Friday, February 14

Sonic the Hedgehog Review

Sonic the Hedgehog
Dir: Jeff Fowler
Starring: James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Ben Schwartz, and Jim Carrey

♪ SEGA ♪

It was the early 90’s and the next-door neighbor kid had a birthday party. As he tore at the wrapping paper the words “Sega Genesis” was revealed underneath, along with a small box featuring a blue hedgehog named “Sonic” pointing one finger up in the air. The kids rushed to find an adult to hook everything up and quickly the video game was ready to go, with a long line of neighborhood kids patiently waiting for their turn. The moment I pressed start, the addiction was immediate. Go fast, collect those rings. 

“Sonic the Hedgehog”, directed by Jeff Fowler, takes the little blue hedgehog out of the video game, away from the cartoons, and into the real world with this live-action crossover that finds an animated Sonic escaping from his world and onto Earth. However, it hasn’t been an easy journey for the video game icon; as the first trailer dropped almost a year ago the internet reaction towards the composition of Sonic was met with negativity, persuading Paramount Pictures to redesign Sonic before the film release. Bigger eyes, shorter legs, less human qualities…the redesign was a return to something closer to the original video game. Did it make a difference? Who knows? But the internet flexed their opinion and filmmakers answered. That part might not be so good for the artistic process but we’ll save that conversation for another article. 

Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is looking for a place to call home after being forced to leave his planet. Earth is where Sonic resides now, living inside a cave and near a small city policed by Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). Sonic, still learning and developing abilities, creates an energy burst that calls the attention of the government and their contracted scientist Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Quickly, Sonic is being hunted by the villainous Dr. and his robots and is forced to work with Tom to find a way out of trouble and off of planet Earth. 

For all the work done to redesign the fast hedgehog, equal time should have been paid to finding something new to do with the story. Instead, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is a cliched, formulaic combination of ideas that tries to impose elements of new friendships, embracing uniqueness, and standing up for something/someone you believe in. While these narrative elements are easy to find throughout the movie, cue the change to soft music and the closeup camera work of cartoon eyes welling with water, the emotion behind it just feels generic. 

Still, there is fun to have in this film. Sonic is mischievous and while his antics can be frustrating they are also somewhat entertaining, such as an ultra-slow-motion fight scene that has Sonic manipulating every little element to get the upper hand amongst the chaos. Also, and perhaps the primary reason to watch this film, is the return of Jim Carrey to the style of comedy that made him a star in the ’90s. Carrey’s manic, wild-eyed, arrogant, rubber-faced Dr. Robotnik is fantastic throughout the film. 

“Sonic the Hedgehog” is fun if an altogether fleeting weekend family film that will provide a few chuckles for parents and enough laughs and amusement for younger viewers. They might even pay their parents a few more minutes of attention when they dust off the old Sega Genesis for a family fun night. 

Monte’s Rating
3.00 out of 5.00

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