When the Sonic the Hedgehog movie was first announced, fans of all varieties were skeptical with how the final product would look, given that there haven’t really been any video games being made into successful live-action movie adaptations. However, I can say with absolute confidence that the Sonic the Hedgehog movie will make you fear to speed away with it’s faithfulness to the original material, all while adding some extra fun to this wild ride. So slip on your pointy red shoes with white stripes and grab some gold rings, it’s time to go fast with my personal review of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Let’s start things off by talking about the main star of the movie: Sonic (his name is the title of the movie after all and the story is mainly about him). I’m sure that we all agree with how skeptical we were when Sonic’s first design was revealed in the first trailer and the original poster. The stuff of nightmares and the fuel of whether or not the movie would be watchable, but I can say with full confidence that I adore how Sonic looks, especially when they changed his design to look more accurate to what he looks like in the games. I also love the extra details they put into his design, like the quills put into his fur (like what a hedgehog’s fur is like) and making his fur poof out when he shakes himself dry in one scene; let’s not forget the fact that his shoes are held together with tape, (and his socks have holes in them) from over-usage, before receiving his iconic shoes.
Ben Schwartz did an amazing job giving Sonic his voice and bringing to life his facial expressions through the use of facial motion capture (this and any type/form of motion capture deserves more recognition). When it comes to Sonic’s overall personality, I adore his never-ending curiosity and fascination with the human world (our world); some of my favorite moments include Sonic making his own bucket list after learning about them and crossing things off of his list and when he finds a child-like, neverending fascination and enjoyment with the word “guac.”
It broke my heart when Sonic ended up spending many years (after being forced to flee from his home-world as a child) just watching humans from a distance (especially when he has an emotional break-down), out of fear of either side getting hurt because of him, especially when some of the people he watches become like a family. Of course Sonic doesn’t always see life as nothing but fun and games, when those he cares about are in trouble, he won’t hesitate to take a stand to be their protector (even if it cost him his life).
One last thing that I want to talk about Sonic, before I move on to the next part of this review, is how he’s not afraid to speak his mind when something that someone does bothers him; there were times where he called out a character or two about things they previously did, mainly because he was still processing certain decisions they were making that could lead to serious changes.
In case this paragraph didn’t give you a big enough hint: I loved pretty much everything about Sonic in this movie. Now that I’ve spent a good amount of time gushing over how much I enjoy this movie’s adaptation of our main character Sonic, how about I give the other characters (a mixture of another main character and secondary characters) some attention and talk about what they’ve brought to the movie. Let’s start off with James Marsden’s character: Thomas “Tom” Michael Wachowski, aka The Doughnut Lord, the sheriff of Green Hills, Montana (which a brilliant nod to the original Sonic the Hedgehog game that, sadly, just clicked as I am writing this).
While he enjoys being the sheriff of Green Hills, Tom wants to be able to do more than helping the ducks cross the street, so when he’s given an opportunity to transfer to San Francisco and feel more like a real officer, he is all up for it. However, when his lets the news slip to Sonic, after a series of awkward and dangerous events leads to them taking a road trip to San Francisco (Tom used a tranquilizer dart on Sonic, making him lose his bag of gold rings), that brings their slowly growing friendship to some crossroads. Fortunately, Tom’s wife Maddie, a veterinarian that Sonic nicknamed “The Pretzel Lady” after her regular practicing of yoga, is giving him her full support (given that Tom worked multiple jobs to help Maddie earn her veterinarian degree). Basically, these two are an awesome married couple that just screams “relationship goals,” although Maddie’s sister, Rachel, keeps on telling her to divorce him because he’s not good for her (which always made me confused especially how much Tom sacrificed for Maddie to achieve her dream).
Despite Rachel’s protests, Tom and Rachel help Sonic retrieve his bag of gold rings (and Maddie’s niece gives Sonic his now trademark shoes to replace his old, destroyed pair of sneakers). There are also some enjoyable side characters that have a small amount of screen time but are still able to make a big enough impression to stand out. You’ve got Wade Whipple (played by Adam Pally), a fellow police officer and friend of Tom, who is very dependent on Tom to tell him what to do during certain situations (he’s a character that’s mostly there for comedy-relief, but does do some growing up near the end). Stone (played by Lee Majdoub) is an agent that works for the main villain (Dr. Robotnik) and honestly, he’s one of my favorite side characters.
If any of you have seen Emperor’s New Groove, you’ll what I mean when I say that Stone is this movie’s Kronk. He takes a lot (and I mean a lot) of crap from Robotnik, but he still works for him and even gives him his favorite coffee blend while he’s working on his evil plot. I don’t really know how to turn into words in order to explain why I love this character so much (if you haven’t watched the movie yet, I would highly recommend it just to see why Stone is such a fun character).
