My Analysis on the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie
I remember when the trailer for this movie first came out back in last May. It was terrible. I won't go on too long about it because many others have shared their opinions already, but you can't say Sega didn't care about their fans when they chose to redesign the very too realistic Sonic. To be honest, I was planning to see the movie anyway, (I love Sonic and Jim Carrey is awesome too,) though it would have been a cringe-fest all the way through. There are already many reviews out there. Many loved the movie, and many others were critical. Seeing as how this movie was kinda mixed between reviewers, I want to dig into the reasons behind it. Expect some spoilers referencing the end of the movie too.
I believe many of these critics focus on the tropes and formula this movie follows. At the surface, it's about an animated character who gets stuck with a human main character and the human has to put up with the cartoon antics and help with the character's crisis. I'm talking about live-action movies with characters like Alvin and the Chipmunks or Winnie the Pooh in Christopher Robin. Movies with this kind of formula don't usually do all that well. Personally, they've never been my favorite either. Rather than giving a franchise the lovely tribute it deserves, movies like these typically are more concerned about pulling its characters into the real world with a normal man as the relatable character.
Does the Sonic movie follow this formula? Yes.
Does that make it a bad movie? No.
Because of this formula, I thought I would dislike the sheriff as a character, and yet, he was all right. Maybe it was because Sonic wasn't totally helpless to begin with or that he already picked him as his favorite human. Rather than Sonic falling into his lap accidentally, I felt like Sonic was more independent than most other characters in formulas like this. He survived on his own for years, had his own home, and was doing all right on his own, (save for the loneliness) before he got found out. Tom, the sheriff character, had more character development than I thought he would too. Even if a lot of the development and plot-lines in the film weren't too unique, I didn't shake my head too much throughout the film. He had his own life outside of helping Sonic and I thought it was charming at how he talked aloud to himself, to animals, and even to donuts.
I haven't played all the games in the Sonic franchise, but I would still call myself a fan. I'm especially a fan of all the wonderful characters and the interesting universe. The games themselves are usually hit or miss, and not everything in the games is consistent. The infamous Sonic '06 is filled with building ideas that have never resurfaced again. (Though Sega probably did that knowingly by how bad that game was.) Dr. Robonik blew up the moon in Sonic Adventure 2 and the moon hasn't shown any damage since. Yet for every bad Sonic game released, we get two good ones to play like Sonic Mania and Sonic Generations.
This is important in terms of the movie because I feel like the movie fits right in with the existing lore of the franchise. That's very impressive for a movie based on a video game, especially considering how inconsistent some of the games can be. Never before have we learned so much about Sonic's origins and yet I could count it as canon in the universe. The movie also shares a bit of Dr. Robonik's origin and how he came up against Sonic, and that's very interesting to me. Most of us know how the series started with the first game, and like most games of that era, the story was already started when we arrived. Sonic and Tails were the good guys fighting against Dr. Robonik and his mechs.
Though the first trailer showed the terrifying Sonic, I still had to applaud the director's choice of making the movie live-action. the terrifying Sonic is also one of the reasons why the old design baffled me. In many of the Sonic games, the characters are in lifelike cities with human characters. Not cartoon characters. Realistic characters. It already made sense for a Sonic movie to be live-action, and since Sonic is a cartoon even in the realistic settings sometimes seen in the games, they should have stuck with his usual design from the beginning. No point in trying to make Sonic with realistic proportions when he's an alien hedgehog.
As disappointing as the first design was, the teamed showed immense dedication to pleasing the fans by redoing the design. They could have kept it the way it was or even cancel the film from coming out at all.
Even if you're not a fan of the series, it is a good stand-alone movie, but this is why I think critics are rough on it. Without fan knowledge or appreciation, the movie follows somewhat of a predictable pattern and doesn't offer much. If you are a fan of Sonic, each reference will make you smile and love the fandom more (the opening and closing pixel segments were so cute!) That's why I believe you do have to already be a fan of the franchise to fully enjoy the movie.
So the film gave us a little bit of insight into the characters' origins, but the movie didn't explain much. It's clear, even by the mid-way point, that the team has bigger plans for this film. We don't know enough about Sonic's caregiver, Longclaw or the world he came from. The appearance of Tails suggested great things for the next film. I'm eagerly looking forward to more news on the next one!
Are you a fan of Sonic? What are you wanting to see in the next movie? I'm going to go play some Sonic the Hedgehog games now!