Of course Sonic got a movie. Hollywood has been trying to make video game franchises into movies since Super Mario Bros, and each movie winds up being a disappointing mess. It’s actually quite impressive how many video game movies there are despite how bad they always wind up being, and it was only a matter of time before they got to Mario’s blue rival. So how bad is this one? How disappointing is it? How completely, insultingly unfaithful is it, and does Sonic still have those horrific chompers from the first trailer? Well actually…
...IT’S GOOD!!! I...I can’t actually believe I wrote those words! A video game movie ended up being good! And...it was a Sonic movie of all things! Isn’t Sonic known for having bad games? But hey, I’m not going to question how this miraculous feat was achieved. I’m just going to enjoy this warm and fuzzy feeling that I watched a good movie.
Let me be clear: it’s not a GREAT movie, but it’s not bad! It reminds me of one of Disney or Pixar’s lesser works--good moviemaking but without a whole lot of originality, and that’s what this movie is. It’s a buddy comedy road trip movie. This type of scenario has been done better, but it was still an enjoyable ride. Much like one of Sonic’s classic games, this movie is more concerned about having fun and not so much on going on a soul-searching journey.
The plot is fairly simple, and it should be familiar to fans of the games. Sonic has to collect rings and avoid being killed by an evil scientist. It’s literally that simple! No Chaos Emeralds, no alien invasions, no time travel, no humans kissing dead animals--it’s back-to-basics for the blue blur, and the movie definitely benefits from that. Keeping it simple makes it more accessible and helps the plot not get too convoluted. So many movies now are concerned with setting up a cinematic universe, but not this one. It just wants to take you on a fun ride that will make you chuckle at its corny jokes and smile when one of those classic tunes starts to play (I’m pretty sure I annoyed my girlfriend as I hummed along to them!).
The lead actors did a fine job. Ben Schwartz as Sonic was a good choice. He had a nice balance of cockiness and impatience with childish wit and affection. This is a very young Sonic who hasn’t even met his lifelong pal Tails yet, so this embodiment of the character made a lot of sense. James Marsden (Why does his real name sound more like a cop name than the character he played?) did a great job as well. This role was probably more fun for him to do than some other characters he’s played over the years (*cough Cyclops *cough), and you can tell he is having fun. But the one who had the most fun in the movie was clearly Jim Carrey. I really enjoyed his interpretation of Robotnik. He’s crazy in the most Carrey way, and it’s a treat to see Jim acting like a real life cartoon character again. All in all, everyone seemed to have fun acting in this movie, and in turn, I had fun watching them.
But now I want to address the big question: how does Sonic look? He looks great! The animators should be given praise for this achievement. In just a few months, they managed to reanimate Sonic with the updated design. I can’t even imagine how stressful the animation process was for this movie, since there’s quite a bit of special effects, and it all looks good. It’s not a spectacle like a Marvel movie, but it gets the job done. The character and robot designs help bring a fresh new look for the Sonic brand with familiar elements that fans know and love. When they initially announced this movie would be in live-action, I thought that was a bad idea just because of how cartoon-y Sonic is, but I am very happy with the final result.
Much like the classic games, Sonic offers a couple of hours of fun for the whole family. With a simple story and an energetic Jim Carrey, there’s not much to complain about, and for a video game movie, that’s a good thing. Let’s just hope they don’t ruin the next installment like they did with games.