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Jeff Fowler
James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Ben Schwartz
Writing Credits:
Pat Casey, Josh Miller

After discovering a small, blue, fast hedgehog, a small-town police officer must help him defeat an evil genius who wants to do experiments on him.

Box Office:
$85 million.
Opening Weekend:
$58,018,348 on 4167 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
English Audio Description
German Dolby 5.1
Latin American Spanish Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
French Canadian Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Japanese Dolby 5.1
Russian Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Latin American Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
French Canadian
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin American Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
French Canadian

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 5/19/2020

• Audio Commentary with Director Jeff Fowler and Actor Ben Schwartz
• “Around the World in 80 Seconds” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Bloopers
• “For the Love of Sonic” Featurette
• “Building Robotnik” Featurette
• “The Blue Blur” Featurette
• “Sonic on Set” Featurette
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Sonic the Hedgehog [4K UHD] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 25, 2020)

While it probably doesn’t seem appropriate to call a movie with an $85 million budget a “surprise hit”, I’ll still toss that appellation at 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog. Originally slated for release in November 2019, fan backlash sent the filmmakers back to the drawing board.

That negative reaction looked like it might smell potential doom for Sonic when the movie finally made it to screens in February 2020. Flicks with that level of bad publicity don’t often come back and achieve success.

However, Sonic managed to overcome the odds. Buoyed by surprisingly positive reviews – and a slate with little “family friendly” competition – the movie earned $306 million worldwide and turned into a decent hit.

Due to various threats, alien hedgehog Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) flees his homeworld and ends up on Earth, where he hides in the woods close to small town Green Hills, Montana. Because he keeps his presence secret, Sonic lacks companionship and feels lonely.

When his sadness causes an outburst of emotion that manifests as a massive electromagnetic pulse, authorities become aware of Sonic’s existence. They send evil genius Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to locate and capture the extraterrestrial.

Before this happens, though, Sonic engages with local cop Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). Though the pair initially butt heads, they find themselves on a shared journey to avoid Robotnik’s clutches and deliver Sonic to freedom.

I never played the Sonic video games because they were Sega and I was a Nintendo guy. As such, I lack any kind of established connection to the character and know little beyond the basics.

Not that I think Paramount counted on Gen X fans to bolster the movie’s box office. Sonic clearly aims for a young audience, but one that I’m sure the producers hoped would include parents – probably the same Gen Xers who played the games in the 90s.

That means Sonic semi-attempts to appeal to both audiences. While much of it remains kid-friendly, the movie offers enough “adult” references to add some value for the parents.

“Some” being the operative word, as Sonic doesn’t offer a ton of appeal for adults. Though it tosses bones to grown-ups, it remains kid-friendly most of the time.

This doesn’t seem like a bad thing, as kids need their own entertainment. Sonic manages just enough adult-leaning cleverness to keep us with it, even as it tends toward the kiddie side of things.

A good cast helps elevate the project. Marsden essentially plays straight man to an animated alien, but he manages to make the role believable, so he grounds the tale and brings some wit as well.

Carrey embraces his 90s self as Dr. Robotnik. He goes for the rubber-faced comedic broadness that made him a star, and he makes the role more engaging than otherwise might seem likely.

Not that Carrey embraces quite the level of wildness we saw from his 25 years ago, as age seems to have tempered his abandon. Still, he appears to enjoy his chance to cut loose like the old days, and he fits the video game situations nicely.

Nothing about Sonic stands out as especially memorable, so don’t expect a film that does anything new or fresh. Still, it delivers 98 minutes of reasonable family entertainment and becomes a likable enough affair, so it winds up as a net positive.

Footnote: a sequel-teasing snippet appears early in the end credits. Nothing new shows up past the 1:32:45 mark, so don’t bother to stick it out through the conclusion of the credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

Sonic the Hedgehog appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The movie offered an excellent visual presentation.

Sharpness worked very well. Any instances of softness remained confined to a handful of interiors and seemed negligible, as overall definition appeared excellent. No signs of jaggies or moiré effects occurred, and I witnessed no edge haloes or print flaws.

