Sonic (2020 Movie) – Short Review

After this movie originally premiered in January, I just recently caught up on it. Everything considered, especially what happened before the movie’s release (more on that a bit later), I was positively surprised!

The movie definitely had a different take on Sonic, his power and Dr. Robotnik. It’s unlike any of the games and series I’ve seen before (and there have been a lot since Sonic’s first outing in 1991), but I think it made for a decently enjoyable time. Not perfect, but as a video game property adaptation it could have done FAR worse. This is a completely new origin story, not building on any previous one, but it has elements and references that show at least a decent level of research on the part of the writers (and potentially consultation from Sega). Instead of the rings giving Sonic his speed or it being the result of an experiment, they made it his (apparently) innate power and ran with it (heh, pun not intended… maybe).

The rings are instead portals to different worlds that Sonic can control, which is what the games often used as a mechanic, so that was a good choice I think. The area “Young Sonic” runs around in at the beginning looks like it would feel right at home in one of the games and the town a big part of the movie takes place in is called “Green Hills”… sound familiar? Robotnik is portrayed by Jim Carrey who is channeling his old-school performances. He starts out as a highly intelligent, but pretty crazy scientist and progressively becomes more and more obsessed with Sonic, over time looking more and more “Robotnik-like”. One thing that was a bit lacking in my opinion was the amount of egg puns… there were some, but by far not enough. I do hope they improve on that with the sequel.

Something that the movie could have used a bit less of were the clichés/tropes (especially one scene in the final parts, you’ll probably know which one I mean when you see it). I also got the feeling that the people involved in the movie saw the positive reception of Quicksilver’s scenes in the X-Men movies and thought they’d stick some of that in this one. To be fair though, it’s not exactly ill-fitting and while the first instance would have profited from it being shorter, it was still entertaining. Actually, the road-trip / comedy duo parts of the movie overall being shorter and instead doing something more with the Sonic/Robotnik conflict would have improved the movie overall, but I still enjoyed it.

Speaking of improvements though, one major improvement happened in between the release of the first trailer and the movie’s delay due to complaints about Sonic’s character design, which looked absolutely HORRENDOUS. The final design they actually used in the movie was a massive improvement, I am glad they listened to the criticism. On a side-note, the effects in general looked pretty good in my opinion, though that doesn’t usually have a big impact on my enjoyment of a movie, unless the effects are really badly done.

Conclusion

If you are looking for some light Sonic-themed entertainment, a good Jim Carrey performance and are not averse to a different take on Sonic, give this movie a watch. BUT, whatever you do, IF you are a native German speaker or able to understand the language well enough for a movie… DO NOT watch this movie in GERMAN. Instead of going the sensible route of going with an actual professional (and not just in the definition of “getting paid for it”) VOICE ACTOR, they chose to cast an “influencer” for Sonic’s German voice… sigh. So… original version: thumbs up, German version: thumbs WAY down. Bad localizer, no chili-dogs for you!

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