February 18, 2020

Nobody Knows Best - EP 4: Sonic the Hedgehog Movie

One of the most anticipated movies in 2020 came out. How was it?

Transcript

Armory: Oh boy, let's go!

Intro Music

Armory: So today is February...wait, hold on.

Armory: Today is February 13, late in the evening on the West Coast here, and I just got out of watching the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Armory: Now when this movie got announced, and then people saw the Sonic that would be on the big screen, people were puking, passing out, wondering why his arms were so blue...

I don't know. But it was a huge blow up.

So, eventually, they went back into the lab,  and then...they revamped him...and they got a little bit of help, but they managed to revamp him, make him look decent, and then push the movie out until around now.

Armory: So of course, as one...

Armory: As a person who likes to see blow ups in HD, the second the preorders came [online], I got that ticket. I was, I can't even describe it. It was like I was getting Coachella tickets or something. I was, I got up nice and early and I made sure that I hit the nine o'clock time.

I think it was nine.

I made sure to hit that time. Log in, get the best seats I could, get that HD, and then I waitedand I waited and I waited. But today's the day and I saw it.

Armory: Now before I even get into the details of it, because I took some high level notes of my movie going experience, I'll say this right off the bat.

The movie is decent and I am shocked how decent it is.

I am so shocked that I would still argue, because I tweeted about this, that this Sonic movie is better than the last Star Wars movie. And the more I have time to think about it...the more...right I think I am.

Armory:  So let's talk high level...first, and I'll go into the movie experience and getting into the details.

So what I thought was [that] I was gonna get the Sonic equivalent of the Dragon Ball movie and when that came out with back when I remember excitingly getting tickets with my friends, and sitting in the middle...

Armory:  Ay, keep it down Siri.

Armory: And I remember sitting, like, at that perfect angle in the middle of the theater where you're centered, but you're kind of in the middle so your head is straight on, and you don't have to do anything1.

And, I remember sitting in that row with my friends, and some poor dad clearly got his son the ticket for the Dragon Ball movie. And during the experience as they were doing their weird Avatar nonsense, and they had the high school scenes, and all of that, me and my friends were dying laughing and we could see out of the corner of our eyes at while we are cracking up, heaving, like ribs clenched, laughing,

Armory: [laughs]

Armory: That this poor dad was getting mad. But he. he, he couldn't yell at us or tell us to be quiet because he knew the experience that he signed up for as he saw the movie progress.

So I thought that I was getting that type of experience going here. But it was a surprisingly wholesome movie.

They did some minor remixing of some lore stuff. The intro is kind of weird though because they start off and it's clearly he's [Sonic] in Green Hill zone, and he's zooming around as a child, and then apparently some owl's raising him and telling him that:

Own Guardian: "Oh man, you got big powers and you have to stay a secret and you can't let anyone know otherwise people are going to be after you. But young Sonic is like:

Yung Sonic: "Nah, they can't catch me though."

Armory: And then, like...

Armory: [laughs]

Armory: ...3 seconds later, you see these, this gang of echidnas in like...

Armory: [wheezes]

Armory: In like this...dark garb, which I was like:

Past Armory: "Dang, we're in 2020 and we're still typecasting echidnas like that? Dang, I thought we were beyond that but apparently, if it sticks it sticks"

Armory: But anyway, you see like this echidna army, busting in to his guardian's home or whatever.

And then she's freaking out like:

Owl Guardian: "Oh, no, they know!"

Armory: And then Sonic rides...on her...I think.

Oh, that came out wrong.

Armory: [laughs]

Armory: So then, they try and escape. And then, I think one of them [echidnas] like shoots an arrow and it hits her [owl] like light, right in the rib.

And she falls down. And it's like bleeding. And then she's like:

Punished Owl: "No...Sonic, you gotta escape."

Armory: And she gives him like these bags of rings and what the rings do is if you, if you throw one and think about location, it sends you there.

So she throws out a location on earth. And then he reluctantly goes through it and then sees the...dark echidna army...

Armory: [laughs]

Armory: Coming after her and then of course, they have to have the moment where even though he...can run super fast, he goes through the portal to Earth...and then sees the army coming and then he slow runs as he tries to go back through the ring, but then of course it dissipates and he doesn't know what happens.

And then, I think we do like a time skip of 10 years, and you see that he's hiding away in Montana in a town conveniently called Green Hills; doing that Kojima tech1...in Montana. And he has like, his little clubhouse. And he's trying to...do things but still try and stay a secret. And there's this one guy even like, that they call in the town like this crazy guy who's like,

"Crazy" Guy: I've seen this creature then he shows a picture of it and it's Sanic.

Armory: [laughs]

Armory: And everyone's like:

Townsfolk: "Oh, man, like that guy's crazy. He doesn't know what he's talking about."

Armory: And Sonic is like going around the town and in secret and looking at people's lives and then he has a moment where he's like:

Punished Sonic: "Oh my god, I'm so alone, cuz I have to be this a secret, but I want to have all these connections with people."

