Film Corner: Sonic

Sonic the Hedgehog

Kissmate says: Good Evening, Everyone! I figure I'm overdue for a #Kissmatewatches, so let's get one started with Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)! I first saw the announcement and was excited! Then the first trailer came out. After the BLOW-UP of hatred, they fixed Sonic. I've heard nothing since.  I'm no stranger to Sonic, nor his fans. I've seen some of the best of this hero. And I've seen the worst, too. Maybe this won't be so bad?

It's got Jim Carrey in it? Oh, that's... Um... Hmm. Paramount opened with golden rings instead of stars for their logo. It looks BAD. San Fran is the unfortunate host for the battle between Sonic and Dr Robotnik. We nearly get a record-scratch intro before being thrown back in time. Because Sonic always goes too fast for us. So he started the story in the middle. GeT iT?!

We get a TON of tropes right from the beginning that don't fit Sonic at all:
- Must Hide Super Power
- Evil(?) Wants Hero's Power
- Mentor Dies Saving Hero

And who is Longclaw? Why are the Echidnas alive, and after Sonic? I'm pretty sure this is lore-breaking. Like, they got Sonic's cocky attitude right. I'm happy that bare minimum was reached. The island he grew up on looked like it was straight from the early games. After the backstory, we see a cop (Tom) played by James Marsden try to be funny. He is not funny. Sonic fucks with him to see his "high speed score" on the radar. Sonic is happy when he sees 300 mph.

So turns out Sonic secretly lives in Green Hills, which is actually a town. He follows Tom "Donut Lord" who lives with Maddie "Pretzel Lady" while avoiding Crazy Carl who is trying to catch him. I saw they used an old famous fanart of Sonic for Crazy Carl to show everyone. I hope they paid the artist some money for that visual. Also, Sonic hates mushrooms. Because Mario???? IDK

Tom gets accepted to move to the LAPD. He is married to Maddie, which cool because biracial couple (Maddie is black, Tom is white). They have a nice loving and supportive relationship. Back to Sonic, he plays an entire baseball game by himself which makes him realize he's all alone. He runs around the diamond in a fit of angst, which causes an electric explosion, causing the "entire Pacific NW" to lose power. Absurd area size affected aside, it's enough to get the Pentagon's attention. Which is bullshit, I say. Either way, they send out their best lab rat- ohgoodlordplzno

There's no gentle way to say this: Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik is such bullshit for so many reasons. For starters, it's no different than any other Jim Carrey comedy role. Seen Ace Ventura, or The Grinch? Then you've seen Dr. Robotnik in Sonic 2020. Also, they thin-washed a fat man! Robotniki/Eggman has ALWAYS been round and chubby! Carrey is far too thin to play any fat person! And no, fat suits don't count! Hollywood has plenty of fat actors to play the villain!

I feel they made RoboCarrey very Millennial? He (verbosely) called someone basic, and I'm afraid it may get worse from here. RoboCarrey manages to PHDBS his way to get a search for an unknown creature. Sonic panics and tries to use a Ring Warp, but gets interrupted with Tom's tranq gun, thus losing ALL his Warp Rings in San Fran. OOPS. This is one long comedy routine that's not funny more than funny. And most of the successful lands are from Tom, not Carrey! So far, the best part is RoboCarrey shrieking at the sight of Sonic and getting knocked the fuck out.

The pacing in this movie SUCKS. It speeds up certain parts, then drags its feet during others. And for the bits it drags on for, they try to fill some time with "High-LAR-ious" comedy. And it's not cool to write "[insert joke] failed because-" in every tweet. Sonic is a caricature of an ADHD-riddled young boy. As someone with ADHD, this is... This is offensive. And not very Sonic either. Sure, he can have ADHD. I don't mind that. But this is Movie ADHD. Comedy-brand ADHD. Not what actual IRL ADHD is.

This movie could have had Sally Acorn and Amy Rose and Tails fighting off the evil, industrial growth of Eggman/Robotnik! But instead we get Sonic, the Smurfs Retelling. Not Happy. ....Wait, why aren't we focusing or talking to Maddie at all? We have a bar fight and a fart joke, but no catch-up with the only named Black character? What the fuck?

