Is Sonic movie ok for kids? Is the new video game turned live action film ok for children? Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parent guide to the new Paramount Pictures film. No spoilers! #SonicMovie #CatchSonic May contain commissioned links.
Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Review | Safe for Kids?
Should the world really be racing to “catch Sonic?”
Finally, a finish line. After a flawed character design and a roller coaster of emotions publicly on social media, Sonic the Hedgehog movie already had more than a lot to prove. With the hopes of connecting both the nostalgic 90’s kids turned adults and today’s video game obsessed child, Paramount Pictures had the impossible task of bridging these two generations and ultimately winning the “race.” But after a delayed release and a character redesign, you can feel the fandom pleading “for the love, please be good.” This movie is a big deal for many, fans spanning almost 30 years waiting for a decent Sonic movie to arise.
But is the initial character design only the beginning of the movie flaws? Or the end of them?
In this Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m talking visuals, the story, a full PG rating breakdown, and sharing whether I’ll be letting my own kids see this fan crazed film. A no spoiler parent review – this is the post you want to read before rushing your kids to see if Jim Carrey took the physical comedy a little too far.
When does an adorable blue hedgehog NOT look like an adorable blue hedgehog? Apparently during the first Sonic movie trailer. Teasing the live action character reveal on social, the Sonic movie got the bad, the ugly and the uglier on the re-imagined Sonic design.
Thankfully, the Sonic movie team took the fan criticism with humble seriousness. Pausing the movie release (originally set to open for November of 2019) and redesigning the whole CGI look of Sonic with a trending hashtag of #gottafixfast, I appreciated upgrades.
Comparable CGI to the Dora Movie (another Paramount Pictures film), Sonic now has a more palatable friendlier cartoon-y feel, making him more huggable for old and new fans alike. But even for the final product, I wasn’t 100% sold on Sonic’s modern day look.
While I still don’t quite grasp the decision to keep Sonic’s anatomically awkward long skinny legs (let me know if you’re feeling the same as me), the detailed fur, deep coloring and attention to the little things like fantasy-like worlds, the shine of the rings and bright lightning bolts definitely balanced him out. Overall, Sonic felt more life-like and dare I say more lovable?
Video game movies have a deep fan foundation that can be super critical and impossible to please. Bridging the gap between 90’s video game nostalgia while tapping into modern day kid gaming can have great success…if done correctly.
Following behind an already public failure with Sonic’s initial design, I expected Paramount Pictures to take the easy route with a predictable “pull the character out of the video game and into the real world” kind of story. And I’ll admit, I had already set myself up for a shin splint race of a failed movie adventure.
However, this Sonic movie plot takes a turn for the unexpected. Thanks to an all-star cast of Ben Schwartz as Sonic, James Marsden as Tom Wachowski, Tika Sumpter as Maddie Wachowski and iconic comedian Jim Carrey as Dr. Ivo Robotnik, Sonic the Hedgehog movie combines the funny, the emotion, and a story that we have waited almost 30 years for. (Check out the full Sonic the Hedgehog Interview for more from the cast and Director Jeff Fowler.) While certainly not an original story line, I definitely did not find myself bored, as the whole feel of the film was full of energy.
Most similar to the modern day video game turned live action film Pokémon Detective Pikachu, this film has enough nostalgia and pop culture references to keep the fans happy while bringing action and relatability to keep new fans entertained as well. But certainly this film not reinventing the video game-to-movie wheel either.
Without much background story to build off of (a plus for Paramount), it was great to watch Sonic and Tom’s relationship build, as well as any scene with Dr. Robotnik in it. I was thrilled to see Jim Carrey in his 90’s comedic glory, playing a perfect role where you can see (most of) his face for a change. I will say ironically, the end felt…fast. Rushing the villain and hero climax, I could have used a few more Sonic and Robotnik showdowns. But maybe that’s nostalgic 90’s me talking.
I have to give a huge celebration to the casting of a multiracial couple (Marsden and Sumpter) in this Sonic movie. It was refreshing to see on the big screen and a constant visual reminder throughout for kids to look for the deeper messages of this film: friendship, family, discrimination and acceptance.