Armory: And then...the story kind of kicks off; he becomes buddies with a cop that he kind of stalks, and then it kind of goes from there and overall, is a very wholesome story.

I think they remixed his persona correctly. You know, he's zooming all over the place, but he doesn't know anything. And he has like a very low attention span. Like, there's even one scene early in the movie where he has to go to San Francisco for reasons. And then after some plot stuff, uh...someone's like:

Some Character: "Hey, you can just go there yourself."

Armory: So then he asks how and then the person says:

Some Character: "Hey, you just go west, and eventually you'll find it."

Armory: Right?

Armory: So he zooms off and then five seconds later comes back. covered in seawater and has like a fish on his head, like:

Sonic: "Oh, I went west, and...I just ran to water and water is not great."

Armory: And then immediately, you as an audience member, like, "oh, he could get there instantly, but he doesn't know anything. So he needs to cooperate and have all these bonds with people and stuff."

And then it progresses, and you get into Robotnik showing up and then sort of the overall plot things. But once you get the first 20 minutes or so, you can kind of see where the story is going.

And I'll have to give them credit. There's a bunch of like, kind of cute references. Some very high level references, depending on your dank meme knowledge, some really easy, some others that are like, "uh, you're kinda...that's awfully specific", kind of similar to Joker in that regard, where there are some sort of references and memes that were pretty easy. and then there were some that were like, that was so specific that someone had to be around the block in order to put that in the way that they did, right?

So overall, I would say that the movie experience was shockingly better than I thought.

Armory: But of course prior to the movie, because I'm a responsible adult, I went in there, got there 30 minutes early, sat down, and I want to get a feel for the audience would be like.

Now because I'm a scholar, since this is a once in a lifetime chance I'm gonna go for a slightly higher-end theater. But here's the problem in the area that I'm in. The average person, whether you're going into a slightly high-end theater or your run-of-the-mill theater around, they have way too much money in comparison to the average American person. So it doesn't matter if you go to a high-end place or whatever movie theater, you just see this archetype of people who...clearly are entitled.

And what I mean by that is, I know that not a lot of people maybe in this general area, uh...understand this, but where I'm from, and maybe that could be a cultural thing, maybe that could be a socioeconomic thing, but, when you go to something like a movie or an event, there's a certain reverence that you have. Not that you have to be like dolled up to the nines or anything like that, but there's a certain level of respect that you have inherently to the experience because it's a very rare thing for you 2. It's not something that you expect. So when you have that experience, you want to be on your best behavior and really soak it in and enjoy it because you don't know when it's gonna happen again.

Armory: But it's very clear...what's...common place...

Armory: No, that's not the right word for it.

Armory: You can kind of see what's expected of people versus what's not expected.

And this goes into all the aspects, like how people treat the people serving them popcorn and drinks or how they talk to the ticket people or how they're dressed or how their kids are at-er, acting and all of those things.

And you kind of get this...pretentious vibe. And it's not everyone, but It's very common to kind of get that vibe. And maybe as a person who hasn't grown up in this area and maybe isn't used to that vibe, to me, it may look like pretentiousness and entitlement, when to them, it's just been a thing that you always do, and it's always around. So there's a certain level of, uh, expectations.

Armory: But that's besides the point.

So, of course, when you go to a movie like this, you gotta get a feel for the audience, who's in there, and how people are acting. So I get in there, I get my seat; I was first.

And then maybe 30 seconds or so later. There was an older couple? They could have been a couple that had kids late or they could have been grandparents; could have been either away. And they had a kid. And they were just like talking about stuff. And of course, because at this point the theater is empty, the kid's just running around, jumping down stairs. No, they're not doing anything. And the kid's like freaking out and like, not in a crying type way, but like:

Young Child: "Oh, man, this, this screen is huge!!!"

Armory: And jumping back and forth, while they're just casually talking.

And I'm just seeing this like,

Past Armory: "Oh, boy, is this how the rest of them are going to be?"

Armory: And then slowly people trickle in. Some of them have kids, obviously, this is a kids movie.

Right?

But one thing I was really surprised about that...I saw again when the movie was finished and I got up and left was that...there were a lot of moms, which makes a little bit of sense. But there were also a lot a-of...couples. And it could partially be because tomorrow is Valentine's Day. But then another part of me is like, "you wouldn't make this your Valentine's Day movie."

Like I almost feel like maybe a lot of those couples that I saw either were informed by the controversy and wanted to see the real thing like what I came in to do. Or maybe they liked Sonic as kids and now they're adults and they want to see this movie.

Or maybe someone tricked the other and there they were.

But...yeah, I was really shocked about that.

Armory: And then of course, when you're in any space with a lot of moms, you see the rare sighting.

Because going into I was saying before, when you see a lot of the adults who go to these theaters who are from these areas who are used to having a certain amount of entitlement in their experiences, you kind of see like the standoffish- like attitude or maybe the stress of work or something. And a lot of the moms there, it was, like so clear that on average, they were there with their kid. And probably the kid's father was at some Fortune 500 company grinding away, getting that six figure plus salary somewhere, and she's just entertaining her child. Which is fine, right?

