Review | ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ pairs nostalgia with cringe 

Illustration by Gabbie Benda

Josh Clinton, Contributing Writer

One year ago, the internet was greeted by one of the most nightmarish abominations imaginable. The original design of Sonic for the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie was deemed so grotesque by the masses, Paramount did what no one expected: listen to the fans and change the design to be more faithful to the character. 

Instead of looking like he wants to eat your children, Sonic now looks like a cuddly stuffed animal that you’d find at Build-A-Bear Workshop.

The change in design gave the film its reputation, and it illustrates the amount of love for the character that was put into the finished movie. 

“Sonic the Hedgehog” opens with a gorgeous recreation of Sonic’s home — a pop art racetrack set on a lush tropical island. The accompanying music is Hyper Potions’ “Friends,” a chiptune-infused electro-dance track that fans of the video games will remember from the reveal of Sonic Mania.

Hiding in the backwoods as a local cryptid, Sonic spends 10 years absorbing societal norms by peeping on the locals while they watch movies. This results in a radical departure from the braggadocious quipster Sonic to a hyperactive child who’s been raised on pop culture.

So much of the film’s humor is comprised of movie references and what can only be described as quirky product placement. One of the last jokes of the movie is an ad for Olive Garden that was set up in the first act. 

“’Sonic The Hedgehog’ has sped out of the ’90s and into movie theaters nationwide, and the result is a mildly entertaining (albeit extremely formulaic) family film that will largely satisfy longtime fans of the character.” — Josh Clinton

On one hand, this is fitting, as Sonic was designed purely to compete with Nintendo’s Mario to compete for game console sales dominance. 

Much like the overall humor of the film, the plot isn’t anything special. Sonic teams up with a local sheriff on a road trip to San Francisco to recover his portal-popping rings while evading Dr. Robotnik’s robots. While the designs of the robots themselves are pretty generic — in a sleek, iPod kind of way — Robotnik’s drill-outfitted car is a cute throwback to the first level of the original game.

The cast does a fine job, but most of the humor is typical and intended for children. For every chuckle, there’s a heavy sigh, with one major exception — Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik.

Carrey has so much fun playing this villain that the Academy should form a new Oscars award for having the most fun in a role. 

It’s like ’90s Jim Carrey is back; take all the energy from the “Ace Ventura” movies and his time as Riddler in “Batman Forever,” and you get Dr. Robotnik. If memes of him dancing in his evil lair don’t flood the internet, I’ll have lost what little faith I have in humanity.

Watching the character meticulously belittle everyone around him makes me crave a Dr. Robotnik solo film. Given how the film ends, I could see a movie in the future about his solo adventures. 

The characters in this film form a bond, and there’s a half-hearted message about family at the end. This is a template we’ve seen time and time again, but at least now the end product won’t give children nightmares. That being said, I would totally buy a version of the movie with the original design solely for the comedic aspect.

“Sonic The Hedgehog” has sped out of the ’90s and into movie theaters nationwide, and the result is a mildly entertaining (albeit extremely formulaic) family film that will largely satisfy longtime fans of the character.

Rating: 3/5

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