Lastly, we have Crazy Carl (played by Frank C. Turner), a conspiracy theorist that spent the most time trying to find evidence that Sonic existed, although he called Sonic the “blue devil.” This guy is a lot of fun, especially since he knows that he’s not crazy, but nobody believes that he saw a big, blue hedgehog (can you blame him?), even with his quick sketch of Sonic (which was a hilarious nod the infamous Sanic meme). There are a few more side character in the movie, but their screen time was so brief and didn’t make them stand out too much that it didn’t leave too much of an impression (which was the only problem I really had with the movie).
Now we get to the part that I’m sure some of you were waiting for: our main villain of the movie, Dr. Robotnik (played by the one and only Jim Carrey). I’m going to start off by saying that Jim Carrey absolutely killed it in this movie! Before the movie came out, a large number of us said that he was going to break his back with the weight of the movie riding on his shoulders. Fortunately that didn’t happen, as the movie as a whole was able to carry more than enough on its own. Every time he was on screen there was never-ending entertainment, yet he also was able to keep you on the edge of your seat. In a nutshell, Dr. Robotnik wants to use Sonic’s power as a source of unlimited energy to power his egg-shaped machines (which is how Sonic gives him the nickname “Eggman”) and take over the world, basically your typical bad guy plot.
While he seems like an energetic, crazy person, underneath that messy hair and thick skull, Robotnik is a super-genius with an IQ of 300 and was able to achieve so much at such a young age. There have been a number of times where he gave Sonic a run for his money (I’ll let you decide how intended that little pun was) during this film and they’ve been enemies in the video game series since the first game back in 1991. Robotnik’s brainpower isn’t his only weapon, he can be very intimidating by himself and with his machines at his side; with just a subtle movement of his hand, he is able to tell them what to do and who to go after, so he’s not just some comic-relief villain. There were a few moments where his use of intimidation had me holding my breath out of fear for the main characters. All-in-all, I really had a lot of fun analyzing Jim Carrey’s performance as Dr. Robotnik.
With every movie, there always a soundtrack that can make just as big of an impact as the characters and the plot, and this movie’s soundtrack was just as enjoyable. Tom Holkenborg (who also helped write the musical score to Deadpool) did an amazing job composing the musical score, it really captured the movie’s energy and the tone of what the characters were going through. While not every song played in the movie is on the official soundtrack, the official soundtrack is very enjoyable to listen to and is worth listening to on repeat. There was even an original song written for the movie, which was played during the ending credits (Speed Me Up, written by Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty, and Sueco the Child), that definitely deserves to be heard by everyone at least once.
When it comes to the movie’s plot and flow of the story, this one was fast-paced (given the nature of our main character), but it didn’t go so fast that you would have any difficulties following along. There were plenty of action scenes, but you also had plenty of moments to see the characters sit back and have some moments to bond with each other or even come up with any type of plan. The interactions between Sonic and Tom felt very real and you could feel how betrayed Sonic felt when he found out about Tom’s plans to leave Green Hill and move to San Francisco and you could see how that affected their bond.
When Sonic was conflicted and emotional he felt about wanting reach out and connect with the people of Green Hill, but telling himself that he can’t and he had to stay hidden (because that’s how he was raised back in his world). I honestly was about to cry during those scenes because it felt that real to me. Any moment where Sonic and Tom were confronted by Dr. Robotnik put me on edge because I didn’t know if Sonic was going to be captured and I had no idea what would happen if he did. Sure, there were some hints as to what Robotnik would do, but you didn’t know what the movie would show if that type of scene occurred.
At the end, you definitely were given a teaser that there’s going to be a sequel and given how successful the first weekend was, I have full confidence that there will be a sequel. All-in-all, I’d give the Sonic the Hedgehog movie a 9/10, maybe even a 9.5/10. It was energetic, fun, and had a lot of heart in it. The interactions between the characters were very believable and you could feel the sense of urgency when things went bad.
The music was enjoyable to listen to during the movie and even when you’re listening to the soundtrack itself (which is always a win). You might see some moments that seem cliche, but they’re the type of moments that just work in this movie. It would’ve been nice if all of the side characters got enough screen time to be equally memorable, but that would make the movie run a little to long (so I guess they were a necessary sacrifice on the movie’s part). Sonic’s design was fantastic and memorable, his personality and characteristics felt like something straight out of the games, shows, and even the comics. It’s the live-action adaptation of a video game series that I would say is very loyal to the original material.
So if you want something that goes fast, but doesn’t go so fast that it leaves you confused, then I would highly recommend watching Sonic the Hedgehog.