Cast: Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter
Director: Jeff Fowler
Well golly gee, what do we have here? A video game movie that looked to be a complete disaster based off the first trailer but is actually somewhat decent? I never thought I’d see the day. Everything leading up to this release made me believe this movie would be terrible, but the fact that we got something relatively entertaining is a modern-day miracle. Between the enjoyable plot and the recognizable characters, Sonic the Hedgehog is a fun movie for younger audiences and reduces much of the lull associated with the early part of the year.
The film follows Sonic (voiced by Schwartz), an alien with the power to run faster than anything you can ever imagine and he is forced to flee his home planet and travel to Earth in secret. When he brings attention to himself and is almost discovered, he finds comfort in Tom Wachowski (Marsden) who takes Sonic in and protects him from Dr. Robotnik (Carrey) and the US government forces that are after Sonic. Together, the two team up to get Sonic in a safe place and find a new home while getting into various shenanigans along the way. Let’s cut to the chase, Jim Carrey is far and away the best part of this movie. He’s cartoonishly evil in a way that only a video game character could be and shows us just how much fun he’s having in the role. It seems as though he’s harnessed the same energy found in his stronger comedic performances like in The Mask and Liar Liar and it looks like he can still bring his trademark comedic overacting to the screen for all of us to enjoy. We haven’t seen Carrey in anything mainstream in a while and it’s nice to see him come and bring that same joy to audiences everyone. Outside of Carrey, this is a pretty standard video game movie with nothing necessarily spectacular going on. It’s a goofy, nonsensical movie mainly aimed at younger audiences, but there are a few moments of merit that older viewers will enjoy. Sonic gets very tiring very quickly and his childish antics fit the targeted demographic but no too many people outside of that. From an actor’s perspective, this certainly isn’t a career best for Marsden or Sumpter as both of them give relatively mediocre and wooden performances and could be easily replaced by almost any other actor. I didn’t go into Sonic the Hedgehog expecting to see the greatest performances of 2020, but at the same time I would’ve really appreciated having something to remember from either of their performances. Between this and Detective Pikachu, video game movies are headed in the right direction, but they still have some work to do before I would rewatch either of them. While from the jump it looked as though Sonic the Hedgehog was on the path to being a complete and utter disaster, Sega and Paramount must be pleased that this movie has any sort of artistic merit and could realistically produce a true franchise for everyone involved.
Overall, let’s look at Sonic the Hedgehog for what it is. An average, slightly entertaining movie that identifies its audience early and digs in with no real intention of grabbing everyone else’s attention. It succeeds in its environment, but I think people can agree that they’d like to see something more universally acceptable and entertaining. Disney and Dreamworks seem to have this formula down, but maybe it will take this series a little longer to get settled. For a directorial debut, Fowler did a solid job with the material and hopefully he gets more opportunities in the future.
Overall Score: 6/10