RoboCarrey just beat up a biker dude off-screen and without tech. I thought the movie said he uses tech to overcome brawn? Why couldn't we see something like that? I WOULD TAKE A ROBOCARREY ROBO FIST OVER NOTHING. NOTHING ISN'T ALWAYS FUNNY. IT USUALLY ISN'T. So Sonic is trying to talk Tom out of going to the big city because he's appreciated in that small town? "Yeah, fuck your dream because you already have the dream!" This feels wrong.

Sonic gets injured in a drone fight, so they head to Maddie and her sister's place. The sister reminds me of the Angry Black Woman That's Too Angry To Listen stereotype. She even berates Maddie for not divorcing her white husband. It feels very racist. RoboCarrey gets a music break and... I keep thinking of better actors that would be so much better at this. Oh Good, they tie up the sister because she'll be too in-the-way and too angry to be useful. This is super racist now.

Wow, now we have a joke about kidnapping and child abuse. I am... not thrilled. So they get Sonic to the roof and get his Warp Rings. Not too hard. Lots of shitty jokes, but it's done! Why is there 30 more minutes on the timer? The Ring Toss gets interrupted by RoboCarrey. Quipping. Sonic calls him Eggman and the fight "begins". Sonic Warps the human pair to Green Hills to save them from a fall, and then goes to face RoboCarrey. Sonic uses Warp Rings through several places, but still ends up in Green Hills. The residents lash out with Tom to protect Sonic.

Worst Warp Fight Ever. Oh Sonic just got up and absorbed his stolen quill power while going all staticky. He beats RoboCarrey's ass and sends him to Mushroom Land. Disappointing Fight. And Tom just said "Screw My Dream, I Wanna Stay Here". Fuck his Dreams, I guess. After a bad product plug, they treat Sonic like a child they adopted. They even made up the attic like his cave. Sonic does an awkward Flossing Man dance and we zoom out with family laughter. We see RoboCarrey not doing so well in Mushroom World. Then we get Rap Credits.

AFTER CREDITS SCENE: Miles "Tails" Prower steps out of a Warp Ring and races off to find a "him". That was the closest I've seen to the games this whole movie. I felt like this was made for 12 year olds, so made Sonic the same. Unfortunately, that alienated the rest of the audiences they could have reached with this movie. 3/10, would rather play Sonic '06 than watch again. Yes, I mean it.


Ana says: We have electricity again so OBVIOUSLY we're going to watch the Sonic movie that hit Amazon Prime today. Oh wow, they have rings for the Paramount logo and they look like golden donuts. Oh no, they're starting with the freeze-frame "You're probably wondering how I got in this position" trope with Sonic being chased all over San Francisco by Jim Carrey flying the EPOCH from Chrono Trigger.

Sonic takes us back to "the island where I'm from" which has been rendered to be as faithful as possible to his Genesis debut and the scenery looks so WEIRD because nature doesn't make neat little grids like that. "She was basically Obi-Wan Kenobi, if Obi-Wan Kenobi had a beak and ate mice. ...Turns out with great power comes great power-hungry bad guys." This has more references than Ready Player One, help.

My knowledge of Sonic is basically limited to the cool dysptopian television show I watched religiously as a kid, but Kissmate is upset that the villainous echidnas are not canon-appropriate. The tribe of Evil Echidnas are portrayed with indigenous clothing and headdresses and that seems, uh, super racist as a movie choice??

"Obi-Wan" instantly dies as soon as she's introduced (well, no body = no death, so we'll see) and she uses the rings as portals to get Sonic to safety and yeah this is going WAY TOO FAST. That entire childhood flashback was a meager 3 minutes long and made no sense whatsoever without relying on cheap stereotype filler, i.e., Sonic has "great power" and "someone will always want it". We cut to "Green Hills" where James "Cyclops" Marsden is watching a speed trap on a slow day. Sonic speeds by at 300 mph.

Things we like about Sonic so far:
- he holds turtles correctly like a burger
- he's sweet to animals

Things we don't like about Sonic so far:
- his soundtrack choices could be better
- a Mario joke that didn't really land?

