Sonic the Hedgehog was Surprisingly Good

          This past weekend, I went with a group to go see the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the animation style much better than the original trailer for the film, but the acting, plot, and special effects were all simply delightful for both child and adult audiences.

            First and foremost, the casting for this movie was superb to say the least. Sonic, played by Ben Scwartz - who you may know as Jean-Ralphio in the show Parks and Recreation - did a great job as the beloved blue alien. The comedic timing and emotional performance really elevated the role past a cheesy character in a children’s movie. James Marsden, who plays Tom Wachowski, is also great in his role as a cop; he has a kind heart and really bonds with Sonic as the movie goes on. I especially appreciated Tom because he isn’t worried about masculinity or an image he has to uphold; he’s an animal-loving, caring husband who helps Sonic because he cares about his well-being, which was a nice relationship to watch develop.

            Jim Carey as Dr. Ronotnik absolutely stole the show. Jim Carey is known as a marvelous physical actor who is a master of comedy, and that title is well-deserved here. Dr. Robotnik is not only terrifying in that he is always clearly the smartest person in the room, but he is also the most hilarious person in the movie, and has some of the best lines. I think the kids will think his dance scenes and other physical comedy are funny, while the adults will surely appreciate and laugh at his witty lines. This is what makes him a great character – his complexity and ability to be both scary and hilarious at the same time takes some skill, and Jim Carey does not disappoint in execution. Plus, his costumes were great and made him seem like a sleek and modern supervillain, rather than an extravagant and outdated one, which I certainly appreciated.

            Aside from the acting, there are a lot of other elements that make this movie great. The narrative style of the film is cyclical, which isn’t exactly original, but the formula works. The film opens with a high-speed chase between Sonic and Dr. Robotnik, and then a voiceover comes on over a freeze frame explaining that there was more to the story than what is happening at the present moment. With that, the story starts at its true beginning – Sonic’s childhood.

            The second opening scene plays into the nostalgia for audience members, when Sonic’s home island is introduced, and the landscape is like the videogames that we all know and love. Plus, we get to see a baby Sonic, which is adorable, as you can guess. The special effects throughout the movie are good, too, especially regarding Sonic and his powers. There are a few scenes that deal with Sonic maneuvering through the world in slow motion as he zooms past everyone, which is well done; it’s honestly incredible that the film-makers can even accomplish that. This movie had the potential to be a failure and make Sonic and his powers look cartoonish and cheap, but the studio actually did a great job of making Sonic’s powers look real. I would also like to mention the colors because they make the movie a colorful spectacle. Especially the contrast of Sonic’s blue to Dr. Robotnik’s red is really nice because of the neon quality about them. Plus, the robots and other CGI-heavy elements of the movie are actually realistic and not obviously CGI, which is nice when the title character is completely CGI.

            Another incredible feature is the soundtrack for the movie. With tracks like Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Boom” by X Ambassadors under its belt, the movie has a lot of upbeat and powerful songs that work well with the fast-moving plot. My critique on this part of the film is that the songs were never fully played, which is typical for a movie. However, the songs aren’t played for a long period of time at all, sometimes less than 20 or 30 seconds, where they could be used in full to elevate the scene. The score, though, was really well done and served as great background music for the film.

            Sonic the Hedgehog is worth a watch, even if you don’t know a lot about the videogame. I had only played maybe one Sonic videogame in my life - over ten years ago - before seeing the movie, and it was still enjoyable and easy to follow. If you’re really into the Sonic fandom, though, there are a lot of nostalgic elements that make the movie a fun experience for you, too. The jokes, both obvious and disguised, make this an enjoyable experience for all ages. Go see it if you can, it’s worth it!