Its not often a Production studio listens to the fans, in fact I don’t think it ever happens…. but Paramount Pictures did and it look like their faith in the fans has paid off!
Going to see Sonic
On Sunday I was invited to the media screening of SEGA’s Number one Speedster and I brought my son, as a bit of a surprise. Basically telling him we were going out for the day just me and him. I purposely wore my “Sonic” red trainers and dropped in hints now and again but alas he never caught on until we rocked up to the Cineworld at Leicester square where the amazing guys from Paramount Pictures UK were waiting for us in their awesome T-shirts.
Lets just say the penny dropped and I had a very excited 9 year old after that. We therefore partook of the games and food on offer and then took our seats, ready for the magic only a cinema experience can provide.
Now before I go into my review lets wind it back a little, tell the tale of a studio…..who listened to the fans over the design of their beloved game character, retooled, redesigned and even pushed the release date back until Valentines day 2020.
On the 30th of April 2019 the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer was released to the world….and in one instance the world replied with a cry of shear horror and disappointment. Sonic, just didn’t look like, well, Sonic and everyone, this writer included, was not happy about it. But what was to be done? Power ahead or listen to the fans, re-shoot, redesign and push the release back?
Initially scheduled to be released in the United States on November 8, 2019, Paramount went with the latter choice and delayed the film to redesign Sonic. Director Jeff Fowler even took to twitter with a tweet saying “We hear you loud and clear, you’re not happy ok, we’re going back to the drawing board”, This one tweet restored peoples faith in the project and the the redesign was shown in a new trailer, which thankfully received high praise.
So, whats it about?
*****SPOILERS AHEAD*******TURN BACK NOW********
Film Synopsis / run through
Sonic (Voice Ben Schwartz) is a blue hedgehog from the plant Mobius who can run at supersonic speeds since his birth. His “Obi-wan” Longclaw the Owl encourages him to hide his powers, the ole “with great power” spiel and those who seek power.
The two are attacked by a tribe of Echidnas (yes Knuckles people), who severely wound Longclaw. To protect Sonic, she gives him a bag of rings he can use to travel to other planets, using one to send him to Earth while she holds off the advancing enemy.
Ten years later, Sonic lives in secret in the town of Green Hills, Montana (great call back to the Green Hill Zone from the game) and idolises the local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) and his veterinarian wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter). Tom has recently been hired by the San Francisco Police Department and is preparing to move.
Although he enjoys his life, Sonic longs for real friends. One night, he plays baseball by himself and after realising his loneliness, he gets upset and starts running around the field. The energy Sonic emits creates an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out power across the county. Baffled, the US Government enlists the scientific genius (little psychotic) Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to help discover the cause of the outage.
Robotnik discovers and tracks Sonic “little bigfoot”, who escapes to Toms Garage, startling the Sheriff, Tom tranquillises Sonic but not before he drops a ring opening a portal to San Francisco and losing the bag containing the precious rings left to him by Longclaw. After he awakens, Tom reluctantly agrees to help Sonic recover the rings. Robotnik invades the house, but Sonic and Tom escape. Robotnik comes across one of Sonic’s quills and Tom is declared a domestic terrorist.
Tom and Sonic then embark on an “Eastbound and Down” road-trip, stopping at Biker Bars (Yes he eats Chili dogs) and discovering Sonic’s upset about leaving Earth and completing his “BucketList” before he leaves. Sonic learns of Tom’s decision to leave Green Hills and becomes truly upset, arguing that he is leaving his true friends.
We discover that Sonic’s power is triggered by his emotions and starts to spark his blue energy just before they are attacked by Robotnik. Sonic is injured in an explosion and Tom hurries to get to San Francisco where he knows his only hope lies with Maddie.
Now a revived Sonic with brand new shoes, thanks to Maddie’s Niece, the three travel to the Trans america Pyramid, where Sonic’s bag of rings landed. Robotnik and his robots attack them at the top, but Sonic uses the rings to teleport Tom and Maddie back to Green Hills. Using the power of Sonic’s quill, Robotnik achieves supersonic speed himself, and he pursues Sonic across the world.
The Battle eventually makes it back to Green Hills, where Robotnik defeats Sonic. However, Tom intervenes by admitting that Sonic is his friend and he will fight for him. Sonic hearing this, and with his emotions running high, regains his strength, reclaims the energy that Robotnik was using and in an echo of Super Sonic ‘spin attacks’ Robotnik straight out of the video game and sends him to a planet made of mushrooms.
With the “Boss” fight over, Tom and Maddie decide to stay in Green Hills and let Sonic live in their house with them. The US government also erases all evidence of the incident, including records of Robotnik’s existence. However, the good Doctor survives his teleportation and still in possession of Sonic’s quill is going insane…plotting his revenge.
After Credit scene?
First things first, when reviewing a film such as this, especially with such nostalgic heritage, you have to understand that, as an adult, there will be stupid things that you don’t find funny, you might even find odd but as much as this is a film based on a childhood hero for you growing up, it isn’t really a film for you. It’s a film for them, my son, the kids of this generation and so I have to say I’m not overly accepting of some of the criticism it has been getting from some main stream critics.
Sonic the Hedgehog is great fun, fast, family fuelled and over the top. Its a Computer game film that actually does a good job for once and despite the demographic angle has enough nostalgia and Easter eggs to keep the old hand, Sega boys, happy. It also seems to have brought back another old classic… 90’s Jim Carrey.. The Ace Venture, Mask, Cable Guy era Carrey is back and he fully lifts this film to a level of enjoyment that very few computer game films have ever done; it was good to see him back on form.
Sonic wont win any Oscars, is somewhat predictable in parts and you can tell where the redesigns are, as the eye level is off slightly but it will put a smile on your kids face and that’s whats it’s all about really isn’t it?
My son was grinning from ear to ear during and after. The sheer excitement on his little face and his repetitive nagging to play Sonic after showed the effect it had on him and that for me was great to see in itself. Reminding me of how I felt when I first played the games and watched the cartoons.
Not a film without its faults but one that passes the baton of nostalgia from one generation to another with the help of people power and a studio that listened for once; Bravo Paramount, Bravo.
A great watch for the whole family.