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sonic
25-Feb-20
Sonic Movie reviewed!
You may recall, if you've been watching this page and its attendant Twitter, that I had been somewhat... critical of the Sonic movie in the leadup to its release. I may even have said words to the effect of "you've lost the Sonic fans, and the general audience won't flock to it either". Well $200 million and the price of my own ticket later, let me say that I have never been so happy to be wrong.

There were signs all along, of course, that at least *some* level of attention had been paid to the franchise, even in the bad old Before Time of that excruciating old character model. Even that trailer started with the rings replacing the stars on the Paramount logo, and I am glad to see they kept that nice little touch all the way through to the final film. Then the most grandiose rendition in history of the "SE-GA" two-tone jingle plays, and well, it put me in a mood to be charitable as the film opened.

Luckily there is little need for charity. The film opens with a pretty standard "so, you're wondering how we got to this point?" intro, which follows with Baby Sonic presenting us with yet another backstory/universe for the Sonic series to contend with (but honestly, what's one more at this point?) I will not spoil why Sonic was forced to leave a gloriously-rendered Green Hill Zone, but it was a very nice touch and I enjoyed it immensely.
In fact, that intro and the insight into Sonic's life on Earth that followed went to some surprisingly dark places. I actually wound up feeling sorry for the little guy, not an emotion I often associate with our cocky blue blur. It certainly put some scenes from the trailer in a whole new light, even if that baseball scene actually manages to be a pretty competent parody of a sports movie on its own terms.

And that's the thing: throughout the movie there is some actually pretty smart humour laced among the E.T. chase plot and kiddie jokes. And yes, those are there. There are fart jokes. There is at least one underpants joke. And yes, there is, sigh, The Flossing. But honestly it's spaced out enough to be tolerable. Overall, Sonic's character is fun, kind of like a sassy but excitable pet who wants attention. And can talk. I'm not sure where I'm going with this now.

Anyway, what follows is The Hollywood Kids'/Chase Movie. I noted way back in 2014 when mentioning previous works of the creative team behind the movie that "You're not meant to hear The Smurfs in the same article as The Fast and the Furious", but honestly, that's kind of what we've got here! It's a kids' movie and it's a chase movie. There is a cute talking blue creature from another world, and there is a car chase sequence with gunfire and explosions (and, I have to say, some very clever means of continuing the battle.) Jim Carrey is present throughout as Robotnik, and, oh boy is he present. This is the old Jim Carrey back, the Carrey of Ace Ventura days, and he's pretty great as Robotnik.

Finally of course we come to the big ending sequence with the rings. I know using them to warp around was a controversial choice among the Sonic fandom, but honestly it's hard to establish how you could better use them in a movie setting. SatAM already did the whole Power Ring schtick and the way they're used not only makes for some fun teleportation chase scenes but also makes for a decent plot coupon as well. Then there's the ending battle and it's pretty standard Hollywood, it is basically what you expect.

And I think that kinda sums up the movie as a whole; it hits the notes it was always going to hit, but it does it so well that you can't help but grin throughout anyway. This movie is not Schindler's List or La La Land or Parasite, and it's not trying to be. It knows what it is and it does what it sets out to do extremely well. It may be the Green Hill Zone of filmmaking, and it may stumble once or twice along the way, but overall it beats the level with a solid A-Rank.

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