Sonic loves the nearby human town and all its residents, including "Crazy Carl" who puts down bear traps trying to catch him. Sonic's home aesthetic is basically Vanellope from WRECK-IT RALPH. Sonic has a fantasy life in which he's a "family" with Marsden and his wife so it's probably going to gut him that they're about to move from Green Hills to San Fran. His sorrows are otherwise basically if Dash from the Incredibles had been left to run feral, and I find myself pondering whether Speedsters get to have angst that isn't "I never get to really challenge myself." Like, idk, what if a Speedster who was less anxious about having to hide his talent and hold back and instead more anxious about, like, their terrible cooking skills.

Anyway, Sonic has an angst moment and explodes with electricity. All the power goes out for miles, *including* a satellite in outer space. Wait, Carrey plays *ROBOTNIK*?! But he's...thin! They made Robotnik THIN? Wow, I just. Fuck you too, Hollywood. And while Carrey is capable of great acting, he's not bringing the goods enough here to justify thin-washing the character. And we've been watching a lot of Carrey lately and this just feels kind of phoned in so far. It's no Count Olaf, is what I'm saying. Maybe he'll get better, but....they could've gotten an actual fat actor, is the thing.

Anyway, Robotnik now works for the US Government in some capacity and he's been assigned to figure out what that blue explosion was that knocked out all the power. Carrey says he was trained "by Native American Shadow Wolves" so we're really hitting it out of the part on anti-indigenous racism. *wince*

He instantly figured out the size, shape, and impossibility of Sonic, as well as his location. Troops comb the forest looking for Sonic. We're 22 minutes in and this is still going at a breakneck pace. I do like that Marsden is in an interracial relationship with a Black woman; I don't like that her sister is inexplicably antagonistic to him and accusing him of cheating when he's been apparently nothing but a supportive wonderful husband. Why??

ANYWAY, Sonic plans to use the rings to get out of town before the soldiers (??) find him. But he accidentally drops his bag of teleport rings into a portal to San Francisco when Marsden tranqs him, thinking he's a raccoon. It's unclear to me how Robotnik can tell anything from Sonic's footprints since he's wearing shoes and not, like, leaving animal tracks.

Marsden has gotten some good lines and honestly has been carrying the comedy aspect more than Carrey so far. ("Everyone calls me Tom. Except my dentist who calls me Tim, but it's gone on for so long that it would be awkward to correct him now.") I think the problem is that Carrey doesn't seem like he's having fun, whereas his whole act works better when he seems to be enjoying himself.

Carrey immediately shows up at Marsden's house because of science-magic and threatens him with death. Sonic and Marsden barely escape with their lives. Tying Robotnik to the actual US military was probably a bad idea. Like, there's just all kinds of jurisdictional questions not to mention the world-building of Robotnik having flying PORTAL kill-droids, but this is still supposed to be present day because of jokes about Amazon's drone delivery plans.

...Sonic knows about Amazon drone delivery plans but he doesn't know what a phone booth is? The world-building is giving me a headache. I guess Marsden doesn't watch a lot of Die Hard when Sonic spies on Movie Night. It's weird how really nothing has happened and yet the plot is going way too fast. Robotnik found Sonic too fast, I think; that needed to build more suspense instead of being instantly magically easy to solve.

Anyway, Marsden is taking Sonic to San Fran to get his rings (mostly because Sonic guilt-tripped him into it and for no other reason, and you'd think there would be Career-and-Relationship Worries about defying the US Government). They stop for snacks. Sonic has no impulse control whatsoever so while Marsden takes an unfunny phone booth call from Robotnik, Sonic dashes off to a nearby noisy bar and convinces Marsden to stay for an hour so he can experience earth-life.

I have some kind of feels about them giving Marsden a supportive, intelligent, caring Black woman for a wife, establishing their relationship as healthy, and now she's just been shuffled out of the movie? Like, Marsden doesn't think to call her and let her know what's going on? That government agents might be coming to visit her? That he's on the lam with an alien?

I think another big problem the movie faces is that Sonic feels like a 12 year old boy who just ate two dozen pixie sticks, so it's hard to like him if you don't love that sort of movie-child stereotype. Sonic starts a bar brawl and we get the Quicksilver-esque scene where everything stops mid-action so Sonic can run at full speed around the room and change things. It doesn't really work as well as the Quicksilver scene where he's rescuing people from an explosion.

