After the meme-worthy trailer including an uncanny-valley-like Sonic dropped last April, many were expecting this weekend’s Sonic the Hedgehog film to be a train wreck. However, Sonic’s redesign by the VFX teams that pushed the release from November to Valentine’s Day weekend succeeded in giving the token Sega character the look he deserved. What’s even more praise-worthy than Sonic’s redesign is Jim Carrey’s performance as evil Dr. Robotnik. Carrey brings back his goofy slapstick style of acting to this film, and it works perfectly in his role as a mad scientist trying to capture Sonic. Besides his performance and Sonic’s true-to-game design, the movie lacks a unique plot that engages with older viewers who never cared for the “Blue Devil.”
The film follows Sonic, an alien hedgehog who takes refuge on earth for several years unseen until Tom (James Marsden), a police officer from the small city of Green Hills, spots him in his shed. The two go on a road trip to San Francisco, filled with brotherly camaraderie and a few robot fights along the way.
Carrey’s portrayal of Dr. Robotnick is reminiscent of his loopy persona from his earlier films like The Mask and Ace Ventura. Carrey’s dialogue left the audience laughing throughout the movie, something the other characters failed to deliver. His overly-exaggerated expressions and mannerisms will leave kids amused and remind parents of Carrey’s prime 90’s films.
Sonic the Hedgehog works as a fun, family movie with lots of gags and jokes thrown around. The humor is, however, pretty immature and mainly targets a child audience, so adults may not find the movie comedic. The transition between serious and comedic scenes is also very abrupt, as if the movie doesn’t want the audience to see Sonic sad for more than a few seconds. Another disrupting element to the plot is the amount of product placement in the movie, with companies like Olive Garden and Zillow having some solid screen time. One of the characters even says the Olive Garden slogan: “When you’re there, you’re family.”
Regardless, this version of Sonic is pretty true to his adventurous, egotistical personality he’s had throughout his video game history. However, the movie adds a bit too much of a childish energy to his sometimes mature character. Even the adult characters throughout the movie seemed almost too childish to be grown-ups. Understandably, these characters lacked maturity because of the movie’s target audience but, even then, this kid movie could’ve been made more grown-up friendly too.
All in all, the film passed the very low bar set by its joke of a first trailer. It also passed the very low bar set by video game inspired movies in general, with films like Assassin’s Creed and Need for Speed having less than stellar reviews. If you’re looking for an adventure-filled live-action with an interesting script, Sonic the Hedgehog is not for you. If you used to (or still do) play Sonic games and are in the mood to laugh at some jokes and weird product placement, this movie won’t disappoint.