I’m gonna be totally honest, I never really liked Sonic as a franchise. As someone who obsesses over finding every single collectible in video games and attempts to get as close to 100% completion as possible in every level, Sonic was always my absolute nightmare as a kid. Not only do you run really fast though the levels, missing countless rings and power-ups, but if you get hit once (just a single time), you lose everything you’ve achieved up to that point. For me, playing Sonic always felt more like neurosurgery than a fun video game, but hey, maybe the movie would change my opinion on the spiky blue hedgehog. Maybe I’d finally come to realize why so many people all across the world love this character so much that they’re willing to buy game after game of endless trash (Sonic ’06, Sonic Boom, the list goes on).
Unfortunately, despite what I’ve constantly been hearing from friends and fellow moviegoers, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is not some sort of groundbreaking step in the right direction for video game adaptations. First off, it’s usually a bad sign when a room packed full of children is dead silent through 90% of what is supposed to be a funny family movie aimed at kids, but that pretty much describes my entire theater experience last night. In fact, it seemed as though the only people that were really enjoying the movie were the other 20-somethings spread throughout random pockets of the theater, laughing and elbowing each other whenever Sonic said some random quip that apparently holds significance to his video game counterpart. Very similar to “Detective Pikachu,” another video game movie I have a strong disliking towards, Sonic the Hedgehog seems more geared towards appeasing an older “fan” crowd with reference humor rather than providing a well-rounded story or actual jokes.
The script is about as dumb and generic as they come. I swear, at this point there has to be some kind of supercomputer in Hollywood drafting all of these stories using an algorithm, cramming in as many dated references to meme culture as possible between scenes designed to trick the audience into thinking the film has some kind of heart/message to convey. In fact, I’d argue that the overall message being laid out in Sonic is actually one of the worst and most puerile ones I’ve seen in a long time, especially for a kid’s movie. The entire film seems to be based on the idea that you shouldn’t follow your dreams if they interfere with the lives of other people who expect you to stay the same for the rest of your life. Outgrowing your hometown and moving on to bigger and better things is apparently a very bad and selfish thing to do, and you should just be happy with your current place in the world. Remember kids: don’t chase your dreams if it means leaving behind your hick town that has no opportunity for growth or personal development.
Outside of this really terrible message, the movie has very little going for it in terms of actual entertainment value. I think the most fun I had while watching this movie was looking at Sonic’s mouth and how completely out of synch it was with his dialogue 99% of the time. His lips and tongue moved so strangely that it became distracting, and eventually completely mesmerizing. The animation edits may have saved how the movie looked from an aesthetic standpoint, but in practice, it seems as though the process of redoing Sonic’s entire facial structure wreaked absolute havoc on the material they had already produced. It’s a shame too, because honestly that original Sonic design has become so legendarily terrible that people would’ve almost certainly paid to see a version with the untouched CGI rather than this new stuff. It all just comes across as so soulless when you know that an entire animation studio underwent extreme crunch hours and eventually shut down, all because of a desperate attempt to save this crappy movie.
As far as positives go, I guess I can say that the movie didn’t feel extremely long. The pacing was good and there weren’t any scenes that completely overstayed their welcome, which is more than I can say for a movie like Detective Pikachu. Jim Carrey is also Jim Carrey, so that’s always a plus. And while he isn’t on screen for nearly as long as I wanted him to be, his ridiculously emotive performance pumped a decent amount of energy into an otherwise lifeless product. The stepsister character was also pretty funny, though she doesn’t really make a lot of sense in the context of the movie and basically only exists to tell the protagonist’s wife to get a divorce over and over and over again.
Other than that, Sonic the Hedgehog is about as safe, bland, and predictable as you can get. It’s filled with cringeworthy meme references and definitely comes across as a movie written by someone in their mid-40s whose only understanding of youth culture comes from the mouths of marketing associates and their own middle school children. If you’re a fan of the original video game character and wanted to see him dance the funny Fortnite dance while shouting about someone getting “owned,” then this will probably appeal to you. If you were looking for a movie that had any actual depth or understanding of humor beyond references to pop culture, you’ll probably be disappointed. At least Sonic followed its own advice and ended so fast that I never had enough time to build a genuine hatred of the movie.
3/10 – Bad