But then there's the rare sighting which I will call the cool mom, and the cool mom, especially in that early childhood development state is a sight to behold. And the reason why is that the cool mom is the one that all the kids like. But if she slightly becomes disappointed or the kids are acting slightly rowdy or something and they can sort of feel that she would be disappointed, they correct themselves.

But then you look at her and she has a very like motherly, positive, very good aura about her that makes younger children comply.

Armory: And the reason why I say it's so rare is that...I don't need to explain this...that much.

If you go on average theater, you're gonna see the families with the kids who are freaking out. And the mom and dad are yelling and trying to control them. And they're [kids] constantly yelling things out. And it gets weird, but you kind of have to have some empathy, because it's probably their one opportunity to have some sort of break outside of their lives. So internally, you're kind of conflicted away where you're like:

"You": "Man, I wish the kid would shut up. But I also understand that the parents or whoever clearly understand that too, so I should have a little bit of empathy."

Armory: But not the cool mom.

With that lady, I'm pretty sure that, uh, there were three of them, I believe. And...I think the son was next to her and then the other two were his friends. And it was very clear, like, she was getting all the good snacks, being positive. They were like joking, talking to each other a little bit before the movie. And then once the movie started rolling, they were super disciplined and you can see their mood go up and down with the film and things like that.

But then...you had some of the other kids; who still didn't build up that awareness yet and who would randomly yell things out.

Armory: [laughs]

Armory: So yeah, I don't know.

Sonic is decent.

And it still blows my mind that they managed to turn the ship around that hard and make something that's okay and that I would watch again...if someone wanted to.

I would say if it popped up on Netflix or the DVD came out, it's worth a watch if you kind of care about Sonic.

Armory: [chuckles]

Armory: But is it bad that part of me wishes It was a huge blow up at the Dragon Ball movie?

Because when that movie came out, there were so much salt...surrounding it.

And it was so...it was so great, reveling in that and...having the in-theater experience of knowing how big of a blow up it is.

Like, I almost wonder if when they did the delay to redo the effects for Sonic, if someone...if some editor wasn't like,

Editor: "Oh man, now I have some time to clean this up a little bit."

Armory: Because if we want to go back to Star Wars, which I was talking about the beginning of this, the last Star Wars movie felt like he was trying to undo everything at the Last Jedi I did.

And I wouldn't say it, the Last Jedi was a bad movie?

But it was one of those...how to put it.

It was a very typical second movie in a trilogy, where there's all these open threads and sort of these awkward beats that happened in the second act. But the hope is that in the third one [movie], something grand is going to be revealed that's going to tie it all together. And then you'll in hindsight, be like, "okay, the second movie was just trying to set up things. So just because it wasn't as good as the first or the last one doesn't mean that didn't have value."

And now the problem, and this is my opinion, is that the first Star Wars movie to me just felt like it was trying to recreate the fourth one.

Like, very poorly. Like it felt...it felt like it was trying to make excuses for having nostalgic shots. So I almost feel like the person writing the script was like:

Script Writer: "Hey, remember that scene from the first Star Wars movie? We need to get that one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and that one. And if we slap all those together, and we put those in the movie and then tease those things a little bit, it will give everyone hope that the whole series will be great and that it will be something that they could pass down to their children or whatever."

Armory: But oh man, that...those last three movies especially that third one, were awful. And you have to think about all the money that went into that series, all the production, all the writing, all the localization, all of the toys, everything. And a movie, about a blue hedgehog, ended up being better than any of those three movies. Plus, being wholesome enough that any point you could turn that on and have a fun goofy time, and everything would be all right.

So this is my call out to Disney: come on, step it up.

You're too slow.

You gotta build that momentum. You need to find that secret sauce again. And maybe that's experiences like the Mandalorian or some other spinoffs; who knows? But in order to keep those things alive, you have to have a strong mainline story that gets people invested. And I feel like some of the kids who may not have experienced Star Wars before, who may be like enamored by this, this last series because it's the first time they've seen something like this, will probably grow up and see the other ones and then in hindsight realize how...bad they were.

And there are things I remember as a kid that were bad that are still nostalgic and make me feel good. But at least there's a quality that I can admire about how cheesy those things were. Whereas, I felt like this last trilogy took itself so seriously. And the pacing was so weird that I don't even think it would tickle...that sort of feeling for that next generation. But who knows, maybe I'm completely wrong. That's possible; I've been wrong many times before.

But, still saying, this [Sonic] movie was decent. It was pretty decent. And, again, I would definitely recommend a peek.

So, with all that said, I'm gonna wrap this one up. I'm going to try and take care of some things around this place. And I'm looking forward to where this goes, because in the end of the Sonic movie, they do the teaser that everyone would have guessed. But based on how the teaser came out, I'm kind of curious if they're trying to reimagine Sonic Adventure.

And with that, that's all I got to say.

End Music

1 P.T, aka, Silent Hills

2 Also, you want to respect the movie/audience