I have been excited at some of the early release to streaming films during the COVID pandemic. After the initial wave of films released (like Birds of Prey or Bloodshot which you could rent or purchase) or Trolls World Tour (rental only), a lot of other soon-to-be-released films seemed to push back all of their release plans (we'll never get to see New Mutants) I stopped paying attention...that was until Wednesday, when a new advertisement for SCOOB! popped up at the top of our FireTv home screen.
Upon seeing it on our screen, my 4 year old screamed at the top of his lungs "IT'S SCOOOOOOOOOOOB" so we did what all good parents would do in this situation...We took each opportunity to hold it over his head if he was about to misbehave, and he calmed down...and we just finished watching it and here's what I thought."
Scoob! (Warner Animation)
You see how the team is formed, how they get to meet some of their idols in the Blue Falcon and Dino Dog. Finally, you get to see their adventure of chasing a robot-wielding Dick Dastardly who is attempting to open the doors to the underworld to release Cerebus (the 3-headed dog).
Is this the worst movie in the world? No? Is it good? That depends on what kind of lens you look at it through.
1. The billed list of voice talent on this movie is absolutely nuts! You have the "my boobs tell me its raining" girl from Mean Girls, the gal from Jane the Virgin, the kid who sang Get Your Head In The Game in High School Musical, Marky Mark (but no funky bunch), the last man on earth, Dr. Ken etc. The list is long and impressive.
2. Does it bring back the nostalgia of Scooby Doo in my childhood, which I can share with my kids? I think it delivers in terms of the trueness to the origin of the characters, over-the-top absurdity with what they are dealing with, and a heartfelt story, unmasking of criminals who aren't who they really are and more. It hits on all of those bases, and my 4 year old sat still for most of it.
3. The story is a little clunky and jumpy from time to time (which may be why the Critics hated it on Rotten Tomatoes and why Fans scored it way higher). But it is your classic bonkers supernatural caper which we love from the classic days.
4. As a parent of 3 kids under 5 it was a breath of fresh air, it was a good reward, and I felt like it was worth paying $25 instead of the $19 for renting it. Literally at the end of it, my son screamed "THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!" I think people who reviewed and disliked it thought it was a silly, unnecessary reboot...and they're not wrong. But if you have a nostalgia tearing at you, and you have small kids you want to reward with something new (instead of watching the same thing over and over) it's worth the pick-up!
Am I going to watch this movie over and over on my own choice? No, probably not...but if I can see how enthralled and satisfied my children are each time they request to watch it, then it's 100% worth it!
So, I'll call this a comics adjacent review. I know there are some Sonic books out there I've never read (someone let me know if I should), and I think I have a couple folks on twitter I follow who have been hunting several of them down.
I don't really think I had the intention of ever seeing this movie. Yeah, I played the games on my good ol' Genesis and Game Gear back in the day, but I never really got into the cartoons or anything else related to Sonic. One day, my 4 year old (the same one who was chatty during my most recent video) was running around our down stairs area screaming about how he was Sonic the Hedgehog. I have no idea how he learned about who Sonic is, or where he would have seen or watched anything. But it was adorable as hell.
While my wife and I have been juggling our work-at-home schedules, her job is more demanding during the day, so I've taken the bulk of caring for the kids as my 8-5 job (with some actual work with students during the day). We've been playing outside a lot, having a lot of dance parties, I've been getting dunked on by Toby in our basement (while he yells, NO DEFENSE JUST SHOOTING), and I've been exhausted. Today, two factors worked in the kids favor for a day of shows and a break from our rigorous daily schedules: 1. I was tired AF (I blame the Comic Burrito Folks....I was watching their stream forever last night) 2. It was literally freezing rain and a little snow today (and it was lin like the high 60's yesterday), so we got to watch too-much TV.
At the end of the day, when I was tapped out on Max and Ruby, Pinkfong, KooKoo Kangaroo, Kidz Bop, and Paw Patrol, I said, let's watch the new Sonic movie....and Tobs lost his mind.
The joy of these early release films, is I would have spent the same amount of money at home or less in taking myself and one or two of the kids to go see it, so I don't feel bad dropping $20 if I don't think I'll like it...and you know what, I did.
This movie is a little odd at times (but only if you've seen Hop). James Madsen plays the main human character who befriends Sonic after shooting him with a tranquilizer dart on accident. The journey he takes Sonic on is very reminiscent of what he does with E.B. in the movie Hop, so much so, that when my wife came downstairs for a break, she said "Are you watching Hop," watched about 5 minutes of the movie seeing it was different (Tobs also yelled "MOMMMMMMY ITS SONIC!") and she and I agreed it is pretty much the same thing.
However, you get several awesome elements that are at least reminiscent of the video games. The open (which uses the track "Friends" by Hyper Potions, which I listen to all of the time) brings us a young Sonic, running around his home world, which looks like the first 2-3 stages of the original Genesis title. You find the significance of the rings, and you find out why he is hiding on Earth, in Green Valley.
He's sad he is alone, runs himself into a panic, and creates an electric blackout greater than the force created by an EMP, gets himself on the government's radar, thus bringing us our first glimpse of Dr. Robotnik (which Carrey is perfect for). The movie then essentially becomes an action-packed buddy comedy as our heroes travel to San Francisco to retrieve Sonic's ring so he can move to the mushroom kingdom to hide for safety.
The interactions between Sonic and Robotnik become quite reminiscent of me being excited, thinking I had bested the Dr., and then pissed when one robot would turn into three...The final battle throughout San Fran and Green Valley is a great memory of scrambling through levels and collecting rings so you are stacked for the final boss. The two reveals at the end are also great (and I don't want to spoil what you get, but you see an iconic image and an iconic character arrive...probably establishing the sequel...)
What should you do? I think this was worth the $20 on amazon. If you are a Sonic fan, I don't know if you'll love it or hate it, because I don't know if the backstory elements of who Sonic is are representative of his greater universe! But I'd definitely give this movie a solid B or 3.5 Stars out of 5.
The journey of a 30-something father of three who's trying to break into the world of reviewing comics after a loooooong hiatus...