“Sonic” works as a movie: Gotta go fast


Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Thomas Boutsikakis, Staff writer

Most often known as one of the most iconic video game characters of all time, Sonic finally made it to the big screen in the new film “Sonic the Hedgehog.” The film features constant humor and lots of callbacks to the original Sega game that’ll make any fan of Sonic excited to watch the movie.

When the film originally revealed the first trailer for the movie back toward the beginning of 2019, most of the public laughed at the design of the title character. Usually, a movie wouldn’t be phased by any criticism from the public. Director Jeff Fowler, however, wanted to do Sonic justice. 

He decided that they would push the movie back three months in order to rework the design of Sonic.

The movie starts out by introducing Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and giving him a backstory. In his backstory, people who have played the original Sonic game will recognize his home planet as none other than the main world from the video game. 

The movie has a number of these small references to the original game. Another such callback is the town that Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) lives in; this town is called Green hill and happens to be the name of World One from the original Sonic game.

The story then proceeds to show how Sonic got from his home planet to Earth and, in doing so, succeeds in bridging the reality as to how a cartoonish creature like Sonic can exist on Earth. 

Finally, the film introduces Tom to Sonic, and the two go on an adventure of a sort as Tom attempts to help Sonic get off-world and away from the United States government officials attempting to capture him. Their adventure features them getting into all sorts of trouble, usually brought on by Sonic himself, and then how they narrowly escape the danger that is after them.

This pattern gets a little predictable from time to time after discovering that this simple equation is most of the film’s plot. The predictability, however, is a good thing.

A few times the film has scenes where everything but Sonic is completely still because he is moving so quickly. Since this has been used in past films to represent speed, such as some movies in the “X-Men” franchises, it is no surprise when it pops up more than once in this movie. However, even though these scenes are predictable for a character with the ability of super speed, it doesn’t mean they’re any less entertaining.

While lots of video games over the years have been turned into movies, such as “Tomb Raider” and “Mortal Kombat,” none have really done their games justice like “Sonic the Hedgehog” did. 

Sonic tells a straightforward storyline and establishes the popular rivalry between Sonic and Dr. Robotnik. 

Many video game films have tried too hard to be different from their video game counterparts, and in doing so, they give us a movie that nobody wants to see. Sonic, however, thrives on the fact that it’s based on a video game and even runs with it. It gives the audience exactly what they came for: a movie that features Sonic being his classic self that everyone knows and loves.

Many movies that attempt to be funny do so by making cheesy jokes that are all similar and get tiresome after awhile. “Sonic the Hedgehog” avoids this completely. The jokes are all incredibly funny, and it’s exactly the type of humor one could expect from Sonic, mixed in with pop culture references that make it all the more funny.

The jokes themselves are adequate, but it is really the people that deliver them who make them funny. Seeing some classic Jim Carrey humor as he plays Dr. Ivo Robotnik makes this movie all the better.

Moreover, I could not think of a better person to portray Sonic than Ben Schwartz. He has shown in the past through the television show “Parks and Recreation” that he is more than capable of making people laugh, so there is no one better to play a juvenile hedgehog that’s always cracking jokes.

Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey carried this film’s humor on their backs, as they were the perfect people to star in this film. Carrey does a fantastic job of being the weird and egocentric villain that Dr. Robotnik is most notably known for being. 

Had Dr. Robotnik been cast to someone other than Carrey, I have no doubt the film would not nearly be as good as it is now. The only one who can pull off this classic Jim Carrey humor without being cringy is Jim Carrey himself.

The only issue I found with this movie is it’s a little too much like a classic buddy comedy. It attempts to make up for it by recognizing it in the film that it is a buddy comedy, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less bothersome in that aspect. There have been countless buddy comedy movies over the years, and they’re all very similar. The fact that this movie is based on a video game is what makes it stand out from many other buddy comedies. 

Even though the movie lacks originality, it more than makes up for it by using well-timed humor and it’s cast to deliver it. Its humor makes it great for anyone to watch, and it’s callbacks to the original game make it great to watch for those who grew up playing the game. 

This movie delivers exactly what it sought to deliver: a movie about Sonic the hedgehog being his classic self.