Movie Review: ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ is an entertaining children’s film
Director: Jeff Fowler
Writers: Patrick Casey, Josh Miller
Stars: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey
Synopsis: After discovering a small, blue, fast hedgehog, a small-town police officer must help it defeat an evil genius who wants to do experiments on it.
Movies based on video games have been getting our hopes up and crushing them since the early 1990s. The latest video game character to grace the big screen is Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog. This film comes with a lot of baggage due to Sonic’s less than desirable character design released around April of 2019. It caused outrage on social media and the barrage of negative reactions lead to a complete VFX overhaul and delay of the film. Luckily the new design seems to be a hit and the film wasn’t as bad as expected.
Sonic the Hedgehog tells the story of Sonic (Ben Schwartz)- a blue space hedgehog with superspeed hiding out on Earth. After accidentally causing a power outage affecting the entire town, Sonic attracts the attention of insane evil genius Dr. Ivo Robonik (Jim Carrey); a man who loves his robots more than people and is hellbent on catching whatever new creature caused the power outage. Sonic teams up with local cop Tom (James Marsden) to run from the robot wielding madman, find his rings, and escape to a safer world.
This movie was fast-paced and lots of fun from the get-go. It’s filled with nods to the original games and tons of pop culture references. The downside of that is anyone who did not grow up playing Sega or is not a 6 to 12-year-old boy may miss out on the humor. But even if you are forced to watch this with a child or Sega loving friend, there is something for everyone in this film. The action sequences are great, the VFX team did an amazing job redesigning Sonic and recreating his moves from the games for the big screen. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sonic the Hedgehog ended up on the Visual Effects Oscar shortlist at the end of the year. The voice actor, Ben Schwartz, also did a great job with Sonic. Definitely brought the same attitude and humor from the games. Jim Carrey embraced his ridiculousness for his role as Robonik, sometimes going a bit overboard- but if you can’t go overboard as a video game bad guy, when can you? If they do decide to do a sequel, I would love to see Carrey again. The only problem I really had with the film was the mass quantity of product placement. There were so many brand names visible or called out by characters that it started to get distracting and become annoying. I understand films need money, but this was overkill. The rest of the film is pretty mediocre; it’s entertaining, but nothing spectacular. The story is simple, the supporting cast is fine, but it’s a movie obviously marketed towards preteen boys so that’s okay.
Is Sonic the Hedgehog the best video game movie ever? No. Is it better than a good number of its predecessors? Yes, it is. If you grew up with Sega or have kids, then go give Sonic a shot on the big screen. The effects alone are worth the price of a ticket. It didn’t work all that well for me, I was a Nintendo kid and am way outside this movie’s target audience. Overall, it’s an enjoyable flick that exceeded expectations and whose VFX artists deserve any and all accolades coming to them. There is also a mid-credits scene so make sure to stick around for that.
Overall Grade: C+