Sonic the Hedgehog.
Yes, I may have a soft spot for this character, growing up on the old Sega Genesis games. I remember vividly playing the first three or four of these games. However… There were a few hiccups in this movie’s production, including the complete overhaul of Sonic’s character design. Add to that… it’s rare that video game movies are even decent, they’re usually aggressively bad. So could Sonic defeat these odds? Let’s see.
We follow Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz), an alien hedgehog-like creature that has been living on Earth in isolation. When the government detects a huge blast caused by Sonic, they send in their wildest agent, the super-genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Sonic is being hunted, aided only his new human friend, a police officer named Tom (James Marsden). We also have supporting characters played by Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, and Lee Majdoub.
I know the bar is incredibly low, but this might just be one of the best video game adaptations yet. That doesn’t make this a stellar movie, by any means, but it means there’s a lot working here.
Sonic himself is an incredibly lovable creature. The visuals worked perfectly, paired with Ben Schwartz’s high energy voice. He’s been living on Earth, so he’ll spout pop culture references and they mostly always hit. He’s also a character you really root for. He learns what a ‘bucket list’ is throughout the movie, then becomes obsessed with completing his list of items. They really nailed it.
The cast around Sonic totally works as well. As the human lead, James Marsden is relatable and funny, probably the funniest he’s been since Enchanted. The real mystery factor here was Jim Carrey, who’s somewhat turned away from the wacky hijinks that made him famous and instead has been doing serious or deeper dramas. Well, if you’ve been missing Ace Ventura, that same energy returns here. And you know what? It works. It’s wild, yes, his take on Dr. Robotnik is out of control, even including a dance number. But the whole movie is dialed up to 11 so it fits right in and it’s a blast to see Carrey having this much fun. A true return to form.
Also, there’s a mid-credits scene that gave me goosebumps. Imagine that!
What doesn’t work?
This is ultimately a movie for kids (or at least our own inner child) so you shouldn’t expect a masterpiece here. It’s fun and lighthearted and has some pretty interesting action sequences, it’s not here to win Oscars.
So temper your expectations… There will be pop culture jokes that don’t age well and there’s way too many moments where Sonic ‘flosses’ as he’s dancing, so just expect a kids movie with a lot of heart and decent jokes.
As a fan of the Sonic games, this was everything I could’ve wanted. I laughed often, and the jokes came from all directions, almost every character contributed. The action sequences were vivid and interesting, while there were also quiet moments with a lot of heart. As a movie for kids, it knocks it out of the ballpark. As a movie for adults, it also does a really great job and had me entertained the whole time.