Film Club: Sonic Prime – Season 1 (Netflix)

A great debut for the character marred only by an abrupt end to the first season!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 01/18/2023 13:51 Comment on this     ShareThis

Film Club is where we take a look at video game movies and TV shows and offer our impressions and insights. Part review, part reflection, Film Club is a great way to find something new to watch based on all of our favorite pastime. Warning: mild spoilers ahead!

Sonic Prime is the Blue Blur’s first TV show developed exclusively for streaming giant Netflix. Following the runaway success of the first and second Sonic the Hedgehog movies, hopes were high that this new cartoon would be able to capture the energy and excitement of Paramount’s film series. With the first season under its belt, fans of Sonic can rest assured that Sonic Prime is a raucous adventure very much worthy of a binge.

Sonic Prime is a CG cartoon starring Sonic and the familiar faces of Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, with Eggman acting as the antagonist. From the outset, one might quickly think that the characters were pulled straight from the latest Sonic video game. The designs here are far more faithful to the depictions of the characters from SEGA’s games over the years, much more so than the live action movies. Longtime and new fans alike will be won over by these depictions of Sonic and friends, as well as the colorful, creative environments that all the action takes place in.

The story itself centers on a conflict between Eggman and Sonic (surprise, surprise). Eggman has gotten his hands on something called the Paradox Prism which sends Sonic and company careening into their version of the multiverse. Dubbed the Shatterverse, Sonic finds himself bouncing between numerous realities where all of his friends have different personas and lives than the ones he’s familiar with. The result is some fun reimagining of characters like Knuckles as a reluctant captain of a pirate ship and Amy as a fierce warrior in a jungle. While it feels like the concept of the multiverse is becoming oversaturated in a lot of the fantasy movies hitting cinemas, the Shatterverse manages to keep things fresh.

The tone of Sonic Prime is more in line with that of the cartoons from the early ’90s. Sonic and his buddies are portrayed as plucky freedom fighters taking on Eggman and his oppressive regime. All of the characters are energetic and fun (well, except for some of the variants that pop up in the Shatterverse, but we’ll let you discover them on your own), lending the show well especially to families looking for wholesome entertainment. Still, the storytelling and characterization is sophisticated enough that even older fans will enjoy themselves throughout these initial eight-episodes.

It’s worth noting that entertainment house Man of Action worked on Sonic Prime. Helmed by comic book industry veterans including Joe Kelly, who many will recognize from his iconic run on the Deadpool comic in the ’90s, Man of Action has had a hand in several beloved cartoons over the years, most notably Ben 10. The voice cast, which features Deven Mack as Sonic, is a great ensemble and fit the characters well. The animation, meanwhile, is top notch. Despite being a TV series as opposed to a feature-length film, Sonic Prime‘s action and set pieces are all gorgeous and memorable while keeping in tune with the feel of the video games.

If there’s any downside to Sonic Prime it’s in the abrupt ending of the first season. While the decision to do this seems intended to leave things on a cliffhanger to get fans pumped for the next season, it instead has the effect of making the story feel truncated. There just isn’t any sense of resolution by the time episode eight’s credits roll. It makes sense to want fans to be in a position where they’re desperate to know what happens next, but the way it’s handled here is too jarring with virtually no sense that any kind of larger story arc has been concluded. The first season of Sonic Prime lacks a proper bookend.

Beyond that, Sonic Prime is good. Not great, at least not yet, but a notable step up on the narratives found in any of the 3D Sonic games and just a notch below the quality of the films. Kids will delight in the high-speed fights and quippy banter between characters, while older fans will appreciate that the story is written to be accessible to them. There are even a handful of pixel animation-styled sequences that are a direct shoutout to Sonic’s Genesis days. Overall, fans of Sonic will not want to miss Sonic Prime.

Sonic Prime is streaming now on Netflix.

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