Video game fans have been waiting a long time for Hollywood to finally pull off a successful adaption of one of their beloved franchises. So far to date, video game movies are notoriously awful. With the recent success of Sonic The Hedgehog, it appears that is no longer the case.
As successful as the movie has become, it still faces mixed reviews critically. Hardcore fans of the franchise seem to believe that it is a very fun, faithful adaption of one of video games’ most popular characters. Here are five reasons why Sonic The Hedgehog is the best video game movie ever and five reasons why it’s not.
10 Best: The Voice Acting
Some fans were hesitant about the idea of Parks and Recreation actor Ben Schwartz voicing the iconic blue hedgehog. All of those naysayers were swiftly proven wrong following the release of the trailers and eventually the movie as well.
Ben does a great job of capturing the fun-loving speedster with his skillful performance. Along with that fun came a good bit a heart that Schwartz masterfully interwove into Sonic’s voice. Fans of the franchise could not have been more pleased with his interpretation, and it paid off greatly once the movie started raking in money at the box office.
9 Not: Over The Top Performances
It’s evidently clear from the get-go that the filmmakers of Sonic didn’t want to take the material too seriously. They wanted to ground the classic video game character in a real-world setting, and yet they didn’t wish to make any of the actors’ performances feel the least bit authentic.
Over-the-top campiness is often the worst part of any video game adaption. Sometimes, the humor from the games simply doesn’t translate to an on-screen performance. This may have been the case with Sonic’s new movie.
8 Best: (Fun) Over The Top Performances
On the other hand, over the top campiness can lead to a very fun experience for moviegoers. After several decades of studios pushing out “dark and gritty” films, there is quite a high demand for more colorful, out of this world stories. That’s one reason that many of the Marvel movies have done so well.
Sonic The Hedgehog is much campier than any Marvel movie, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Any accurate depiction of these characters would have to include a good dose of campiness. No character in the film (other than Sonic) looks more accurate than Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik by the end, and he gives the most over the top performance by far.
7 Not: Not An Exact Adaption
Given that the original story of the games didn’t have the necessity to follow the same narrative thread that a movie would, it’s almost impossible to fully, accurately adapt the story. That being said, some serious leaps were taken by the filmmakers.
There are plenty of other story ideas that could have more closely resembled the storylines of the games. Sonic The Hedgehog failed to quite capture the exact same experience that gamers had watching the story play out in Sonic’s original medium.
6 Best: The Writing
Although the writing of Sonic may not be the most groundbreaking storytelling, it does do a great job of highlighting this beloved video game character. Sonic’s dialogue, in particular, feels very faithful to the source material.
Where most video game movies fail is in their bad writing. The writers of this film weren’t going for anything revolutionary, they simply used tried and true Hollywood formulas to create a likable adventure for viewer consumption.
5 Not: Too Much CG
As is the case with many of today’s big-budget blockbusters, Sonic The Hedgehog is littered with tons of special effects. Most of these effects are done with CGI, which is definitely a hit or miss tactic.
While CGI does give filmmakers the chance to show truly fantastical things happening in their movie, it also has a way of pulling the audience out of the story. Whether that is the case for Sonic or not is up to each individual viewer. What is for certain, however, is that the more CGI, the better the chance that viewers will become disinterested.
4 Best: The Animation
There was quite a lot of controversy over Sonic’s original design in the very first trailer for the movie. After some serious online backlash, animators working on the film went back to the drawing board.
All of this extra work resulted in a fantastic, super-accurate depiction of the classic character. As it turns out, one of the best parts of the final product is, in fact, this brand new animation.
3 Not: Typical Bad Guy
While Jim Carrey’s performance fits the tone of the movie, his character doesn’t bring anything special to the table. Carrey is a very fun actor to watch in any role, but the writing of Dr. Robotnik was absolutely lackluster.
Perhaps in later installments to the franchise, this villain will be given more depth. That remains quite unlikely, however, given how lighthearted and carefree the whole tone of this film was.
2 Best: Sonic is Perfect
Previous entries on this list have mentioned how good Sonic’s animation is, and how perfectly the performance of Ben Schwartz captures the essence of the character. Those factors, along with several others, combine to give us an absolutely perfect Sonic.
The success of this film has been largely correlated with the accuracy of the titular character’s depiction. Fans got exactly what they were asking for several months ago when they vehemently protested Sonic’s original design.
1 Not: Cookie Cutter Story
While the story does have quite a bit of mainstream appeal, it is a very cookie-cutter blockbuster with no originality. With all of the cartoony craziness of Sonic’s history, the writers could have done a better job leaning into more of that history.
Instead, audiences were given a very typical fish-out-of-water story that all of us have seen in many different films. Such a unique character deserved a more unique story.
Next: 10 Movies & TV Shows To Watch If You Like Sonic The Hedgehog