A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie is a 1998 animated film in which Sonic finds a way to save the Land of the Sky. Kids will see some cartoon violence and sexually stereotyped portrayals of women. Cartoon characters fight one another with futuristic-looking weaponry, but no one really gets hurt. Sonic's love interest dresses in scanty attire. In one scene, she has a fantasy about being married to Dr. Robotnik, and imagines herself having had dozens of Robotnik's children. Also, Sonic uses the middle-finger gesture while facing off in front of one of his enemies. "Hell" is used once. With the 2020 release of another Sonic the Hedgehog movie, families can talk about the similarities and differences between the two, and about the enduring appeal of Sonic.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Sonic the Hedgehog must save the Planet of Freedom from the plans of the evil Dr. Robotnik in this animated take on the video game character. Sonic the Hedgehog and his pal Tails are summoned by the president of the Land of the Sky. The president and his daughter Sara are being held hostage by Sonic's nemesis, Dr. Robotnik. It seems that an evil Metal Robotnik has taken over Dr. Robotnik's home, the city of Robotropolis, in the Land of Darkness. Metal Robotnik has sabotaged the city's robot generator, and if something isn't done about it soon, the entire Planet of Freedom will be blown up! Dr. Robotnik wants Sonic to rescue the planet. Sonic agrees, especially after Sara pledges her undying love to him if he succeeds. But once Sonic and Tails enter Robotropolis, they must fight Dr. Robotnik's creation, Hyper Metal Sonic -- a robot double-programmed with Sonic's personality. If Hyper Metal Sonic wins, Dr. Robotnik will destroy the Land of the Sky.
Is it any good?
The gleeful, anything-goes approach to Sonic's story is charming, and the elaborate visualizations of his futuristic, surreal, anime-ish world are impressive. It's the kind of world where a character named Old Man Owl breaks into laughing fits for no reason at all, and when the heroine cries, huge torrents of water spring from her eyes. It makes for fun, unpredictable viewing, but it's a type of humor that generally works better in a shorter format. At feature length, you begin to notice that the plot would benefit from a little more character development.
Nevertheless, kids should get plenty of enjoyment from this one. The characters are given suitably spastic voices to match the action. The filmmaking style is very similar to that of Pokémon videos, with fast cutting and characters prone to sudden (but humorous) mood swings. Teens may be outgrowing this sort of thing, but fans of Japan-imation will find enough virtues here to make it worth a look.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what they think the filmmaker was trying to say. Do cartoons usually have messages? Does this one have a message?
What do you think would be the challenges in adapting a popular video game into a movie?
How are women portrayed in the movie? How has the role of women in action/superhero(ine) movies changed (or not changed) over time?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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