Many movies are based on pre-established characters or events, but after Marvel took control of the hearts and minds of film consumers, other large companies who probably shouldn’t be making movies about their characters wanted a piece of the pie. Sega was one of them, bringing its beloved character Sonic to the silver screen.
Almost a year ago, the blue hedgehog found himself in a bitter controversy. With the release of the first trailer for the then-upcoming “Sonic the Hedgehog,” fans were taken aback. The spikey mammal was found to be a little more than unsettling in his computer-generated reimagining, the main complaints being that his body was too humanoid and, of course, he had human teeth.
As the outrage continued to snowball with no response from producing studio Paramount Pictures, fans began taking it upon themselves to redesign Sonic to fit the appearance that they had pictured for decades. Paramount eventually responded by releasing the same trailer as before with one key difference, a completely redesigned Sonic much more akin to that of his classic design. After months of uproar, Sonic fanatics finally relaxed.
The point of this background was solely to provide context as to why the release of this film was so important, and the controversy seemed to only boost its ticket sales, as the film grossed $113 million in its first week. Even so, I wasn’t expecting much going into it, as most modern movies based on popular intellectual properties tend to be extremely subpar nowadays.
Being completely honest, I thought the movie was bad — it was so bad that I absolutely loved it.
The plot was nothing significant for a children’s movie. Sonic was forced to leave his home planet and, of course, ended up on Earth where he was discovered by the government due to his destruction of a little league field. He then seeks the help of a couple he had been watching over the past few years to escape the clutches of the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey.
Besides Sonic, the other major selling point of the film was the antagonist, played by Carrey. I say that because I truly believe the directors just told Carrey to act like himself and play with drones for the duration of the film. Upon voicing this to my friends, one chimed in with, “Yeah, you’re right, but at the same time (Carrey) just is (Robotnik).” This is a sentiment I can’t argue with. His sporadic movements and demeaning attitude exuded everything about the Sega villain while still being the all-around unique person who is Carrey.
Carrey, hands down, made the strongest contribution to the movie, as his character had very clear intentions and his evil demeanor brought a dark sense of humor that probably made the film much more enjoyable for the parents forced to view it, much like it did for me.
The strange interactions that characters had with each other made me love the movie. I felt as if every scene had a “What the hell?” moment that kept me engaged the whole time, whether it was Sonic stalking everyone in Green Hills, Montana, or the point where the internet meme known as “Sanic” — a cringey hand-drawn portrayal of Sonic that circulated through the real-world internet years ago — appeared on-screen or when Robotnik referred to the main character’s fiance as “collateral damage.”
Every once in a while, a joke clearly written for children would find its way on screen, but I chose not to get too upset by it, as I am an adult watching a movie meant for children. That said, I did visibly cringe and recoil when Sonic started flossing after a near-death experience.
The thing that made me laugh the most throughout the entire movie, though, was the blatant product placement. For example, as soon as the main character talked about moving, his fiance pulled out her laptop and said something to the effect of,“I’ve been looking at apartments on Zillow,” as the Zillow homepage filled the entire movie screen. Similar moments happened when companies like Ford and even Olive Garden were brought up. It was always so direct and seemed so self-aware that I couldn’t help but stifle laughter each time.
In general, Sonic the Hedgehog was a movie well worth the time and money. The visuals of the movie were amazing, which is usually the main aspect film producers have trouble with. If you’re already interested in any Sonic lore, even if it’s just from playing the games as a kid, there are a lot of noticeable things that you’ll appreciate, specifically some of the things Sonic keeps in his den, as well as how his character gradually gains items like his signature shoes to alter his appearance. If you have no idea who Sonic is, still give it a shot, as it was just an overall goofy, self-aware film that brought a lot to the table.
Although it has yet to be announced, the ending of the movie and the post-credits scene heavily implied that there will be a sequel on the way and frankly, I can’t wait to see where this franchise goes.