Review by Camden Ferrell
After a long development and a complete redesign of the character that was the center of attention online last year, Sonic the Hedgehog has finally arrived. This movie based on the globally popular video game is the feature directorial debut of Jeff Fowler. While this film does feel derivative at times, it ultimately is a fitting film in which fans old and young will find joy.
This movie follows the titular hedgehog as who joins forces with a small-town police officer as he tries to avoid an evil mastermind who is trying to capture him. This is a fairly simple plot which incorporates the protagonist and major villain in the franchise. Even though the plot is familiar, Sonic’s unique abilities provided a lot of potential for creative scenes throughout.
More than anything, this movie is aimed at children, but it often tried too hard to appeal to that demographic to be funny. It recycled many tired and predictable tropes, and many of the jokes just fell flat. Despite this, the movie finds some creative ways to create laughs in its action scenes and its execution. Its script is definitely its biggest flaw, but the film finds other ways to compensate for it.
The film does have a select few great performances. Ben Schwartz does a solid job playing Sonic. He is an actor who has a great sense of timing and also an ability to capture the childlike joy in Sonic’s persona. However, the biggest surprise comes from Jim Carrey’s performance as Dr. Robotnik. Carrey gives an absolutely hilarious performance that will make audiences of all ages laugh uncontrollably. He uses his trademark abilities to overact and exaggerate to bring the iconic villain to life.
Since Sonic is known for his speed, the movie utilizes this ability very well. This is a source of a lot of visual gags that are mostly enjoyable. Fowler also executes some really funny slow-motion sequences that are reminiscent of Quicksilver’s scenes in the X-Men franchise. It doesn’t happen too often, but it’s very exciting when it does.
The movie often feels like its being carried by Carrey’s performance though. While he is amazing at what he does, there is a notable lag whenever he isn’t on screen. The supporting cast is apt, but they are mostly forgettable. The chemistry between Schwartz and Carrey is great, but it’s a dynamic that isn’t exploited enough.
Regardless, this is a movie with some familiar but important themes for young audiences. It’s a film that explores friendship, acceptance, and courage. The film also has some fairly decent visual effects that will remind audiences of the characteristic joy of the video games.
Sonic the Hedgehog isn’t a great film, but it is a satisfyingly fun film for families. It has a fairly weak script, but it also has some hilarious performances throughout. Make sure to stay for both credit scenes that will surely lead to plenty of joy among audiences this weekend.
Sonic the Hedgehog is in theaters February 14th.