Sonic the Hedgehog (Movie Review)

Sonic the Hedgehog is 2020’s attempt to break the video game movie adaptation curse. Its plot plays it safe, leaving it up to the leads to provide the entertainment for fans and families alike. The result hits with a much more delightful impact than expected, making me wish I was born 20 years later so I could grow up watching this movie with wonderment. 

In essence, Sonic the Hedgehog is a fish-out-of-water buddy adventure; Sonic, the anthropomorphic blue hedgehog gifted with super speed, has been hiding out on Earth for a while to escape from being found by a tribe of echidnas who want his power. Partnered with a small-town cop, an on-the-run road trip ensues as they escape the power-hungry madman that is government scientist, Dr. Robotnik. Does that sound familiar at all? If so, that’s because Sonic the Hedgehog’s story is what feels like the 101st of its kind. That and a couple a plot holes that get wider the more you think about them, Sonic the Hedgehog shouldn’t be as enjoyable as it is; but in actuality, the screenplay is not where its charm lies.

After a character redesign that led to the film’s delay, the titular Sonic himself is as adorable as he is lovable. Ben Schwartz, the hedgehog’s voice actor, has always been able to bring a cartoonish, lighthearted cockiness to even his live action roles. Blended with this Sonic’s mix of confidence, vulnerability and child-like fascination with Earth’s delights, the film’s scenes that focus on the importance of friendship and loneliness are enough to melt the most stubborn of hearts. 

Keeping the cast small allows Sonic the Hedgehog’s exchanges to be more focused and quick, providing an opportunity to showcase the writer’s talent for witty dialogue. James Marsden, playing the small town cop, works well in being the everyday straight man who’s a bouncing board for Sonic’s larger-than-life personality. Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik comes off as a return to form that we haven’t seen from him since 2003’s Bruce Almighty. Carrey injects the character with the same animated, zany flair and energy that put him on the Hollywood map in the 90’s. 

Bolstered by well-done effects shown off in entertaining action sequences, boredom never rears its ugly head in Sonic the Hedgehog, making the 99 minute runtime feel just about lean and entertaining enough to be a great time for everyone. Fans of any of the classic SEGA games will get more joy out of it than others, but there’s something on offer for all thanks to the extraordinary personalities of its lead characters and the actors behind them. It doesn’t do much to change the formula, but it does a lot in making video game movies stand tall with what else is out there.


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