Sonic the Hedgehog, Call of the Wild, Rhythm Section and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

By Chris Kavan - 01/14/20 at 09:33 PM CT

The ratings board looks like they're not taking things easy in the new year as the update this week is chock full of some big updates. Leading the charge is Sonic the Hedgehog - fresh off a facelift after the internet backlash from the initial design. Joining the video game hero is two other literary adaptations - Harrison Ford gives us a new version of Call of the Wild while Anya Taylor-Joy brings us a new version of Jane Austen's Emma. Rounding out the wide releases for this week is Blake Lively in full-on revenge mode with The Rhythm Section. I'm liking the way things are going so far this year - hopefully the ratings keep coming like this all year long.

MPAA Official Logo

While the internet is mostly full of idiots arguing about nothings, sometimes the collective noise of the crowd pulls together and makes a change for the better. While it's not world peace or a cure for cancer, the redesign of Sonic the Hedgehog is certainly a good start. Look, I know plenty of people worked very hard on that original design, but I, like so many others, found that first trailer frankly horrifying. The studio took notice and put a slight delay on the film so they could make it look better and, I'm happy to say, it looks so much better now. The film takes place in the rural town of Green Hills where local cop Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) discovers the fast-traveling Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and soon finds himself helping the strange creature while avoiding government interference led by the mad Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and Major Bennington (Neal McDonough). The cast also includes Adam Pally, Tika Sumpter, Michael Hogan and Lee Majdoub. After the success of Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, it seems video game movies have been given an extra life - we'll see if Sonic can take advantage and prove as profitable. Rated Rated PG for action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language.

Hollywood rarely gets tired of literary adaptations - so it's no surprise we're getting plenty in 2020. First up is Jack London's classic Call of the Wild, which follows the life of a dog who is taken from a California home and winds up in the wilds of Alaska, becoming a sled dog. The film has a nice get in Harrison Ford, who plays the main companion to our adventurous canine. But don't worry - there are other humans too - including Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford, Omar Sy, Dan Stevens, Terry Notary, Jean Louisa Kelly and Cara Gee. But mostly it's about the how the film looks and, based on the trailer, it looks good. I mean, sure, there are computer effects but that's par for the course these days. If you can make The Lion King look photo-realistic, dogs and such should be easy, right? All I'm saying is that if you're family is in the mood for some adventure - with very mild peril - this looks like a pretty darn good choice. Rated PG for some violence, peril, thematic elements and mild language.

Our second literary adaptation is from Jane Austen and is another version of Emma. The film follows Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) who has everything: money, looks and brains - and is more than happy to play match-maker in her quaint town, but finds herself at a loss when love manages to find her. Early reactions are positive in this updated take on the classic characters and, much like Little Women, should play well with its target audience. The film boasts an impressive cast with Mia Goth, Callum Turner, Bill Nighy, Gemma Whelan. Josh O'Connor, Johnny Flynn, Rupert Graves and Miranda Hart all co-starring. I'm not saying I'm going to rush out to witness this display of classic aristocracy and romance, but I bet plenty of other people are willing to take my place. Rated PG for brief partial nudity.

Finally, we have a different direction with The Rhythm Section. which follows Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) who goes on a quest for revenge against the people responsible for the plane crash that kills her family. I mean, seeking revenge is not a new concept - nor is someone transforming to do so (see also: Peppermint, The Brave One, Eye for an Eye and so many more). But Lively has the acting chops to pull this off and hopefully make it stand out from the crowd. She has some help from the likes of Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown, Daniel Mays, Max Casella and Richard Brake among others. Based on the cast, I have to think this will be a step above most revenge thrillers. Rated R for violence, sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use.

There you have it, a nice mix of some of the big movies along the way. The board is going strong so be sure to check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:


Rated R for some sexual content/nudity, language, drug use and violence.


Rated PG for some violence, peril, thematic elements and mild language.


Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including some sexual references.


Rated R for brief violence/bloody images.


Rated PG for brief partial nudity.


Rated R for pervasive language and brief drug use.


Rated R for brief language and a sexual reference. (Intends to Appeal)


Rated R for violence, sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use.


Rated G


Rated PG for action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language.


Rated R for violence, language throughout and sexual content.


Rated R for language, some sexuality and disturbing behavior.


Rated R for language, some sexual references and drug use.


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