Director: Jeff Fowler
Cast: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey
Release Date: May 19, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Powered with incredible speed, Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of super-uncool evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Now it’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the planet in this action-packed hit that’s fun for the whole family.
Everyone’s favorite talking blue hedgehog returns in his first feature-length Hollywood film. ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ accompanies Sonic, alone and trapped on earth where he’s forced to hide or risk exposure. But when one small incident results in a massive power outage, Sonic finds himself forced to seek help in the humans he’s been living beside without their knowledge when the government sends the brilliantly diabolical Dr. Robotnik to investigate. After an unpleasant initial encounter, Sonic and his new friend the local sheriff are forced to set off for San Francisco in order to reclaim Sonic’s means of transportation to other worlds while pursued by the mad doctor whose sole goal is now to capture Sonic and find a means of replicating his unearthly power.
Directed by Jeff Fowler in his feature length directorial debut from a screenplay by Pat Casey and Josh Miller, Fowler does a great job at the helm of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ smoothly guiding along the fast paced fun with a clear passion for the character. The film also benefits nicely from a well selected cast that includes Ben Schwartz (TV’s House of Lies) as the voice of Sonic, in addition to James Marsden (TV’s Westworld), Jim Carrey (TV’s Kidding), Tika Sumpter (TV’s Mixed-ish), Adam Pally (TV’s Happy Endings), Lee Majdoub (TV’s The 100) and a number more, nearly all offering fairly solid and fitting performances for the most part in each of their respective roles, with Schwartz and Carrey both doing a great job of breathing some unique life into their portrayals of Sonic and Robotnik respectively, while still paying tribute to the familiar traits of the franchise’s popular lead hero and villain.
‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ is an immensely entertaining and lightning paced ride for the entire family. Loaded with adventure, excitement and its share of laughs and touching moments sprinkled throughout, plus of course plenty of wonderful and rewarding nods to the character and the various games and media he’s populated over the years that’s guaranteed to slap a smile on the face of longtime Sonic fans. The film does a great job of managing to do its own thing with the character and story, while still making certain to repeatedly showcase their love for prior iterations of the character along the way. Not to mention showing clear concern for the fans; after all, how many films delay a scheduled release in order to redo the key character merely to satisfy the fan base? The film comes together into a delightfully exciting, frequently funny and often heartwarming ride for the whole family that’s definitely worth taking, and the careful guidance of first time director Jeff Fowler is right on point, with the well selected cast helping to really seal the deal and make this one quite special. I would strongly encourage fans of the character and/or the video game series that made him popular, along with anyone already the mildest bit intrigued by the film itself to try and give ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ a fair chance whenever possible. It’s a wildly enjoyable and faithful take on the popular blue hero that’s also a far better movie than you might expect, and a great film for the whole family to relax with and enjoy together.
Overall, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ is a slick, wildly enjoyable adventure for all ages with exciting action and thrilling fun around every corner, combined with plenty of laughs and rewarding moments along the way; all while offering up a surprisingly well made ride that only exceeds expectations around every turn. ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ is highly recommended. It’s an exciting and generally light-hearted adventure that the entire family should have a great deal of fun with. Fans of the Sonic character and the various games and cartoons over the years in particular won’t want to miss out on this surprisingly solid film adaption that manages to bring its own elements and ideas to Sonic’s tale, while still dishing out a number of rewarding Easter eggs to keep longtime fans smiling throughout. This fast paced good time should at the very least be well worth a couple hours of your time and the price of a rental one relaxing evening.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and delivers a sharp, nicely detailed and vividly colored presentation from start to finish with no noticeable faults or issues to be uncovered throughout. It holds up beautifully even during the numerous fast moving and/or darkly lit sequences, never allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should easily thrill fans of the movie and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack makes the perfect complement to the onscreen fun, providing a clean, smooth and splendidly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It continually embraces all seven available channels in order to send characters, vehicles and weapons, along with bits of dialogue, nature elements and plenty more whipping throughout the various speakers with regularity, and never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that delivers in every way necessary (and then some) while contributing its share of additional fun to the viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ features a variety of fun extras for the whole family. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary by Director Jeff Fowler and the voice of Sonic Ben Schwartz’, along with the brief animated short ‘Around the World in 80 Seconds’ (running approximately 2 minutes in length). We’re also treated to some ‘Deleted Scenes with an Introduction by Director Jeff Fowler’ (running approximately 13 minutes in length altogether), plus a fun collection of ‘Bloopers’ (running approximately 2 minutes) and the ‘”Speed Me Up” Music Video’ (approximately 4 minutes). The release also includes a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore the character and its legacy, as well as bringing the film to life; featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘For the Love of Sonic’ (running 4 minutes), ‘Building Robotnik with Jim Carrey’ (approximately 4 minutes), ‘The Blue Blur: Origins of Sonic’ (6 minutes) and ‘Sonic on Set’ (3 minutes). Initial pressings of the Blu-ray also include a Collectible Comic Book in the package titled ‘The Adventures of Sonic and Donut Man’.