In terms of palette, the movie went with Hollywood Standard Teal and Orange - heavy orange and teal, so dominant that actors occasionally went all Oompa-Loompa on us. Despite these extremes, the disc depicted the tones as intended, and they felt positive within those parameters. The Dolby Vision presentation’s HDR added zing and impact to the colors.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows looked smooth and clear. HDR brought extra power to whites and contrast as well. The image satisfied.

I also liked the excellent Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Sonic. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, it gave us an exciting presentation.

With so much action on display, the soundscape boasted many opportunities to shine, and it took advantage of them. The elements used the various channels in an active, dynamic manner. Add to that nice stereo music and some directional dialogue to end up with an engrossing soundfield.

Audio quality also pleased. Music was peppy and full, while speech seemed natural and concise.

Effects appeared dynamic and accurate, with solid low-end response. The soundtrack kicked into high gear often enough to earn an “A-“.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Expect identical audio, as both discs came with the same Atmos mix.

The Dolby Vision visuals worked better than the Blu-ray, though, as the 4K UHD seemed better defined, with more vivid colors and deeper blacks. This felt like a nice upgrade to an already appealing Blu-ray.

No extras appear on the 4K UHD itself, but some materials show up on the included Blu-ray copy, and we open with an audio commentary from director Jeff Fowler and actor Ben Schwartz. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the adaptation of the video game and story/characters, Easter eggs, cast and performances, various effects, sets and locations, and connected areas.

Overall, this becomes a pretty good commentary. Though he offers some of his own perspective, Schwartz acts more as a moderator, and this helps the track progress at a good pace. Though a bit superficial at times, the discussion moves nicely and covers enough useful topics to merit a listen.

Despite its title, Around the World in 80 Seconds actually lasts one minute, 48 seconds. This shows crude drawn-on-notebook-paper animation in which we see Sonic travel to various international locations.

Schwartz narrates, and that adds some charm. Otherwise, this seems like a forgettable reel.

Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of 12 minutes, 55 seconds. Two of these show more of “Crazy Carl”, and we get an extended/alternate origin tale for Sonic.

The fourth brings minor exposition, while the final one provides comedy with secondary roles. The Carl scenes offer some intrigue, but the others feel largely forgettable.

This area comes with a 28-second intro from Fowler. He doesn’t tell us anything of significance.

A collection of Bloopers fills two minutes, 13 seconds. Given the presence of Jim Carrey, I hoped for a lot of improv lines, but instead this becomes the usual goofs and giggles.

A music video for “Speed Me Up” by Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty and Sueco the Child appears. This mixes movie clips with lip-synch performance much of the time. The song’s fairly catchy as well.

However, it also gives us 16-bit representations of the musicians, and these offer some fun.

Four featurettes follow, and For the Love of Sonic runs four minutes. It involves Schwartz, Fowler, executive producer Tim Miller, producer Toby Ascher, writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller, and actors James Marsden, Jim Carrey and Tika Sumpter.

They discuss the game and its move to the big screen. A few insights emerge but the show feels fairly fluffy most of the time.

Building Robotnik goes for four minutes, two seconds and features Carrey, Marsden, Fowler, Sumpter, and executive producer Neal H. Moritz. We learn a little about Carrey’s performance, but mostly we find happy talk.

Next comes The Blue Blur, a six-minute, 21-second reel that involves Marsden, Fowler, Moritz, Sumpter, Carrey, Casey, Josh Miller, Tim Miller, Ascher, Schwartz, Sonic Chief Brand Oficer Ivo Gerscovich, and video game designer Takashi Iizuka.

“Blur” offers a quick look at the origins and development of the Sonic video game. This becomes a pretty efficient overview, albeit one with some of the usual fluff.

Finally, Sonic on Set lasts three minutes, 27 seconds and gives us notes from Schwartz, Marsden, Fowler, Moritz and animation supervisor Clement Yip. The show provides a look at Schwartz’s performance. While short, it comes with some useful notes.

As family entertainment, Sonic the Hedgehog tends to play it safe, but that doesn’t seem like a terrible choice. With just enough sass to amuse adults, the film becomes a fairly likable kid-friendly flick. The 4K UHD boasts excellent picture and audio as well as a reasonable array of supplements. Expect a perfectly watchable effort here.

To rate this film visit the prior review of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main