original realistic design. If that is the case, this is the one instance where it definitely works. I also say this as I noticed the echidnas are definitely modern Sonic art style, and I am betting they would have had an ugly design like Sonic previously did before being updated (and for them, definitely for the best they were updated).
Now moving past that, we move to ten years later (meaning Baby Sonic was likely 5 years old) and Sonic shows he’s very lonely but does admire some people in the small town of Green Hills, Montana and what they do, one of whom is the local sheriff who is as I said, Tom Wachowski who Sonic affectionally names Donut Lord due to his love of donuts and tendency to talk to them, and his wife, Maddie Wachowski who Sonic affectionally names Pretzel Lady due to her ability to twist her body during yoga.
|"I really am alone... All alone, forever..."|
However, Sonic has not let himself be seen by anyone and after playing baseball with himself on a field where he saw some kids play, he begins to realize all the more how lonely he is, and in frustration, runs around the field he was playing ball with himself on, and overpowers himself that he causes an electric discharge that shorts out power in the entire town. With this, the government gets involved and reluctantly calls in an eccentric scientist named Dr. Robotnik.
This is going to be my second to last major criticism, but government stuff just tends to be cliche. It’s been done in the Transformers movie, it’s been kind of a thing in the TMNT films, so I’m not happy it’s a thing here. However, it’s short and if there was a reason to introduce Dr. Robotnik, it at least does the job. So I’m more forgiving of this than the Longclaw thing. I wish maybe something was done like we see Robotnik on his own discovering this power, and he comes in to take over without being called in.
With this, as Robotnik sends out his egg shaped robots, he discovers one of Sonic’s footprints and realizes it’s some kind of alien, and he sends out all soldiers to locate Sonic. Sonic sees them coming and as he is about to escape, he hears dogs closing into his cave where he lives, so he escapes to Tom’s garage, but as he enters in, he trips over some trash cans outside and Tom believes is some raccoons who keep rummaging through the cans (so it’s nice to see Marine the Raccoon included in some regard). Sonic tries to escape with one of his rings, but is discovered by Tom. Robotnik arrives at Tom's house as he detects Sonic may have gone off there, and he threatens Tom with violence if he doesn't give up the location of Sonic, and Sonic jumps in to protect Tom. Robotnik becomes more interested in Sonic upon seeing him and his abilities, and together, Sonic and Tom escape while fugitives from the government now as Tom is aiding the alien threat as it were. Sonic and Tom have a pretty rocky start, but they overall form a bond as the movie progresses. The biggest thing Sonic has been wanting is a friend, but he feels angry when he realizes Tom is planning to take a job in San Francisco as his job in Green Hills is too peaceful and he also is hoping to San Francisco will give him the chance to save a life. Sonic as he lives in Green Hills and admired Tom, it hurts him heavily.
The only other criticism I’ll say and this happened early on, but I feel came up too suddenly towards the end were Sonic’s electric powers. Yes, he’s fast, and due to his speed, it can generate some energy, but the electric stuff felt like a stretch. Now admittedly there are few defenses for this. The lesser defense is the lighting shield which Sonic has had in multiple games since Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and the more logical defense is the insta-shield which he had since Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Sonic also had some special energy attacks in a few games, and a friend of mine mentions Sonic’s Lightspeed Dash that debuted in Sonic Adventure as something. Now this is still iffy to me due to how it was handled in the film, but if people want to make defenses for it, I am acknowledging there are some possibilities. However, on the other hand since Chaos Emeralds are not in this movie, it actually gives Robotnik proper motivation to be Sonic's enemy in this. Robotnik after discovering what Sonic's powers are and getting a sample of it from one of his quills (this was in the trailers), he then want's Sonic's powers as the potential is unlimited, so for his own needs, Robotnik will stop at nothing to capture Sonic and obtain all he has. And for these incarnations of Sonic and Eggman to meet for the first time, as we have motivation on Sonic being childish yet friendly and motivation for Robotnik being power hungry and egomaniacal, this works out very well.
Overall, the plot is not really original, it's a typical buddy road trip comedy film with also parts of being an action movie, but it's executed well. It can be considered playing things safe by not trying to do anything really new, but as video game movies tend to suck and I rather have a good movie more than anything, I'll take it, and it does do well for the Sonic's character and building him up.
