Sonic the Hedgehog Blu-Ray review: a speedy recovery

When the big-screen foray of Sonic the Hedgehog was announced, most people weren’t happy. It wasn’t a matter of casting or anything like that, but rather the somewhat creepy human-esque design of Sonic himself. But rather than release it to the public and prepare for a lambasting, Paramount Pictures delayed the film and gave him a much more loyal makeover. And boy, did it pay off.

Sonic scored big box-office bucks before COVID-19 put a dash in his speedy hopes and dreams, but now he’s on home video for all to celebrate. And if you’re a fan of the fast little hedgehog, you’ll find that this film is definitely up to…speed? Okay, that may be enough puns.

A Decent Story, Backed By a Fun Jim Carrey

In the film, Sonic (voiced by Jean Ralphio himself, Ben Schwartz) comes to Earth, where he makes friends with a police officer (James Marsden) and begins a cross country journey to recover his helpful rings from San Francisco. Hot on their trail is the nefarious Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), an evil scientist who wants to harness the power of Sonic’s quills for his very own.

The redesigned Sonic is ready for battle.

It’s a routine story, for the most part, and one built with family comedy in mind. But somehow, it works. That’s mainly due to the charm of the cast. Though he’s no Roger Craig Smith, Schwartz does a terrific job as Sonic, capturing his persona alongside the CG effects.

But this is Carrey’s show. He’s back to his manic self after a few oddball dramatic choices in his career, and he doesn’t disappoint. He plays Robotnik like the full-tilt diva that he is, right down to the bad jokes (“Rock-conaissance!”) and the awesome makeover he gets at the end. It sets everything in place for a potential sequel, which, honestly, I hope we get.

Would the film have worked the same way without the makeover? I’m actually scared to see if that would be the case. But the fact it ended up as it did – and still remains charming and fun – is a miracle. Paramount actually listened to the fans, and it shows in a movie that’ll breeze right by you in about 90 or so minutes. Oh, and you should stick around for the post-credits scene. You’ll love it.

A Strong Presentation, But Lacking Extras

We were sent the typical Blu-Ray/DVD set for the film along with a digital copy. So we couldn’t tell how the 4K transfer went on that disc. However, the Blu-Ray quality is nothing short of excellent. The visual effects shine on the screen; and there’s hardly a grain in sight when it comes to its exquisite transfer. This is definitely one you’ll want to keep an eye on. The audio is great too, particularly if you have a sound system that holds things up. It definitely gets up to that Sonic level.

As for extras, they’re somewhat lacking. What I wouldn’t give to hear Carrey go on for the whole movie as Robotnik, talking about how great he is in the film. Alas, there are some featurettes here, including one where he talks about his villainous character.

There’s also a fun “For the Love of Sonic” piece that talks about the speedy hero in great length. But, surprisingly enough, there’s nothing here about the process in redesigning him from his somewhat oddball original form. That would’ve been a fascinating piece of dive into.

Jim Carrey is terrific as Robotnik. Fight us.

The Deleted Scenes and Gag Reel are pretty fun, and there’s also a music video if you get into “Speed Me Up” for some reason. We didn’t.

A Rapidly Good Time

Sonic the Hedgehog may not be the best video-game-to-film adaptation out there, but it’s a surprisingly stable one, built on some good laughs, goofy moments (really, Olive Garden?!) and top-notch performances from Carrey and Schwartz, among others. If you’re looking for a good piece of summer entertainment, make sure you warp this one right into your library. It’s worth your precious rings.

RATING: 8/10

Sonic the Hedgehog finds his way home in a package filled with summertime fun.

DVS Movie Review: Sonic the Hedgehog

The Sonic the Hedgehog film manages to avoid the pitfalls of failed video game movies by sticking to the source material.

Video game adaptations of movies are a mixed bag; you generally expect it to closely follow the source material. There have been successful video game movies such as Tomb Raider and Detective Pikachu and flops such as Assassin’s Creed and Super Mario Bros. The Super Mario Bros. adaptation was so bad, Bob Hoskins (who played Mario) said that it was not only the worst job he’s ever done but also called it his biggest disappointment and something that he would edit out of his past in a 2007 interview. Knowing the track record of video game films, would Sonic the Hedgehog suffer the same fate as their Nintendo-based plumber rivals?

Most classic Sonic the Hedgehog media is memorable; could the live-action film create new memories?

I enjoyed watching Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog as a kid; the TV show cast Jaleel White as the voice of Sonic (he would also voice Steve Urkel in the successful African-American sitcom Family Matters) and also played Sonic games fervently in my childhood. I even was Sonic for Halloween, so this was sort of a homecoming for me after Sega significantly chucked the franchise down the toilet in the new millennium. After the fall of Sega as a console developer, the company relegated him to terrible video games on the Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox, and Xbox 360, as well as token appearances on other Nintendo consoles.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Thankfully, Paramount Pictures had bought the film rights to the franchise in 2017 and a cast of James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, and 90s comedy superstar Jim Carrey had joined the cast by 2018. The film was scheduled for a November 2019 release, but fans were upset about the Sonic design. The producers listened, and they pushed the film back to a February 14, 2020 release.

Jim Carrey turns in one of his finest performances in years.

The film avoided a major pitfall by sticking to its source material. The trailer prominently featured the Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. While Tom Wachowski (James Marden) provides straight-man relief for Sonic’s (Ben Schwartz) 500-miles-a-minute speech patterns, the real star of the movie was Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey). The United States government begrudgingly employs Dr. Robotnik to investigate Sonic’s appearance, which sets off the events of the film.

Sonic the Hedgehog Dr. Robotnik

His performance during the movie reminded me a lot of the Jim Carrey of old, who made audiences double over in movies such as Ace Ventura and Liar Liar, harkening back to his roots in physical and slapstick comedy and doing what he does best: playing over-the-top, exaggerated characters. I would go as far as to say that Carrey enhanced the role of Dr. Robotnik, who portrayed a cartoon villain in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog series. Carrey used his experience as someone who portrayed those over-the-top and exaggerated characters and seamlessly placed it into the Dr. Robotnik character like he never missed a beat.

Although Sonic made way too many pop culture references during the film, his performance brings together the Sonic fans of old (such as myself) and younger audiences who may have never heard of him or heard about him from their parents. The film rides the wave of 90s nostalgia and revivals that have been a part of Hollywood for the past five or so years and surfs it almost perfectly from start to finish. The synchronization of the live-action and cartoon elements of the film cannot be ignored either. We hope this kicks off a long string of live-action Sonic movies, as this may be the blueprint that video game movies need to succeed.

Grade: A