Have you run through most of the family-friendly programming on Netflix? Or are the kids rifling the DVD collection and complaining that there’s ‘Nothing to watch!’ Then Sonic the Hedgehog promises there’s at least one title ready to plan a family movie night around.
Sonic the Hedgehog is based on the wildly popular Sega video game character by the same name. Sonic has featured heavily in popular culture since the 1990s, so there’s already cross-generational appeal. However, this latest production ups the attraction with an amazingly entertaining cast delivering a valuable storyline.
Sonic is a blue hedgehog from an alternate universe where, from his earliest days, he’s possessed phenomenal power that translates into incredible speed – the sort that allows you to defy the laws of gravity and play ping-pong with yourself. His abilities have attracted hunters keen to harvest those skills though, so he’s been on the run to find a safe place. When he arrives on earth, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) discovers a haven in the American town of Green Hills. A secret observer, Sonic falls for kind-hearted Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) and his wife, Maddie (Tika Sumpter). However, he has to reveal his identity when the government sends in a secret taskforce led by mad scientist Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
Sonic the Hedgehog has all the zippy one-liners and visual jokes you’d expect from a production aimed at late primary and early high school kids. However, its real comic genius lies in Jim Carrey’s ability to bring a character to life. In a time when adults are rightly mindful of lax language that regularly colours comedy blue, Sonic provides the opportunity to revive earlier family-safe Carrey classics like The Mask. Carrey also provides the contrast that drives home Sonic’s key message: the two types of people in this world.
Sonic and Tom Wachowski are a natural fit. Early on, we hear that the sheriff considered trading in his badge for a place on the Californian police force because he just wants, ‘ … to be able to help people in real trouble’. Sonic is just as likely as Tom to put his own interests second. Dr Robotnik, however, is self-serving and dismissive of others.
The subtle definition of friendship that emerges is one Jesus plainly stated to his own companions: ‘Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ Jesus lived those words. There is no limit to his sort of love because it doesn’t concentrate on what we give but on what our friends need.
In a world where children are frequently encouraged to ‘be all they can be’, it’s refreshing to relax in front of a storyline that reminds them that being there for someone else is better.
Sonic the Hedgehog is by no means a gospel presentation, but it will reflect back to kids a truth that is well at home in the Bible. There’s also the hope it will reinforce their wonder when they find its greatest expression is in the one who laid down his life for them.
Great laughs for the family
MARK HADLEY’S TOP 10 TV STREAMING MOVIES THIS MONTH
- The Mask (Netflix)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (Stan)
- Bruce Almighty (Apple TV)
- The Three Amigos (Stan)
- The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Netflix)
- Despicable Me (Netflix)
- Megamind (Amazon Prime)
- The Pink Panther (Stan)
- Fantastic Mr Fox (Amazon Prime)
- Mirror, Mirror (Amazon Prime)
Sonic the Hedgehog
RELEASE DATE: 3 June 2020
This feature story comes from The Lutheran June 2020. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.