If there ever was to be a singular character synonymous with the weirdness of the Internet, look no further than Sonic the Hedgehog. Since the ’90s, Sonic has managed to stay relevant with the plethora of memes and other strange forms of media he’s appeared in, despite his many shortcomings that started in the 2000s.
With the initial controversial design of Sonic, the film was on a fast track to fail miserably with no one willing to watch a horrifying creature butcher Sonic’s name further. Frankly speaking, I’m upset it was changed just because I’m a glutton for punishment when it comes to truly terrible movies, and I would’ve enjoyed every second of the flaming pile of garbage.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” manages to make a simple and enjoyable film for both fans of the games and memes surrounding the blue blur with humor and a decent plot.
The plot is generic, but this seems intentional so the film can focus on its weirdness over coherence. Sonic (Ben Schwartz) has secretly lived on Earth for 10 years, hiding from humanity for fear of people trying to steal his power. When he accidentally runs too fast, creating an energy surge that causes the entire Pacific Northwest to experiencea power failure, Sonic turns to Officer Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) for help. Their first encounter results in Sonic being tranquilized out of fear and accidentally transporting his rings to San Francisco. Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) begins to hunt the duo down as they travel there.
The action is entertaining but unoriginal for the most part. Quicksilver from the “X-Men” movies beat Sonic to the punchline of messing with people by invoking wedgies, poking people’s faces and moving allies out of harm's way. Sonic’s physical weakness — shown in gags such as punches delivered as hard as he can that land with the impact of a feather — makes fights more fun, as his boisterous attitude often gets him in trouble with people. Rather than being able to punch through problems, Sonic is forced to influence the environment around him.
Sonic’s lack of awareness creates hilarious moments. Due to his 10-year inexperience of socializing with humans, Sonic takes figures of speech literally and finds joy in nearly any activity. This includes believing that one actually kicks a bucket after they finish their bucket list and that people who practice yoga have no bones considering their flexibility.
Most of the culture he understands is surrounded by speed, including the movie of the same name, “The Flash,” comic books and sports that require quick reflexes. The goofiness of this is accentuated by Sonic learning about humanity by spying on Tom through windows in Tom’s house. Cheesy lines and bucket list moments for Sonic — such as sliding across the roof of a car and starting a bar fight — occur because of this.
This movie knows its main audience, shown through the many references to Sonic memes. Without knowledge of them, casual moviegoers only miss out on a minor joke, but for fans, it makes the movie feel more special. Some references include the crudely made drawing known as “Sanic” and a quick line about chili dogs, a classic Sonic joke often used with irony nowadays.
Dr. Robotnik is an odd and hysterical villain. His trust in his machines over humans quickly shows strange displays of affections to his weapons of destruction. Any interruptions by a human, mainly Agent Stone (Lee Majdoub), causes Robotnik to have a spastic freakout and berate them in an extravagant matter. Robotnik’s growing obsession with Sonic shows in his multiple outfit changes, which result in each uniform getting closer to his signature look while wisely avoiding the unrealistic egg-shaped body.
Sonic’s bucket list is an interesting side plot used to humanize the alien. With only one day to experience life due to the short road trip, he does the most he can to live it up while becoming friends with Tom. His fascination with everything is delightful as he learns about all sorts of activities, like playing darts or ordering food at a restaurant while trying to keep his alien status hidden through a disguise.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” is a hammy movie. A wide range of humor through characters, memes and certain situations keep the film light on its feet. While this remains in the category of strange and bad Sonic media, the film will be immortalized as a prime example of, “so bad, it’s good.”
Contact Caleb Barbachem at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.