The long awaited Sonic the Hedgehog movie does no more than rework cutesy alien tropes. But for fans, the movie will still be a loving tribute to one of the most beloved mascots in video games.
Sonic the Hedgehog Synopsis
Sonic, an extraterrestrial blue hedgehog able to run at wondrous speeds, is forced to take refuge on Earth after being pursued by violent Echidnas. In spite of the circumstances, he enjoys his stay on our planet, fully and comfortably settling in the small Montana town of Green Hills. One evening, Sonic carelessly creates a power outrage, the result of which brings the US military to Green Hills. To investigate the strange outrage, the military enlists the help of Roboticist Doctor Robotnik. The megalomaniac Robotnik is determined to capture Sonic upon discovering the hedgehog’s amazing abilities.
Sonic the Hedgehog is an 80s movie. Before all else, let me declare, yes, I know Sonic was “born” in 1991. The 16-bit era Sonic represents is also more of an early 90 thing, rather than 80s.
But I still say it’s a 80s movie because you cannot miss the adorable alien formula it thrives on, a formula that has ensured the immortality of movies like E.T. and Batteries Not Included. (And in recent years, fueled the popularity of series like Stranger Things) A miraculous lifeform takes refuge on Earth, or tries to hide from unscrupulous authorities, the latter usually the military or an over-the-top villain. Other than his/her/its signature abilities, the lifeform is utterly human, thus gaining the love and help of commonplace folks. The rest of the movie, after the “getting to know you” hilarious sequences, is either a road trip or a grand escape adventure.
Yeah. The 80s cute alien formula. Some critics nowadays lambast this as uninspiring. Nonetheless, there are few cinematic stories as heartwarming and as feel-good.
On the movie itself, it worked its magic on me! Other than Sonic’s irresistible cuteness, I think the one thing that the movie handled perfectly was its tributes to the Sega games.
You can’t miss these tributes if you’re in the know, but neither are they ever too in your face too. In fact, I feel the writers did a superb job in integrating the stages, the action, and the life of the Sonic games into the story. It might be the fruit of intensive research but the writers certainly deliver the impression that they know the games well. Actually, I suspect they not only know, they genuinely adore the games.
In reviewing this movie, one must also highlight that controversy i.e. how bleah Sonic previously looked in previews. Now, I personally find such intense fan reactions disturbing, but in this case, it’s heartening to see everything working out well in the end. Perhaps that’s how video game movie adaptations should go. Rather than the classic way of let’s-produce-and-show, there should be a more extensive consultation process beforehand. Major studios would probably be aghast at this process but given a greater promise of profit, I suspect all will eventually do it, albeit grudgingly.