After discovering a small, blue, fast hedgehog, a small-town police officer must help it defeat an evil genius who wants to do experiments on it.
I think I’ve mentioned the poor track record of films based on video games in every single review of one of those films, so that is probably as succinct a reason as to why I didn’t bother with ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ when it was released in cinemas a couple of months ago. Fast forward to now and with a limited slate of new movies to check out, I thought I’d check it out having noticed it’s reviews were reasonably positive and I thought it was fairly enjoyable without being anything special. Faint praise, but in this subgenre, faint praise is pretty good!
Beginning with a short piece of exposition to explain how Sonic came to live in our world, the film swiftly moves into the main plot focusing on the discovery of Sonic’s existence after a particularly speedy bit of running trips the entire power system in a small town. As the government hones in on the town of Green Hills, Sonic is discovered by a local cop called Tom (James Marsden), who he then relies on to get him away from the villainous Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey). What follows is essentially a cat and mouse chase between Sonic and Robotnik as the action heads towards San Francisco, with the non-Robotnik moments taking the form of a buddy movie or a road movie as Tom and Sonic get to know one another.
The story itself isn’t particularly inventive or original (and it has already been noted in many places that having a character whose main ‘power’ is the ability to travel at incredible speeds sitting in a car for much of the runtime is an odd choice!), but the performances are engaging and it got a few laughs out of me. Jim Carrey is currently doing some of his career best work on TV’s ‘Kidding’ but it’s been a long time since he’s delivered a comedy performance that taps into the manic energy that characterized his breakout roles, so it’s great to see him approaching that form here, whilst Ben Schwartz does good voice work as Sonic and as the straight man, Marsden plays the part well.
‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ works best when it plays up the cartoonish elements of it’s narrative and as far as family friendly adventure movies go, I thought this mostly succeeded in its intentions.
Directed By: Jeff Fowler
Starring: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, Adam Pally, Natasha Rothwell and Neal McDonough