Sonic the Hedgehog proves to be a surprise for its genre: It’s actually a fun, zippy, colorful video game movie that translates well given the fanbase and the expectations of its iconic source material.
Of course, that’s damning with faint praise, but I enjoyed much of this movie.
The movie begins with Sonic’s origin story as he lives on a faraway planet and he’s forced to come to Earth due to mysterious enemies who want to kill him. We don’t get much detail about his enemies because the movie wants to get Sonic to Earth and let the mayhem and mischief begin.
Once he gets to Earth, we do establish Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as a blue hedgehog with supersonic (no pun intended) speed. He’s been on Earth for 10 years in the small town of Green Hills, Montana, but lives in secret because no one will be able to understand his powers.
During a night of playing baseball alone and still having no friends, Sonic accidentally triggers a power outage that causes the U.S. government to send a scientist to investigate.
Jim Carrey is Dr. Robotnik, the eccentric scientist who discovers Sonic’s ability and is determined to track him down. Carrey is clearly having fun at every turn and it’s actually good to see him tap into a role where he can embrace his manic energy.
Sonic looks for a place to hide and he finds it in the form of the town sheriff, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). He nicknames him “Donut Lord” due to his penchant for donuts and together the two try to evade Robotnik while being considered fugitives.
When the film’s trailer hit last year, fans were appalled at Sonic’s design, but I think that’s the last thing they’ll have to criticize about this movie. Sonic is actually a convincing CGI creation with a lot of texture and Schwartz is wonderfully cast and brings a great amount of humor, charisma, and heart to the character.
As I mentioned, Carrey has a ton of fun hamming up his performance, but there’s hardly a moment where we take the character seriously. He tries to come off as this movie’s Judge Doom, but he comes across more like Dr. Evil. Still, he sells it.
Sonic the Hedgehog is more a jumble of stuff than an actual plot, but given the unbearable nature of video game adaptations, the filmmakers do respect the material and give us a fun time.
Sonic the Hedgehog probably won’t win converts to its namesake, but it’ll entertain kids and adults with mediocre expectations.