Sonic the Hedgehog (2020): ‘Your Blue Friend’ – A Film Review

 

Introduction

In recent years a huge amount of controversy and speculation has been around the use of CGI. We’ve seen more and more family films entirely in CGI, whilst magic, super powers and other effects are increasingly completely in CGI. Two controversies seems to have arisen from all this, above all else, Disney’s CGI live action remakes and the depiction of Sonic the Hedgehog in the first film about him. Upon first look, audiences weren’t happy, so he was reportedly changed ahead of the film’s release. A fact that became, at least, a talking point, at most, a controversy. The filmmakers responded to what audiences wanted? Should audiences be able to change a film mid production? What would serve as a good use of CGI? What should Sonic look like? Despite these questions, this controversy has managed to bring Sonic the Hedgehog a lot of free attention and publicity. Regardless of whether the film is good, you’re going to know it’s out.

 

 

The Hedgehog in the Room

So, with all the controversy, it is perhaps warranted that we start right with the little blue animal. After all that has been said: Sonic looks… okay. The kind of film that Sonic the Hedgehog is looking to be, he’s got the soft and nice animal look, which isn’t realistic but quite cute and animated. Bringing him to have a bit more of a Roger the Rabbit within Who Framed Roger Rabbit kind of function. Despite anything that’s been said, this depiction is perhaps appropriate for the family friendly film about friendship. It is meant as a simple and nice film and it very much is both of those things. It’s quite obvious and almost sickening, over emotionally gripping, but it is nice enough.

 

The Room around the Hog

Around Sonic, we have performances by actors such as James Marsden and Jim Carrey. Here, James Marsden is doing his best Paul Rudd impression, whilst the film is doing its best The Smurfs impression. It comes off as an unfortunate cheap knock off. It is strange that so many family films, based upon characters and environments outside of our reality, see fit to go down the same route: a fish out of water on earth and subsequently bleeding the humour out of it. The set up provides some interest, only to switch this out for our planet earth. Given the storyline and background of sonic, it doesn’t feel too out of place, just overdone already. However, going back to Jim Carrey, we have a largely enjoyable actor in a pretty contrastingly jarring position. Perhaps a poor man’s The Mask or Riddler from Batman Forever could have worked in a sonic film, but it feels out of place amongst the other more serious and grounded characters.

 

Conclusion

Sonic the Hedgehog doesn’t quite deserve the attention it’ll get from the controversy. It is ok and just that. The likability of Sonic and the heart that they’re going for, isn’t too far from the mark, but it all sits far too simply and far too awkwardly within the rest of the film. Dr. Robotnik makes for an odd placement within the film, when he could have been much more if done with a little more subtlety. It’s strange to have to look for a more subtle Jim Carrey, he does the ridiculously obvious so very well. He is perhaps just miscast here, or else, the vision of Sonic the Hedgehog is oddly confused. Not quite sure where it wants to take us but wanting to have the heart and Sonic the Hedgehog makes damn sure you know it.

 

Synopsis

Sonic is in hiding on earth, when he accidentally lets out some electricity, which wipes out the power in the surrounding area and suddenly alerts everyone that some thing is about. Dr. Robotnik is then assigned to discover just what Sonic is, whilst Sonic tries to find his rings to get back home.

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.

 

Films Mentioned

Batman Forever (d. Joel Schumacher USA/UK 1995)

Sonic the Hedgehog (d. Jeff Fowler USA/Japan/Canada 2020)

The Mask (d. Chuck Russell USA 1994)

The Smurfs (d. Raja Gosnell USA/Canada/Belgium 2011)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (d. Robert ZemeckisRichard Williams USA 1988)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Jim Carrey Interview

Cast Interview

Jeff Fowler Interview

Behind the Scenes

Bloopers

Easter Eggs

 

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This was an analytical review of….

 

Sonic the Hedgehog (d. Jeff Fowler USA/Japan/Canada 2020)



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