Video game movies have had a rough track record despite the potential they have to rock our socks off. In an effort to make real, live action movies, the CGI worlds that have become legend are often reduced to twisted follies with only small diamonds in a very rough piece. Not all films have failed mind you, but a majority have not quite reached the expectations placed on the pieces by the fanbase. The solution could be to simply make a digitally designed movie, but the argument becomes how if you do that you could instead just make a better game. Well this week’s headliner is a series that has had a lot of ups and downs that has muddied his gaming waters, so a movie may be exactly what is needed to jumpstart the blue blur’s career. Is the film worth it despite a questionable trailer and redesign of his image? Well, Robbie K is going to give his thoughts once more as he reviews:
Movie: Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Director: Jeff Fowler
Writers: Patrick Casey, Josh Miller
Stars: Ben Schwartz, Tika Sumpter, James Marsden
- Moves at a Good Speed
- The Action Is Family Friendly Appropriate
- Jim Carrey’s Performance
- Surprisingly Deeper
- The Teasing
- Plot is Predictable
- Suspension of Disbelief
- Robotnik’s character at times
- More Chase Scene Less Cheesy/Sob story Finish
- Some Humor A Little Too Forced
The movie was already loaded with a lot of heat given the stink made with the first trailers. The redesign is to be respected, because the design presented is indeed fun and nostalgic to look at, despite being in a film loaded with more realistic characters and drones. Nevertheless, the likes start with a good comedy basis, a blend of witty references and kid friendly humor that takes the family friendly track and runs with it. The trailers promised a family friendly environment and the film delivers, taking enough of the sonic framework to shout out to geeks like me and then painting it with that Disney like coat that younger audiences love. An added bonus, the references extend outside of the sonic games, making some nods to some other classic scenes from superhero movies that shined in their own movie bombs (think Fox’s super hero movies). It works for me; the balance opening a lot of doors for the fanbase to enjoy and hopefully inspire new interest in the hedgehog’s adventures. One favorable result, the movie moves at that fast pace that is entertaining enough to be fun, yet slow enough to allow things to flesh out everything about our characters. Working with that pace is the action, grabbing the speed of the genesis video games and keeping the speedsters moves going strong as he fights the evil genius’ robotic drones. While a little less action packed then I like, the movie keeps the family friendly energy going further into fight scenes, never going too dark, violent or aggressive to damage the psyches that so many people worry about. In addition, the comedy extends even further into these moments to always keep it light hearted. Even the villain himself, Robotnik, manages to come across family friendly, with the insane obsession of being right and a genius driving his actions towards a darker side, but having that clumsy buffoon we saw in the comedy cartoon decades ago. Carrey for me succeeds in bringing out both sides, the transitions and facial expressions both overexaggerated and yet appropriate given the direction they took with him. While I still prefer a digital, fat guy who is Sonic’s familiar rival, I’ll admit this was probably one of the better live action castings for me and the performance was a great revisit to the film I loved so much. Finally, the deepness of the movie surprisingly works again for me because not only does it allow Schwarz to evolve Sonic’s voice, give some better integration and performance with Marsden’s character, and add some emotion to bring the film to a better an all around hit for this reviewer.
Regarding the movie’s dislikes, ironically this has to do with the catering to the younger audience. For one thing the movie is all about teasing for the next film, a minor dislike and usually one I ignore, but yours truly did not enjoy all the little teases to introducing new characters, only to be thrown back into the new direction. Most likely a set up for a series or more movies depending on the success, the untapped potential of Sonic’s origin was the more intriguing story for me and yet was the most limited of the bunch. As such, the predictable, geared towards family Hallmark approach takes center stage and the familiar antics don’t get too many points for originality in my books. I get it, I over-analyze things as a reviewer, but in terms of scoring the predictability of this film is not the biggest selling point for fans of the series who like the fight for mobius vs. finding a place on Earth. Part of this comes from the trailers giving too much away with their over relenting advertising, delivering several key jokes a few times for me. Other parts are the suspension of disbelief and even the world’s logic of physics that are suspended to make the story work, which for me is again cute for the family, but could have been a lot better had they dived deeper into the original lore. The same can be true for Robotnik as well. This constant back and forth between funny comedic prop and villain work for trying to get everyone into the film, but I think was too forced at times for me to fully say it was the best villain. The comedy again can be forced too much as well, whether it be Sonic’s one liners zinging in faster than he can run, or Robotnik’s personality disorder getting too much focus instead of sending out more drones or maximizing his robotic army (I guess for future sequels right). Finally, the actions scenes are again awesome to watch and for the most part do fit with the theme. Then the final fight happens and suddenly we drop that energy for another dialogue heavy, feat of super ability that was more preachy/cheesy finish than the climactic finish I was hoping would happen. If you love that anime style grandiosity, it’s a perfect way to finish, but if you want a little more sonic and logical finish like me, I did not quite enjoy the fight finale.
Despite all the criticism and hate this film has gotten, alongside the character design, Sonic really is a fun film that will hit a lot of audience members. Nostalgia, comedy, and kid friendly film are the selling points for going to see this one in theaters. Throw in good action, a fast pace, and some great performances for Sonic and Robotnik and it only helps seal the package for seeing this film. However, the movie is still not without its flaws with the gear towards the kid/family audience being one of the most limiting components for me. While I appreciate this adventure breaking the walls, the gamer in me who has loved the Mobius arcs would have liked to see that direction over this integration into our world for the originality and game feel I want with video game movies. Separating that out though, it’s the modern trend of making kids movies comedy fests crammed with one liners, forced sappy moments, and toning down some of the action scenes that were the biggest limitations for me. All in all, the movie succeeds in accomplishing the goal of being fun for all ages and a solid opener to a potential franchise. My encouragement is again to catch this one in theaters for the fun and effects, but otherwise get the hedgehog on Redbox or streaming soon.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.5