This review contains spoilers – please be advised.
Our wise-cracking blue-haired friend is back and better than ever in a new movie that just hit theaters on Valentine’s day. Sonic the Hedgehog is the kind of movie that makes you stop, think, and remember “the good old days.”
NOTE: THE PLOT LINE IS IN ITALICS SO YOU CAN SKIP IF YOU’D LIKE.
The initial Twitter feedback about bringing “realism” to our mythical hedgehog was received and the revised result brings Sonic to life in a way you remember from the video game.
I remember the first time I played Sonic The Hedgehog. I was at a Sears and Roebuck (talk about nostalgia), in the children’s section. Every time we went to the Mall, I begged my parents to let me play Sonic on the Sega Genesis – sometimes at the expense of having to wait for other children to stop playing. We had to park by Sears and enter through the department store. Collecting those rings and racing around the courses always got me pumped up for an often-boring trip into the Mall.
The movie instantly brought back the memory at the Mall. It starts on a planet that looks very much like the Green Hill Zone where our blue little buddy races around in the opening minutes only to be discovered by bad guys with arrows. The movie looks and feels just like the 90’s original – in high definition.
Sonic is played by Ben Schwartz who really brings out the essence of Sonic’s cocky and sarcastic nature. His performance is a delight and really brings the video game character to life. He is snarky, funny and is loaded with attitude.
The weirdest part of the entire movie happens when he meets this Owl named Longclaw who is not mentioned in the franchise. Longclaw gives him his rings which transport him to different worlds. Just before the owl apparently dies, he opens a portal to the United States – Green Hills, Montana, which looks similar to his home planet. We never really find out what happens to Long Claw which is super strange.
Sonic spends the next ten years growing up watching and learning everything about Green Hills.
There is a super cool scene where Sonic plays baseball against himself which really brings back some memories for me as I used to play Sonic Superstar Baseball on the Gamecube for countless hours years ago. It’s just after the solo baseball game when the action really gets rolling.
Sonic realizes he is alone and will always be alone so he starts racing around the bases so fast that he causes an explosion knocking out power across the Pacific Northwest. My 5-year old daughter loved this part of the movie – she turned to me during it and whispered “I can’t believe how fast he is daddy – so fast he made an explosion!” I chuckled and confirmed her thought. How cool that I am sharing a movie with my daughter based on a video game franchise I’ve loved for decades?
After the explosion, the government starts taking notice and low and behold, we meet Sonic’s arch nemesis Doctor Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
Carrey plays his typical schtick which really jives with the essence of Dr. Robotnik as both, at times, seem certifiably insane.
Sonic scrambles to leave Planet Earth before Dr. Robotnik discovers him. At the same time, Green Hills Sherriff Tom Wachowski (James Mardsen), is planning to move to San Francisco to join SFPD. Sonic had been tracking “Donut Lord ” as he calls him up until this point of the movie and so he seeks him because he knows how much he cares for animals.
James Mardsen does a great job playing the “hometown hero.” His character aspires for bigger and better things but ultimately he decides all the ambition and need to be relevant is found in the small things. There was one point where his character received an acceptance letter in the mail – in this modern age of cell phones and e-mail getting a written acceptance letter made no sense.
Sherriff Wachowski shoots Sonic with a tranquilizer gun as Sonic is trying to open a portal to a new planet. The tranquilizer takes effect and instead of opening a portal to said planet, he opens a portal to San Fran by saying San Francisco (which is on the shirt the Sherriff is wearing). As he staggers and gets groggy, Sonic drops his remaining rings into the portal and they land on the Transamerica Pyramid. Sherriff Wachowski and Sonic embark on a journey to get those remaining rings back so our favorite hedgehog can escape yet again to a new planet.
Meanwhile, Dr. Robotnik uses his egg-shaped drones to seek and find Sonic throughout the remainder of the movie with a climax happening when the two adversaries face off in San Francisco in very much the style and feel of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games.
Sonic finally pushing Dr. Robotnik into a portal to a Mushroom infested planet (Sonic hates mushrooms – does this surprise any Mario fans out there?) where he is left to fend for himself while Sonic wins the day!
The movie is pretty epic. I loved the nostalgic moments and seeing Sonic come to life on the big screen. One of the elements that defines Sonic the Hedgehog is his blazing speed and this movie kept pace. There really weren’t any slow elements – everything moved forward fast like our little blue protagonist.
Jim Carrey delivers an eggcellent performance but he isn’t like most of us hard core Sonic fans remember (in the game Robotnick has a bit of a belly). His character arch mirrors what you would expect from this type of antagonist.
I really loved this film and I would watch it again for sure. Maybe more importantly, my wife and my kids – boy (age 4) and girl (age 5) loved it as well. The movie is suitable for any children 4 and up who can sit for an hour and a half of fun.
Thank you Sonic, for another lifetime memory made!
If you want to play a modern Sonic racing game, check out the overview on 2019 Video Game Titles You Need to Pay Attention to – featuring Team Sonic Racing.
I give this movie 7.5/10 game cartridges.