Movies based on video games or video game characters that have been a commercial success or reviewed highly are somewhat of a rarity. This kind of success, has eluded media companies like MGM, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Pictures etc. It’s the ultimate gamble, because the more popular the source material (Sonic the Hedgehog the video game) the more you stand to gain or lose from their respective fanbase.
Now, if you happen to get it right then chances are you not only stand to make a tidy profit but also get heaps of appreciation from the fanbase. However, if you do get it wrong then those same loyal fans will make sure their voices are heard. The latter being very true, especially towards the run up of the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie but more on that later.
If history is anything to go by then getting a home run in this type of movie genre is extremely difficult.
What is Sonic, you might ask?
Well for starters it isn’t the U.S fast food chain. It is the video game character created for the Sega Genesis System way back in 1991. They were trying to create a mascot for their own system as how Mario was for the Nintendo console.
I guess you could say that the character Sonic is essentially what you get when you mix a Buzz Saw with a cute Hedgehog plus some 90’s attitude with a dash of blue color for some finesse.
The defining characteristic of Sonic is that he runs fast, like really-really fast. Fun fact, when he turns himself into a ball while running he turns into this spinning lethal weapon like a buzz saw. If you grew up in the 90’s, chances are you either knew someone who had a Nintendo system in their house or a Sega Genisis system.
Our house growing up was primarily a Nintendo household, and my cousins were a Sega household. Going over to our cousins to play video games was quite the treat as we could play Sonic the Hedgehog. I can’t recount how many times we must have tried to collect all the golden rings in Green Hill Zone – Act 1. The music of that level has been itched into the deepest corners of my brain.
So, when Paramount Pictures announced they were working on a new Sonic the Hedgehog movie back in 2018 and it was scheduled for the theater release in 2019. I was cautiously optimistic at best, given the track record of video game adaptation movies generally been bad to awful.
This movie would have also faced a similar fate had they had not corrected course. In April 2019 the first trailer of the movie had released, and boy did it stir up a storm among the fanbase. Fans were very vocal about the new character design and the creators of movie were hit with a ton of negative feedback.
Now, there is an argument to be had about the right to artistic interpretation and freedom that comes with it. But if I’m being honest the Sonic design looked straight up creepy. There was so much going on, they tried to breathe life into a real-life hedgehog and give it humanoid fingers and teeth 😱. It just made the character even weirder and very hard to digest. Especially for the hardcore fanbase, in fact the pressure and feedback was so loud and negative that it led to a complete redesign of the character. This was the first time ever that a big studio actually did the unthinkable, they listened and went back to the drawing board for their character design.
All of a sudden this movie became even bigger, and the production team only set themselves up to even higher fan expectation. But this is one of those times that thank God they did that and went back to the drawing board.
The new character design and trailer was released in November 2019 and was it a smashing success.
Not going to lie the differences were like night and day, it was like wave of nostalgia hit home with some new gusto.
Article in IGN: Sonic The Hedgehog Movie Reveals Official Redesign
Sure enough the rabid fanbase were now singing a different tune, a more positive and appreciative one. This was a big win for the producers of the movie and all positive buzz it was now getting was the lift it needed.
Article in IGN: The Internet Reacts to Old Sonic vs. New Sonic Movie Design
Once the internet had clamed down a bit. It gave time to apricate that the main nemesis of Sonic, Dr. Robotnik was played by none other than the extremely talented and versatile actor Jim Carrey. Sonic is voiced by Ben Schwartz who does a good job in conveying the essence of the character.
Actors James Marsden and Tika Sumpter also do a good job in the movie serving as the stand in for the audience who may not be familiar with the Sonic franchise.
Now the movie came out back in Feb 2020 and it was on my radar to go watch it with my 7-year-old daughter but due to the Covid-19 situation where I live the theaters were shut and the movie had gone by the time my local theaters opened back again.
Had no choice but to wait to it to release on streaming services or Blu-Ray and as luck would have it was available to watch on Netflix. So my daughter and me did a movie night and we were pleasantly surprised and impressed by how the movie was.
Verdict on Sonic the Hedgehog Movie
A Big Thumbs Up 👍. You don’t need any background on the subject, trust me it’s a much better when you watch it as another cartoon live action movie.
Two thumbs up for this one 👍👍.
Yes, if you have an hour and 40 mins to spare and don’t know what to watch. Then it’s a totally decent popcorn movie that you can enjoy even without being a fan of the sonic franchise.
Here’s the thing, the movie is very decent, I (as someone who has played the games as a child and have some knowledge about the source material) and my daughter (who has only seen the character on her Nintendo Switch games) had a good time.
The movie gets a lot of things right. It is very accessible to people who may have no idea of what a Sonic is? The portrayal of Sonic and why is he on earth and how he has survived for so long is handled very well.
The character of Sonic is very relatable, loveable and Ben has done a great job voicing the character. Jim once again shines and he in my books was the perfect choice for playing Dr. Robotnik. Fans of the source material have a very clear picture of what the villain looks like but let’s just say the director and the writers have done a great job to give the fans what they want.
Thanks to “Marvel” all movies need to have mid-post credit and final post credit scene and on that front Sonic the Hedgehog doesn’t disappoint. It is easy to say that fans of the franchise will most definitely be looking forward for Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Case in point – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – See you all in April 2022.