That PG Rating
Adorable cartoon video game character turned live action hero begs me to ask the question. Is the Sonic The Hedgehog movie kid friendly? It’s no secret that I am highly skeptical of all MPAA ratings (um hello, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not disclosing any language??). And as we know, not all PG ratings are the same. As a parent, it’s been rather heartbreaking to witness how movie ratings have shifted over the years – PG rating oscillating between Incredibles 2 intense and Christopher Robin calm. (Most recently, the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil PG rating was very questionable.)
Why is Sonic The Hedgehog rated PG? For this Paramount Pictures family film, I honestly watched this Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Review | Safe for Kids? unfold with lots of uncertainty. Sonic the Hedgehog is rated PG for “action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language,” is this Sonic the Hedgehog Movie safe for kids to watch? Or is Sonic the Hedgehog too scary for kids? We have lots to talk about.
Adult Themes. Say it with me, innuendo, innuendo, innuendo. To keep parents entertained during the film, the Sonic movie added a few mild adult humor references to keep the cheeky flow of the movie going. I mean with Jim Carrey signed on, did you expect anything less? Think of a much more toned down Ace Ventura (Dude, childhood feels coming back strong today!) meets Dora. There’s also one fart/mild potty humor reference (will go over the head of most young children) and mild peril. But this isn’t the most concerning part of the rating.
Violence. For most of this movie, the violence level is on par with what you would expect from the video game turned live action. While more realistic in the visuals department, the use of fantastical weaponry, lightning bolts and super fast speed lend to an overall unbelievable realm of animated film sort of violence. There’s also use of more realistic guns and ammunition, but no blood or gruesome scenes to be worried about.
However, the most concerning scene of the film actually involves a blue hedgehog and…a bar. Cliché bar behavior ensues. But the actual encouragement and instigation of such behavior, this surprisingly comes from the hero of the story. I think this particular scene has the possibility of sending mixed messages to our kids. Something that may be of big concern to parents.
Language. Thank you, Sonic the Hedgehog movie for disclosing the PG rating correctly. The MPAA “brief mild language” in the film consisted of 3 and a half…(?) swear word references: two H-E-double-hockey-sticks, one female dog, and the written word “sucks” (though never said).
However for more sensitive parents, I did write down a few non-swear words that may raise some red flags: “stupid” (used in a derogatory way), “butt,” “shut up,” two “g-d” in vain references and “whack job” are all said in the film too. Be warned.
What Sonic the Hedgehog movie age rating is recommended for kids?
Is Sonic the Hedgehog safe for kids? What age rating is recommended to watch Sonic the Hedgehog? With that full PG breakdown, I would not recommend Sonic the Hedgehog movie to kids younger than the age of 7-8 years old. Between the bar scene that may raise some questions, the language references, adult humor and a few dialogue heavy moments, I feel that it’s a film for slightly more mature children.
Sonic was a movie predicted to be an utter failure from the very first movie trailer release. While I was certainly expecting this film to make a mad dash to a cringe worthy performance (cough, Cats), Sonic the Hedgehog movie is the visual reminder that every
underdog under-hedgehog can have his day. (Did you catch all of the puns in that sentence?)
Overall, it’s another surprising win for Paramount Pictures. Great casting, balancing the 90’s nostalgic adults with the newer child gamer generation, and a unique story while evoking emotion, humor and strong family connection, Sonic the Hedgehog movie has done what most live action films fail to do today – make a strong come back from the fast track to disaster. While definitely not perfect (ahem, bar scene), the overall positive messaging is something that can bring back family connection, relating to both parents and our video game obsessed kids.
For those hardcore Sonic the Hedgehog video game fans, there’s 1 extra scene before the end credits start that you won’t want to miss. I wouldn’t call it an end credit scene per se, but a pre-end credit scene? Once those credits roll, you can make a “mad dash” out of the theater.
The biggest takeaway? That sometimes the filmmakers don’t get it right. But, every underdog (under-hedgehog?) can rise up from failure. If every filmmaker could put their ego aside, accept their failures, and listen to the fans the way the Sonic movie team did, I think the movie world would have more happy endings like this. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie reminds us that in today’s fast-paced instant gratification world, slow and steady truly does win the race. #nottoofast
More Sonic the Hedgehog inspiration:
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Catch Sonic the Hedgehog movie, racing into theaters on Friday February 14, 2020! Will your family #CatchSonic on the big screen?
I was invited on an exclusive press trip in exchange for this Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Review | Safe for Kids? All photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!