Sonic the hedgehog is out for anxious fans to watch, and it did not dissapoint

In recent years, the prospect of video game movies has been revived through the financial and cultural growth of popular video game franchises. When “Detective Pikachu” was released in 2019, a niche genre for movies seemed to promise a surprising comeback — and “Sonic the Hedgehog” by Paramount pictures did not disappoint.

“Sonic the Hedgehog,”  released on Feb. 14, stars video game company SEGA’s beloved character and mascot Sonic. The film is unlike the characters’ video game escapades in the sense that the movie takes place and is filmed in almost entirely a live-action setting, primarily consisting of various parts of the British Columbia and San Francisco.

Because of the realistic setting of the movie, designers and animators had to find a way to seamlessly blend Sonic’s famously cartoonish caricature into the mundane nature of our world — and the team’s initial design received considerable backlash online.

A strange, human-like body, small beady eyes, and uncomfortably human teeth were among the list of gripes fans had with the design.

Last May  on Twitter, director Jeff Fowler made a promise to all those who had fought back against Sonic’s hideous design: “Thank you for… the criticism. The message is loud and clear… you aren’t happy with the design & you want changes. It’s going to happen. Everyone at Paramount & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be…”

Despite the design mishap, Sonic was reskinned and reanimated for nearly every scene in the movie, and his new design is actually pretty effective. The film itself proves to be a worthy homage to Sonic’s original games.

The story follows the narrative of Sonic, a young blue hedgehog from another world who has lived on Earth for years hiding from people that want to use his super speed powers for bad. After being discovered by the government, Sonic is once again endangered, but loses his means of escape by accident. He enlists the help of Tom Wachowski, a local police officer, to recover his escape method and successfully get away from the bad guys. 

The film is very obviously meant to be a family movie, as it includes a fart joke and not one but two instances of Sonic flossing. But the conflict of loneliness that Sonic faces throughout the movie was surprisingly sincere and caught many viewers off guard. 

Although “Sonic the Hedgehog” is partially meant to appeal to those who aren’t familiar with Sonic’s origins, the team did a fantastic job incorporating slight references to the games and even to internet memes. Those references may have been the best part of the experience. Somehow, there’s no better feeling than getting a reference, laughing, then receiving strange glances from others who are unfamiliar with the nature of the joke.

Sonic is constantly making pop culture references throughout the duration, and while others found this unnecessary and uncalled for, it fits well with the context given for the nature of Sonic’s experience living on Earth. The film did very obviously plug in and advertise services like Olive Garden and Amazon, though, which often times took away from the overall experience.

One of the highlights of the entire film was Jim Carrey’s performance as Dr. Robotnik, the main villain of the movie. His role was entertaining for those new to Sonic while also being fulfilling to those who were more familiar with Robotnik’s character.

Carrey did a great job at doing Robotnik’s crazy and hilarious character justice. Throughout the performance, it’s clear to see that Carrey was engaged in and inspired by the role. In an interview with Jake Hamilton, Carrey even remarked that “[he] wouldn’t mind doing another [Sonic film] because it was so much fun.”

Subplots concerning the regular human characters were alright. They weren’t bad, but they were relatively basic. The movie seemed to place much more interest within individual character interactions between Sonic and various humans rather than the overarching story, but the interactions between the characters felt so natural that the lack of a solidified story never took away from the experience.

The writing was actually rather sharp and featured some genuinely funny jokes and gags. Action scenes are hard to effectively pull off, and the film did well in this regard, too — especially with one particular bar scene so full of details that it instilled somewhat of a feeling of awe.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” was a fun movie that, despite its hardships along the way, turned out to be pretty endearing. It’s certainly not a necessary watch, but if you’re looking for a fun and lighthearted movie to watch with friends on a friday night, this is the film for you.