So with the plot out of the way, let’s talk about characters, so let’s start with Dr. Robotnik. He’s funny the whole way through as he is constantly doing funny gestures, giving humorous dialogue quips, and overall, Jim Carrey truly returns to his humorous roots from the 90s. I love this as Eggman needs to be a humorous villain as he was in Adventures of Sonic, and is very much so in recent games with Mike Pollock voicing him. So seeing they know how Eggman has to be, this made me really happy to see and was a huge highlight.
|Who wouldn't love this ball of adorbs?|
Now for Sonic, I saw Ben Schwartz is a huge Sonic fan and he saw Sonic as a hyperactive kid which is a very appropriate view point for the character, so I like how he approached our favorite blue hedgehog for this. Sonic was absolutely adorbs in this movie. Ben Schwartz gave a great performance as him, made him very childish, but also very sweet, and the redesign we got for the final movie, Sonic was really cute. So far, I think this is my favorite incarnation of Sonic. I love Jaleel White, Ryan Drummond, Jason Griffith, and Roger Craig Smith, but I feel Ben Schwartz really delivered something that very few of these other actors did (though Jaleel has come close in SatAM and Sonic Underground). I would love if we got a TV series with Ben Schwartz as Sonic. I am so grateful they gave him compassion, sympathy, and humanity. Also, we have a VERY cute moment where Sonic is pretending to drive Tom’s truck.
Now we have James Marsden as Tom. He’s the straight edge person to the more goofy Eggman and also the wise cracking Sonic, but we see how good he is and he comes to deeply care about Sonic despite some frustrations with his childishness. He sees Sonic as a little reckless kid which is basically what Sonic is, but ultimately, he wants to be a true hero who can save a life or more, so you see a lot of good from this man. Also, he punches Robotnik in the face and takes legit action, so I feel if you didn’t like Chris Thorndyke from Sonic X, you’ll enjoy this character.
Now with that, I feel Sonic’s quips were handled well for the most part and had good timing, but we still saw emotion where need be. Eggman however was pure quips and humor, but for him, I feel it worked as we didn’t need as much humanity from this villain, which is actually part of the point as hear from a line Tom gives at the climax, we just needed motivation and an entertainment factor from him, and we got a complete package of that.
I also like that Sonic was not invincible and he came close to death a couple of times, and he has emotional flaws and issues, so he’s not Gary Stu’ed in this at all. He was knocked out by Tom with a tranq gun which I can say as we saw it in the trailers, and there’s a point in a battle with Robotnik, Sonic almost died. So the fact that we saw he has limits I very much appreciated.
However, there are things I question with Sonic's speed. There's two moments where he's so fast that everything is slow around him and we get these Quicksilver from the X-Men film moments with him, but if he's this fast, it feels iffy on how Tom caught him in his garage and Sonic didn't try to run. Now I guess in fairness, Sonic was prepared for those two other times and he wasn't prepared for Tom, so he was caught off guard. That was the ONLY time the speed thing was questionable however, so I'll let it pass.
|"So you won't hurt your feet anymore."|
I should also note that Sonic’s iconic sneakers which you see him wear in the posters and the trailers, in the actual movie he doesn’t gain those until about a third of the way into the movie where he receives them as a gift. Before then, even in scenes that were in the trailers, for the final movie we see him wearing two separate shoes that are tattered and non-matching with holes at the bottom, and considering how Sonic has had to live, I feel this was a very good move to make, and it made it heartwarming when Sonic received his new shoes.
|No one's ever given me a gift before."|
|His poor feet...|
|The Sanic! He's real I tell ya!|
I also want to say, one of the official statements said that Sonic 06 was meant to represent "what if Sonic existed in the real world" and it was an utter failure at that. First of all, if that is the case, why do a fantasy kingdom setting and include a princess who gets kidnapped five times in one game? Also, the settings in Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 I feel did a better representation of this even if not covering the realism that much. But you want a real answer if Sonic was real, then look no further than this movie. It answers this question so much better than that rushed game ever did. Also, Sonic dealing with a princess, a satanic demon, and all this poorly planned time travel stuff? It's too convoluted to answer if Sonic was real where this is simple and straightforward enough to better give a proper answer.
Overall, I see this movie very much like how I see the original Ninja Turtles movie. The original Turtles movie is very flawed and has some writing issues I feel could have been better, but even so, it’s one of my favorite comic book based movies. Sonic feels the same way for me. It has some major flaws, but I see more good then bad and it’s enough for me to really support this movie. I can’t ignore the flaws for this review, so I do need to acknowledge those faults as I did. Due to this, I can’t give this as high of a rating as I would like, especially as it does have some basic plot elements, but I do feel they are done well to still work.
So it’s clear some of these people DID try to make the movie suck, but did not do good enough of a job, so in terms of making a video game movie, they did NOT do bad enough of a job. XD
In all seriousness, I hope many Sonic fans and even some video game fans will enjoy this. I really do not feel this would have worked as well with the original movie design. So it’s a VERY good thing they fixed him and gave us something closer to the games while still keeping it its own.
|Stay for the credits, or you'll miss a wonderful treat.|
RATING: 7.5/10 GOOD!