SONIC (2013, USA, EDDIE LEBRON)
This is a project I remember hearing about a long, LONG time ago, but had completely forgotten about by the time it was eventually released. Long ago, in the days of YouTube when the Irate Gamer was still relevant and warred over, Darknessthecurse was still making videos, yadda yadda yadda (yes, I do consider this time nostalgic, get at me), I remember a video by BigAl2k6 that was a rant aimed at the ever-infamous Spax3, and at one point in the video he brings up Spax attacking the makers of the Sonic The Hedgehog fan film for taking some sort of dramatic license with the character. Naturally, I was interested by the idea of a Sonic fan film, since I had been a fan of Sonic’s stuff up to about Sonic Adventure 2, and I decided to google it, but my lazy attempts at searching for an answer came up empty-handed, and I had probably forgotten about it by the next morning. (NOTE: I have been informed by BigAl that Spax was not actually bashing THIS Sonic fan film, but an unreleased one by Richard Kuta. My apologies.)
Jump to about early January of this year, and on BigAl’s Facebook account, he posted that he had seen a Sonic fan film he had provided contributions to, and was pretty much appalled with what he’d seen, and all of a sudden, the memory just snapped back into my brain. At this point, one thing was certain: I HAD to see this movie, no matter what it took. If it meant buying a DVD, torrenting it off The Pirate Bay, I would sit down with popcorn and Monster Energy in hand and see what desecration had been brought onto the Sonic franchise… until I found out the entire thing was just available for free on YouTube, which made watching it much easier. Did that make the movie easier to sit through at all? NO. NO IT DID NOT.
The 18-minute fan film (or “spec film”, as the title feels necessary to call it) is a gritty and serious take on everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog (is there really any other?), that begins with Julian Kintobor’s airborne invasion of the streets of New Y… erm, Station Square from Sonic Adventure. People begin to talk on TV about the dangers of this invasion, when Kintobor, changing his name to Robotnik, begins his fast tyrannical takeover of Mobius. All of a sudden, S… the “Blue Blur” escapes from the now-destroyed South Island of Mobius and begins to aid the GUN soldiers sent out by the government to try and stop Robotnik and his robotic minions.
I’ll begin with what the good things about this thing are before the real rant begins, just so the people who like to suck on Blue Core’s dick can’t say I’m just a hater. First off, I have to hand it to them for managing to get Jaleel White to reprise the role of Sonic’s voice, even though it’s clear that his voice has aged hard from either the years of doing the Urkel voice for the fans he meets walking down the street or what the drugs have done to his vocal cords. I always liked Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog, and how it’s no good if someone tries to touch me in a place or a way that makes me feel uncomfortable and whatnot, so it was good to see him come back. To make things a little more tolerable, the cinematography in this movie, despite being done on digital cameras (grrr…), looks way better than 98% of fan films, most of which can’t even handle a fucking tripod right. Finally, the best actor in the movie is undoubtedly the guy playing Robotnik; he looks like he’s probably the director’s uncle and I would’ve preferred if he at least looked that abominable “realistic” Robotnik in Sonic ’06, but he was pretty good.
NOTHING else in this pile of smegma works, however. Absolutely fucking NOTHING. For starters, let’s get down to the main reason anyone would watch this thing, which is to see what Sonic himself would look like in a live-action movie, and the answer to that is LIKE DOGSHIT. Normally, I would condemn this sort of thing right off the bat just because Sonic is CGI, but even seasoned horror fans have to know that movies like this and modern superhero movies basically need CGI to do half of what they’re trying to do properly; hell, The Avengers is a CGI-fest and yet almost all of it looks amazing. However, thanks to seeing how CGI can utterly destroy horror and exploitation flicks (The Stendhal Syndrome’s thankfully few CGI scenes are among its worst), I’m still extremely tough on badly-done CGI, and never have I seen CGI more awful than the After Effects bullshit Lebron is trying to pawn off as Sonic here.
The decision to make his character model for this movie reflect the more modern look of Sonic, with the controversial green eyes and all, was admittedly a pretty ballsy move on the part of the filmmakers, but they still manage to fuck it up by attempting to make him “realistic”. For example, look at his retarded-ass wispy hairline and try not to think that it’s some part of his wireframe that some moron working visual effects left in for some stupid political statement. Look at how their decision not to include some kind of motion blur to Sonic’s movement makes him look like he’s running at five miles an hour. Look at how, at one point, SONIC LITERALLY JUMPS INTO THE LETTERBOXING, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS A FEW TIMES WITH BOTH HIM AND THE ROBOTS. Take note, Lebron; CGI can be good if used properly, but if you don’t keep it under intensive and meticulous care, your movie will look cheaper than a Vietnamese whore who got mail-order-brided onto the Sunset Strip. Saying that movies on Syfy and from The Asylum look better than this is a fucking understatement.
Poor CGI aside, the rest of the movie is inexcusably and excruciatingly painful. The cameos that only 15 percent of the audience would notice are especially disgusting; Brentalfloss looks like the director just happened to notice him walking around in New York and asked him for a few shots, the Angry Video Game Nerd looks almost embarrassed to be here and almost breaks into laughter from saying “Kintobor”, I’ve seen better expressions of shock from mummies than the Nostalgia Critic, I get the impression from Stuttering Craig that he’s finally come to terms with being a washed up Internet celebrity, and on Game Grumps, when Egoraptor mentioned his role in the movie, he sounded like he was pretty close to trashing it but didn’t want to offend Blue Core. I would put the rest of the actors in this kind of light, but quite frankly, none of them are noteworthy enough to give any real criticism.
I’ll end the review on one final point so that my self-indulgence doesn’t go off the charts, in that this movie not only contributes significantly to the stereotype that all fan films are intrinsically worthless, it also nullifies all of the progress fan films have made in all the years they’ve been produced and comes close to turning that stereotype into a fact. If “spec film” means to them what I think they’re trying to say, I really hope that Blue Core don’t even think of expanding this to an actual feature-length runtime, and I also hope that if they even try, Sega will block them from doing it and publically vow never to make a Sonic movie, since these people have destroyed any possibility of a live-action Sonic film amounting to anything more than bargain-bin worthlessness. I guess the only thing I have left to question is… what did Spax think about Sonic’s eyes being green in this?
Check Out Instead: Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, House Of The Dead, Silent Hill, Postal
This movie is not out on DVD, and it would be very illegal to sell this in any format.