Sonic falls asleep eventually at the hotel while Marsden flips on the television and sees he's been branded a terrorist by the government. You'd think you might wanna call your wife about that! Robotnik, who claims to prefer the elegance of technology over gross brawn now physically assaults his underlings with fancy fighting moves when he's annoyed. What even is character consistency. None of this feels like Robotnik, to be honest. It's strange that they didn't just make Carrey a new villain rather than play an established one all wrong.

Marsden confides about his new job to Sonic (who predictably flips out and yells at him) while Robotnik chases them in a tank with a magic harpoon gun and like- what. WHAT? How did Robotnik suddenly find them on this road? Why does he have a magic tank with magic harpoons? What is the technology level here? Why didn't they just make Robotnik an alien too, rather than have impossible technology the US government does not have? Marsden has a wounded hedgehog so he decides that now he needs his veterinarian wife. Wife and her Sister freak out at his arrival and Marsden, a white man, has to berate them to be quiet. Sister-in-law then sees Sonic and faints to the floor.

I'm always really uncomfortable with plots where a key conflict is that Character A wants Character B to feel more relationship than they do. (That was the only thing I didn't love about Lego Batman, too: Joker's insistence that Bats admit they had a relationship.) I think it's because I have a lot of unwelcome experience with stalking, but like. Sonic has a whole fantasy of Marsden in his head and he's upset that Marsden isn't matching it, when Sonic is a total stranger to him. He's *not* Sonic's dad, and shouldn't have to be.

Oh my god, Marsden's character physically tied the Black woman sister to a chair in order to restrain her. She begs her daughter to be set free so she can use the restroom. This movie so badly needed, like, a sensitivity reader for racism. Marsden explains to his wife that he needs to take the blue alien hedgehog to San Fran and she agrees that, well, his job is to help people so this seems worth being a terrorist on the lam from the government for. They leave the sister-in-law tied up while they "borrow" her car over her objections. And they let Sonic drive.

They arrive at San Fran and get up to the building roof and recover the rings all within 5 minutes and with no trouble whatsoever, which is kind of what I mean about the pacing. I expected "getting the rings back" to be...harder, somehow. Sonic says his goodbyes, but now there's a zillion Gladys drones and Robotnik in the Epoch. Insults are traded and Sonic calls him "Eggman" because of his "flying eggs". Oh dear.

Robotnik fires on the three fugitives. Sonic pushes the humans off the building and goes into Fast Mode to destroy all the drones (ably demonstrating why Robotnik shouldn't be a threat to him!). He flings a ring to teleport Marsden and Maddie into a hayloft back home, though their falling momentum should still kill them no matter how much hay they fall into. A local hayseed asks for Marsden's help since a cow is about to give birth. This is supposed to be humorous but why is he asking the cop and not the veterinarian with him?

Sonic runs and Robotnik follows in the Epoch and now we're caught up to the beginning. I still don't understand why they didn't just make Robotnik an alien; he's... literally blowing up San Fran with a plane that ostensibly belongs some branch of the US military. A chase scene happens which really ought to be interesting, then Marsden uses a ring (how?) to leap onto Robotnik before he can eviscerate Sonic in the middle of the street For Science.

Sonic almost dies but a dose of The Power of Friendship from the townspeople gives him magic lightning powers which he fires at Robotnik. He then beats up the Epoch by flinging his body at it, which is really the closest we've gotten to an actual Sonic game. Marsden opens a portal to the mushroom world (how? how does he know how to work these rings? Sonic had a map and shit!) and they push Robotnik into it. I guess he's Mario's problem now. Marsden and Maddie briefly remember that they left her sister tied up (she's still tied up), and vow never to see her again since it would be awkward. Cool, cool.

A general shows up to thank them for not telling anyone about "recent events" and to clear up that whole terrorist thing. He gives them a $50 Olive Garden gift card and recommends the NeverEnding Pasta Bowl. And now Sonic lives in their attic because he's their adopted 12 year old alien. It's sweet but, like, I'd rather see Sonic as an adult because the dystopian television cartoon was really good and I miss it. BLUE STREAK SPEEDS BY.

The credits make me want to watch WRECK IT RALPH again. Oh, and an after-credit sequence shows Tails looking for Sonic on earth. He flies. The end? Apparently they're planning sequels for this, but I hope they get a better script. The pacing was really way too fast, several major obstacles were solved much too quickly, and it felt like the heroes never really faced a challenge more meaningful than a magic teleporting villain with limitless wizard-tech.


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