Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
|This article is about the 2020 film. You may be looking for the Sonic the Hedgehog (OVA).|
Sonic the Hedgehog (not to be confused with the 1999 OVA film of the same name) (known in Japan as Sonic the Movie or commonly referred to by fans as The Sonic Movie) is a 2020 American-Japanese adventure comedy film based on a video game franchise of the same name published by Sega. It stars Ben Schwartz as the title character Sonic, Jim Carrey as his nemesis Doctor Ivo Robotnik, James Marsden as Sonic's human companion, and Green Hills sheriff Tom Wachowski, and Tika Sumpter as Tom's wife, Maddie.
The film was scheduled to released in cinemas on November 8, 2019, but due to negative reaction to the first trailer, specifically regarding Sonic's design, the film's release was delayed by three months to redesign Sonic; Sonic the Hedgehog premiered at the Paramount Theatre on January 25, 2020, the film was pushed back to February 14, 2020, which is officially released. The sequel titled: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is scheduled for release on April 8, 2022.
Sonic is an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog from another world, fleeing to Earth to escape the villains who want to harness his supersonic energy. After accidentally causing a power outage while hiding out in the town of Green Hills, Montana, he is targeted by the government, who hires the eccentric scientist, Dr. Ivo Robotnik, to hunt him down. Green Hills sheriff Tom Wachowski must help Sonic evade capture, collect all the rings, and prevent Robotnik from using Sonic's powers to rule the world.
Why It Rocks
- Impressive visual effects, with the computer-animation used for Sonic standing out. Other notable examples include computer-animation used for scenes in Green Hill Zone and in Sonic's running scenes, as well as for Robotnik's robots and rockets.
- It takes lessons from the live action Alvin and the Chipmunks movies, and the Garbage Pail Kids Movie.
- Great adherence to the source material with many Easter eggs referencing the video game franchise.
- Sonic uses a sign that says "Hill Top Rd" as a board for table tennis.
- Ring Portal refers to Giant Ring that sent to other locations.
- An island that resembles Green Hill Zone is present, and the town known as Green Hills which is referencing the zone from both the original game, and the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- One scene shows Sonic doing a pose similar to his render for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Sonic also refers to Robotnik as "Eggman", his nickname in the games, more than once.
- The film even includes the Echidna tribe, which is even led by Pachacamac from Sonic Adventure to boot.
- The mushroom world is a reference to Mushroom Hill Zone from the game Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The credits and DVD/Blu Ray menu animation resembles that of the original games from the 16 bit era, which is very creative even for a video game movie.
- Following the negative reception of the first trailer, the film was made with genuine passion and it cares about the fans who grew up with the games and other media and respects the intelligence of children (the film's main target audience) rather than pandering and insulting them.
- Sonic's design here is great and is more faithful to the franchise than the design from the first trailer released in April 2019 with his rocket shoes, gloves, eyes, head, and general body proportions, although still trying to look a bit more realistic.
- Amazing casting choices and acting; Jim Carrey, in particular, puts his famous charisma into Robotnik, channeling his iconic 1990s film roles and stealing the show. Ben Schwartz is hilarious and endearing as Sonic, capturing the charm of the original voice actors for Sonic, Ryan Drummond and Jason Griffith, as well as Roger Craig Smith, with the character's heroic and optimistic attitude. James Marsden also brings a lot of humidity and realism to Tom Wachowski.
- Funny, well-written comedy, notably when Sonic plays baseball with himself simply because he is fast enough to be in over one place at once, and his attempt to disguise himself as a cat in front of Tom, but fails. The fight at the bar is also a great parody of an iconic scene with Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Sonic referring to Tom Wachowski as the "Donut Lord" is also funny.
- Amazing soundtrack by Tom Holkenborg, with the "Speed Me Up", a song that plays in the credits, standing out. "Friends" from Sonic Mania can also be heard during the opening scene with a younger Sonic.
- Baby Sonic has a cute design.
- Some lines will never get old, such as "Uhhh....Meow?........" and "Oh, give me a big! fat! break!"
- Lovable and sympathetic characters.
- Sonic the Hedgehog is a creature from another world who lost his motherly figure at a young age and has been living his entire life on Earth as a loner.
