The Circle is one of those films that seems likely to be dead on arrival. Now in theaters, it bypassed pre-release press screenings — always a warning sign to the savvy moviegoer of an impending critical disaster — and instead premiered to a packed crowd of cast, crew and select others at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
We happened to be in the opening night audience, and here is our review: The Circle is terrible. But we’re not here to add our voice to the vast majority of those ragging on this instantly forgettable film. Instead, we’re going to exalt its singular moment of entertainment and intelligence.
Toward the beginning of this dystopian attempt at social satire, Emma Watson’s character (named Mae Holland) takes a job interview at the Circle, which is some kind of amalgam of Google, Apple and every bad take on the evils of social media you’ve ever read on Twitter. As part of an odd lightning round meant to test her ... ability to be a customer service representative, Mae’s potential new boss asks her a series of questions.
It’s supposed to be funny, and it kind of is. That’s mostly because of the following exchange:
Yes, Mae: Ya nailed it. Early Sonic the Hedgehog games are superior to the much maligned recent ones, although the Super Mario series has maintained a pretty high level of quality throughout the last three decades. Even though we’re fans of modern Sonic games like Sonic Adventure 2, it’s tough to pick anything over the original Genesis games. And as much as Super Mario Bros. 3 still holds up, the more recent Super Mario Galaxy may be our favorite of the plumber’s adventures.
Mae’s is a smart answer to a question that would stump us in any job interview; thankfully, Polygon’s hiring process does not include a speed round of tough gaming-related inquiries.
“Mario or Sonic?” is also one of the most common hardballs to lob at any gaming fan, casual or hardcore. Our friends at The Verge did a formal poll back in 2016, with Mario eking out the victory over Sonic by a mere 9 votes.
Google has eight million results for the search “Mario or Sonic,” and there doesn’t seem to be any consensus. Sometimes people vote Mario, because he has better friends and a more diverse library of good games. Other times, Sonic wins out, because he’s fast and has personality for days.
Choosing one over the other is a fool’s errand. That’s especially why we appreciate that Mae — or rather, screenwriters James Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers — didn’t want to pick just one of these venerable video game mascots. Doing so is a disservice to the history of gaming as a medium, if we’re being honest.
The Circle promptly goes downhill from there, but we could watch Emma Watson feign video game knowledge forever.