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Sonic The Hedgehog (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Sonic the Hedgehog made its awareness even more well known thanks to online fan whining and pouting about the look of the character after the first trailer. This lead to the movie being pulled and set for a later date in order to improve the animation. And I’ll agree, it did look better, but old and animation or new, the movie itself was still going to be the same despite that irrelevant detail getting a fix. And the film got in and made itself some money just in time before theaters began closing their doors. The film also received an advanced digital release upon that shift in movie watching climate, but now is available on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray to own (Released on May 19th). You can relive or check out for the first time all the speedy animated hedgehog versus crazy 90s-like Jim Carrey antics paired with James Marsden smolder when you order it from the paid Amazon Associate link below. Thanks in advance to Lt. Grammar Police for the gripes.

Film

The world needed a hero — it got a hedgehog. Powered with incredible speed, Sonic embraces his new home on Earth — until he accidentally knocks out the power grid, sparking the attention of uncool evil genius Dr. Robotnik. Now, it’s supervillain vs. supersonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using Sonic’s unique power to achieve world domination.

As mentioned above, all the “improved” animation in the world can’t save Sonic the Hedgehog from being a better movie. The film isn’t god awful by any means, but it lands pretty unspectacular at the end of the day. Its a movie akin to the classic 1980s-90s trope of being a kid and finally getting a live action movie adaptation of a game/action figure/comic book/cartoon you love, and it feeling like the adults don’t really understand what it is that makes it tick for you. You’re happy you got something, but it kinda sorta isn’t all that you may have been imagining it could have been.

Brace yourselves, but this movie reminded a lot of seeing Masters of the Universe as a kid. Sure, the characters and villains were there (As well as some new ones) and looked mostly recognizable. However, as a kid, I wanted to see He-Man battling Skeletor on Eternia with Castle Grayskull and all that mumbo jumbo. Instead, I’m given He-Man Goes To Earth. It takes most of the fun, imaginative and big fantasy elements out of what made it special and turns it super regular. And that’s pretty much what we get here with Sonic The Hedgehog. Its your basic fish out of water story again, making him the weird thing in normal world instead of him being regular in a fantastical world. Doctor Robotnik is okay, but not quite fully formed. Likewise with Transformers movies, are we that dull that we MUST have humans in our movies to engage or carry through them? And then, in an end credit scene, we are given somewhat of a movie we should be getting which is a bit of kick to the junk.

Sure, that stuff can come from budget limitations, but this movie was quick to change an entire character at the gripe of an online community. And sure, I’m complaining about a movie “I” DIDN’T get instead of revolving around what I got. And what I received was a nice, good natured film that was overall pretty decent. It rides on with a strong, commanding performance from Jim Carrey that channels how he rose to stardom in the 1990s with roles like Ace Ventura and The Mask. The best moments in the film are watching Jim Carrey let loose or the watching James Marden charm his way through and have some good conversations with Sonic. Overall, though, none of the CG sequences really stood out as impressive.

Yes, I’m hard on this movie, but when I saw it in the theater I actually almost fell asleep watching it. I will give it credit that I thought it was sweet, but playing too safe on the origins and building up for something bigger and more fantastical “next time”. One thing that did surprise me and made me happy was how they used Sonic’s attacks and made the final battle almost like a boss fight in the game come to life. My kids, the ones this is aimed at (Sorry manchilds), did enjoy it, but weren’t much raving about it like others they see. If a sequel goes forth, I’m hoping for a dip into the worlds the game offers, but I’m fearing we’ll just be treated to more Earth-bound speedster hijinks with a few new characters.

Video

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Sonic the Hedgehog was shot in 3.4K and finished with a 2K digital intermediate, making it an upscale title. This does feature a nice uptick from the Blu-ray counterpart. Improved color saturation, detail, depth and black levels are easy to spot. The CGI holds up well and still feels plenty part of the live action stuff aside from obviously being fantastical. The resolution obviously highlights the better picture in the more well light daytime scenes, but the darker interiors and night moments impress as well.

Depth: I can’t remember if this was converted for 3-D release or not, but it is pretty well rounded and features lots of well rounded objects and characters with a good free feeling in each frame. Movements are smooth, natural and feature no issues with motion blurring or jittering in big CG action sequences.

Black Levels: Black levels sit at natural levels with ease and maintain their details on dark fabrics, surfaces and hair follicles. The shadowing and darkness really gives a bump to the color pop with HDR as well. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are a bit similar to the standard Blu-ray, but do feature a bit better saturation and more pop where in counts in the red glare from ships, displays screen and lasers as well as the Sonic blue beams that emanate as well.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Wrinkles, make-up lines, stubble and most all facial textures are visible in any given reasonable frame distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin America) 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, French (Canada) Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish

Dynamics: Sonic the Hedgehog zooms in with a blasting Atmos mix that really does a nice job of making itself known and covering the room around the way and top to bottom. This is a pretty well balanced mix with the vocals, score and effects allowing one another to take their prominence when necessary and never standing over another and interfering. In a world of Disney AtMOUSE and Birds of Prey, something banging like this is very welcome!

Height: There is alot of fun coming from the ceiling channel in this mixture. Helicopters, planes, Sonic speeding by, debris falling and much more makes itself felt with a good, louder, contribution.

Low-Frequency Extension: The subwoofer gets the work done with some good variations in impact and delivers with engines roaring, blasts, explosions, punches and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: The Atmos here is plenty active around the room. Everything is well considered and plays a part, be in in motion, off screen action or simple ambiance. Its also a good loud mix, letting itself known, as mentioned, so its easy to find the contributions of the rear and side channels.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, everpresent and wonderfully audible no matter the chaos onscreen, but never being overbearing or out of place in the action.

Extras

Sonic The Hedgehog comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy code. All bonus features are located on the Blu-ray disc.

The edition sent to me for review included a limited edition comic book pictured here.

Audio Commentary

  • By Director Jeff Fowler and the Voice of Sonic Ben Schwartz

Around The World In 80 Seconds (HD, 1:48) – Sonic tells of his journeys around the world.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 13:23)

Bloopers (HD, 2:13)

Music Video (HD, 3:23)

For The Love Of Sonic (HD, 4:00) – This featurette has the cast and crew loving all things Sonic, through memories and nostalgia as well as pointing out hidden references in the movie and gushing over Jim Carrey in the film.

Building Robotnik With Jim Carrey (HD, 4:02) – This piece is an appreciation of Jim Carrey’s performance.

The Blue Blur: Origins Of Sonic (HD, 6:21) – The history of the Sonic character as remembered by its cast and crew.

Sonic On Set (HD, 3:27) – Some on-set fun with James Marsden and Ben Schwartz during mo-cap recording of scenes.

Summary

Sonic the Hedgehog at best skates by on being decent, but nonetheless is a bit mediocre, skating by on some moments. The 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray easily gives you the best in sound and visuals for the film. Extras are brief and quite fluffy. If you have kids or want to own the best version of the film, this is it.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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