- Dr. Robotnik is an eccentric but intelligent orphan scientist who comes from a history of bullying and has no value for human life other than his own, being a well-written and flamboyant villain all the way through.
- Tom Wachowski is a Green Hills cop with the noble goal of saving and protecting lives and repeatedly makes sacrifices for Sonic and his wife, Maddie.
- It deserves a mention that Tom and Sonic have amazing chemistry, and both execute a funny and heartwarming take on the bromance dynamic.
- Great lines, such as "I was not expecting that. But I was expecting not to expect something, so it doesn't count".
- Several heartwarming moments, like Tom’s niece Jojo giving Sonic his trademark shoes.
- Amazing action, complete with well-executed climaxes. The final battle between Sonic and Robotnik is a primary example.
- Not one, but two exciting scenes (one after the logo and one after the credits) that promise a sequel. The former involves Robotnik being alone on the Mushroom Planet, gaining his iconic bald head and bushy mustache, and claiming he'll be home by Christmas. In contrast, the latter involves Tails coming out of a portal ring and taking flight to find Sonic in the post-credits scene.
- A creative twist on the Paramount logo, in which the stars are replaced with rings. The music is also set to an orchestral rendition of the Green Hill Zone theme. The Original Film logo variant is also creative, with a deeper blue for the text and a red background.
- The pacing is well-done.
- Pays homage to pop culture, like the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate pose mentioned before, and Crazy Carl sketching Sonic, with the sketch resembling the old internet meme Sanic.
- The story is rather generic, as it involves an anthropomorphic character arriving from another world and into the real world, where they meet a human protagonist. They, at first, don't get along and eventually become friends, and they cause tons of mayhem as the movie progresses. Many have pointed out similarities to Hop (though they’re done right here), which are ironic given that James Marsden starred in both films as the human protagonist.
- Despite its faithfulness to the games with some really neat references, a few things go against the original source material. For example, Sonic's fur becomes electrified whenever his emotions are at their strongest; a feature never exhibited in any of the games or any other continuity.
- Some overdone product placement, like the Zillow and Olive Garden scenes (though one of the writers confirmed the gift card scene was just a gag).
- Some dated pop culture references, like Sonic flossing twice in the film, which is counted as the most cringeworthy part of the film.
On December 10, 2018, when the teaser posters were released, they received mostly negative reviews from fans of the franchise, criticizing the furry legs at the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as an unidentified, dark Sonic face that wasn't revealed yet.
Eventually, on April 30, 2019, when Paramount Pictures released the first trailer of the film, it was heavily panned by critics, audience, and even fans alike, due to Sonic’s uncanny humanoid appearance, as well as the use of Gangsta's Paradise. The video had more dislikes than likes. Director Jeff Fowler announced that Sonic’s design would be changed, and it was later announced that the film would be pushed back to February 14, 2020.
On November 12, 2019, Paramount made the original trailer private, and released a second trailer, showcasing Sonic’s new design. The video has a huge like-to-dislike ratio and was praised for Sonic’s new design.
Sonic the Hedgehog received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, audiences and fans alike, who praised the performances (particularly that of Schwartz and Carrey), Sonic's character design and animation, visual effects, action scenes, and its faithfulness to the source material, but criticized its story for its perceived lack of originality. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a critic score of 64% and an audience score of 93%. Its consensus reads, "Fittingly fleet and frequently fun, Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game-inspired adventure the whole family can enjoy -- and a fine excuse for Jim Carrey to tap into the manic energy that launched his career". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 47/100, indicating "mixed or average reviews". It is often considered one of the best video-game based movies, along with Pokémon Detective Pikachu and The Angry Birds Movie 2.
In the US and Canada, the film grossed $70 million on its opening weekend and has grossed $131.9 million overall. In comparison, it grossed $141.1 million in other territories, for a total of $273 million worldwide against a $95 million production budget, making the film a commercial success. It is currently the second-highest-grossing film of 2020, and set the record for the biggest opening weekend for a video game movie adaptation in the US and Canada, beating the $58 million set by Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
Left: New official trailer released on November 12, 2019
Right: Original trailer released on April 30 (original upload removed by Paramount)