Film adaptations of video games, there’s a term that will make most film and video game fans shudder. And to be fair it has been a rough road from the gaming console to the big screen. While there have been some okay films (Mortal Kombat, 2018’s Tomb Raider, and a guilty pleasure of mine The Super Mario Bros.). Most have been abysmal (more than half of Uwe Boll’s filmography and the Resident Evil films come to mind). So I approached Sonic the Hedgehog with mild skepticism. Would this be one of the few that could pass the very low bar set by its predecessors?
“Where am I? What year is it? Is the Rock president?”
Being forced to leave his home world behind Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) teleports to Earth where he spends much of life hiding in Green Hills (get it?) Montana. After his powers cause a massive power surge Sonic teams up with a local cop (James Marsden) to go on the run from the U.S. government and the eccentric Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to get Sonic transported safely to the boring mushroom world. I’m guessing that was as close as they could get to saying ‘Mushroom Kingdom’ without getting sued.
This is a pretty boilerplate plot, but honestly did Sonic need something convoluted? He’s a blue hedgehog who runs fast and has attitude. That doesn’t lend itself to heady storytelling. We also must remember that this is a kid’s film made for kids to enjoy. In the acting department it’s all pretty decent. Schwartz does a fine job as Sonic even if there is a part of me that wishes Jaleel White would’ve been asked to reprise the role. Or at the very least he could’ve been given a fun cameo.
“I’M IN CHARGE!”
Marsden at this point seems to be used to acting against nothing and having a ‘lovable’ CGI creature added in post. At least this time it’s not a jellybean pooping Easter bunny. This brings us to Jim Carrey in Sonic the Hedgehog. The guy has always been a force of nature in his comedic roles and when that first trailer dropped (thank goodness the filmmakers were smart enough to redesign Sonic) the Internet looked to him as the film’s saving grace. He does bring the fun energy that made him popular in the 90’s even as he gets close to hitting 60. I do wish there had been more for Tika Sumpter to do than just act as Marsden’s love interest. The woman has got chops and deserves better roles in the future.
“Are you here to abduct me?”
I’m still both surprised and thankful that the director and producers agreed to delay the film and tweak Sonic’s design to make him look more in line with his game and cartoon counterparts. That was a choice that definitely cost the production a couple million dollars extra, but showed they were interested in making a good film more than a mediocre one.
In the end Sonic the Hedgehog is an okay kid’s film that will be disposable fun for most of the family. Could it have been better? Absolutely, but it most definitely could’ve been far worse. So that’s something.
Overall Score 2/5
The Shameless Plugs
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