We’ve all seen a variety of video game adapted movies. From Super Mario Bros to Tomb Raider, each one has had its positives and negatives; mainly landing on the bad side of critics. After backlash from fans with the first trailer, Sonic The Hedgehog seems to break that streak with exciting special effects, humor, and straightforward storytelling.
This review is spoiler-free.
Sonic the Hedgehog is the story of Sonic, an extraterrestrial blue hedgehog who can run at supersonic speeds. After escaping to Earth, Sonic teams up with a local sheriff (James Marsden) in order to find a bag of mystical rings and evading Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
Before I got into the controversy of the redesign of the Sega mascot, let’s actually talk about the film. Like Sonic, the movie had a fun energy to it with Sonic. He’s like a little blue Flash, moving so fast to play a baseball game by himself, reading through an entire anthology of the DC speedster, but like all heroes, Sonic feels alone because of his powers and being from another world. I found it great that the film gives Sonic a backstory in the beginning, showing Sonic living in one of the levels from the Sega Genesis game (which was great to see in live action) and meeting his guardian, Longclaw the Owl. The golden rings that players have collected through each iteration of the game were excellently used as ways to travel between worlds.
Sonic longs to make friends and has kept his eyes on Sheriff Tom Wachowski (Marsden), the dependable lawman of Green Hills, Montana. However, how are you going to introduce yourself to a human without revealing your abilities? The questions of every hero. After an accident using his superspeed affects the town (and the Pacific Northwest) and sets off the alarms with the U.S. Government, they send roboticist and scientific genius, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to investigate. And the fun begins.
Jim Carrey’s has been keeping a low profile over the last few years with mainstream movies, his last big mention for me being 2013’s Kick-Ass 2. Jim Carrey seemed to have lost the spark that made him a huge star during the mid-late 90s and early 2000s. Sonic gave him a role that allowed him to recapture that energy and wackiness that fans loved. While the blue speedster provides one-half of the fun, Jim Carrey is definitely the other half. To me, the rivalry between Sonic and Dr. Robotnik helped make the games what they were and its the same for the movie. There is that same connection in this movie. It might be too early to say this, but Sonic the Hedgehog might have re-energized and revitalized Carrey’s career and give it a second life. Only time will tell depending on his next project.
Now, let’s get to the re-design. When the first trailer came out in the middle of last year, it was safe to say that I was not pleased with how one of my childhood video game heroes looked. The design, look, THE EYES! The backlash (I almost think it’s borderline bullying) was tremendous. I didn’t want to say the original design of Sonic was make or break for how good this movie would be, but when you are making a movie about a generational pop culture icon, you would want to get it right. After that reaction, I’m glad the creators took the time to go back and work on Sonic as players and fans remember him from the game because the original, otter-like Sonic we had in the first trailer was NOT it! The added $5 million to the budget for the redesign of Sonic to resemble his video game design was worth it to me. I hope the unexpected critical response and financial success of a video game platform mascot opens the door for more films to be made (Come on, waiting on my Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot movies now)!
Is Sonic a perfect film? No. The plot and originality is lacking so it’s not something you are going to get. There are Easter eggs that plants the seeds for a potential sequel and can make fans of the games cheer for more. Overall, the faithfulness to the source material, Sonic’s redesign, and the performance of Jim Carrey makes it a ticket worth racing to the theaters to see.
Thanks for reading, everyone!
What are your thoughts on Sonic The Hedgehog? Were you a fan growing up and want to see the movie or have already seen it?
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