Sonic, the bourgeoisie and friendship

Trenton Bann, Assistant Editor

*Spoilers ahead*
Nearly a year after the original trailer dropped, Sonic the Hedgehog has finally released. Since that trailer and the response to the original design of Sonic, the Blue Blur has undergone a complete redesign and a delay in release to 2020.
After the long journey and countless internet memes that the movies pre-release created, we have reached the end, and I am pleased to inform you that Sonic the Hedgehog is a masterclass in film.
Not many films can have the intersectional appeal of both being a family-friendly romp and an intellectual delve into the class-warfare we currently see in America.
After leading in with a narrative from our blue protagonist in the middle of a chase through the streets of San Francisco, we learn it is a tease of later events and is sent back to Sonic’s home planet.
A land resembling the iconic videogame landscape as a baby Sonic speeds across the screen. Sonic the Hedgehog gives us an eccentric rendition of the iconic Green Hill Zone 1 theme from the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game, immediately breaking into the nostalgia of the Sonic fans.
The movie follows its namesake and immediately jumps into the action as the film shows us Sonic and his adoptive Owl mother being attacked by the ruling-class echidnas of the island.
The Owl explains how the echidna clan wants to seize the labor skills of Sonic, his super speed, and use it for their own nefarious goals. Sonic is forced to leave his planet through his teleportation rings and eventually ends up on Earth as a refugee, constantly on the run from the bourgeois entities that seek to profit off of his talents.
Sonic eventually ends up in the town of Green Hills, Montana where we meet the Donut Lord, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden).
Wachowski acts as the replacement Owl Mother for our now adolescent Sonic, despite having never met him face to face. It is only after a mishap with an electrical surge and the government manhunt for Sonic that he and Wachowski meet.
On the run from the government and the super-genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) an unfortunate mishap causes the loss of Sonics rings and Wachowski becoming implicated with harboring an enemy to the United States Government we are sent on an epic race to San Francisco to recover the rings.
Sonic begins to shine after the introduction of the United States government and the main protagonist Dr. Robotnik. The portrayal of the United States government as an entity is pure genius.
The organization is headed by a single man who claims to be the smartest man in the world. Through the movie, he is outsmarted and overworked by those who he says are lesser than him. The movie uses this as a metaphor of how the ruling class underestimates those they deem beneath them.
The carelessness they show as they attempt to assassinate the hero hedgehog and his partner is a powerful portrayal of how the bourgeois will create enemies and a narrative surrounding them to further their own interests.
As Robotnik realizes the power he can harness from capturing the hedgehog, he becomes more focused on coopting that power for his own benefit.
The movie also shows us the progression of Wachowski from being a bourgeoisie sympathizing character to joining the revolution against Robotnik and his attempts of imprisoning Sonic.
He is initially wary of Sonic and almost abandons him until he begins to see the real message that Sonic himself represents, love. After seeing that all Sonic desires is kinship and a friend, Wachowski decides to help him. And while Tom and Sonic together may be powerless, the two show that through working together they can overcome their adversaries.
Sonic extends this symbolism by including what can be interpreted as parody product placements as the main character refers to company slogans word for word and corporations are referenced in very heavy-handed exchanges.
The inclusion of these references offers a set-up for the eventual reference to government capitalist ownership.
As the government offers to reward Wachowski for his heroism against the tyrannical Robotnik by giving them a $50 Olive Garden gift card, far from appropriate reimbursement for the monetary and physical damages caused by the government’s incompetence.
This is another prevalent theme throughout the film. As the narrow-minded Robotnik wreaks havoc across the Pacific Northwest the United States Government does not even attempt to rein him in.
As the doctors’ actions consistently cause damage to both public and private property he is allowed to continue on. Thousands of innocent lives are put on the line as Robotnik will stop at nothing to capture the hedgehog.
As his murderous robots nearly cause an innocent family on a road trip to crash their SUV, he continues to pursue his egotistical rampage against Wachowski and Sonic. Even in the population-dense San Francisco, he is allowed to use his weapons without any sense of the damage he is causing to the city or the civilians he could be harming.
Obviously, Dr. Robotnik is a madman that should not have been allowed to step into a position of authority.
However, his introduction showed us that despite the few members of the military speaking out against the hiring of this man, they proceeded with the action and gave him full power to terrorize the region himself as the government sat back and watched.
Sonic the Hedgehog shows us through this that perhaps the ruling class, in this case, the United States military, should not be entrusted with these decision making powers. In the end, the organization was responsible for creating the enemy themselves, and instead of claiming responsibility attempt to pay off the hero of the story and forget the events ever happened in the first place.
Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog offers a little bit of something for everybody. At its surface, the movie is a fun adventure featuring a beloved video game character.
And upon further examination, you can uncover some extra meaning and lessons that the film can teach us about teamwork, love, and friendship.
The film may not be the best cinematic experience but is a film that anybody can watch and enjoy with more than enough references to please any Sonic fan.