SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3 out of 5; Directed by Jeff Fowler; Written by Pat Casey & Josh Miller; Starring Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey; Tika Sumpter; Rated PG for action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language; Running time 99 minutes; Now available on DVD & Blu-ray.
When a film’s trailer brings forth such a public outcry that the animators have to go back to the, um, drawing board, then it’s easy to assume that the film will be a train wreck.
Suprisingly, (most of all to me) the film isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Part of that stems from my lack of interest in video games, though I also remember the debacle that was the Mario Brothers movie. And, speaking of Mario Brothers, I was more a Nintendo fan than Sega. So while I agreed with the internet that the original Sonic didn’t quite look like his game counterpart, I wasn’t particularly outraged.
The plot: Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) lives in an idyllic world where an owl is his Obi-Wan Kenobi, but he will always be in danger because of his sonic powers and the magical rings that transport him to new worlds. When that danger is imminent, “Owl-i Wan Kenobi” (as I dubbed the owl) sends Sonic through a teleportation door and ends up in Montana.
There, he watches the local sheriff (James Marsden) from afar, wishing to have friends and family and a sense of belonging.
But to stay safe he must stay hidden, so he goes to a baseball field after the game is over and plays by himself. Every position. Because he’s so fast, you see? I think he should play a game against the vampires in Twilight. They play baseball really fast, too. Might be an interesting game to watch. More interesting than this scene in the movie.
But it leads to an important plot point–Sonic’s game and subsequent temper tantrum result in a power surge felt all the way to Washington. And though they hesitate to do it, the powers that be bring in Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to discover the cause.
Carrey’s roles have always been hit or miss with me, but I think his Dr. Robotnik is pure evil genius fun. As is Carrey’s fashion, he brings his entire body into the role, dancing and waving and gesticulating with all his might. He’s a delight to watch, and though it’s easy to call it caricature or over the top, I remember he is ultimately a video game villain, so the theatrics are okay.
Marsden is a bit less impressive, playing his usual good guy with a heart. In this film, he’s dreaming of a bigger life and wanting to leave his home in Green Hills, just as Sonic aims to stay and avoid the horror of the Mushroom Planet, the next stop on his golden rings tour.
What follows is a bit of a road trip/buddy movie mixed in with Robotnik’s robots and shenanigans at a country western bar.
There are plenty of cute and funny moments, and my attention only lagged at the final fight scene. There is nothing incredibly original here, but at least Sonic the Hedgehog has the look and feel of a video game instead of … whatever was going on with the Mario Brothers movie. And it’s nice to know that the filmmakers listened to the fans and responded with a revamped Sonic. Overall a fun, cute movie that I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Target audience though is kids and Sonic fans who are kids at heart.
Here are the bonus features:
BONUS FEATURES ON DIGITAL*, 4K ULTRA HD COMBO, & BLU-RAY COMBO
- Commentary by director Jeff Fowler and the voice of Sonic, Ben Schwartz
- Around the World in 80 Seconds—See Sonic’s next adventure!
- Deleted Scenes—Director Jeff Fowler introduces deleted scenes
- Bloopers—Laugh along with Jim Carrey and the cast
- “Speed Me Up” Music Video
- For the Love of Sonic—Jim Carrey and the cast discuss what Sonic the Hedgehog means to them
- Building Robotnik with Jim Carrey—See Jim Carrey bring supervillain Dr. Robotnik to life
- The Blue Blur: Origins of Sonic—Explore the origins of the legendary Blue Blur
- Sonic On Set—Visit the set with the voice of Sonic, Ben Schwartz