Sonic the Hedgehog has jumped from the game console, onto the silver screen. If you look anywhere, you’ll see a review that has one of two sides. On one side, you’ll have people saying that the movie is alright at best, though easily the best video game movie; You’ll have the other side saying the movie is terrible for taking money away from Birds of Prey. No joke.
But those are what you get for reviews from people who probably haven’t played a Sonic game since 1994. This writer is a hardcore Sonic fan, who has played nearly every main game in the franchise. Therefore, this review will be from the perspective of an opinionated, hardcore Sonic fan.
A hardcore Sonic fan who thinks the movie is alright.
This film is a standard kids’ movie, right down to the concept. Sonic the Hedgehog is an alien from another world who comes to the planet using teleportation rings. Despite trying to keep his powers a secret, in an episode of frustration and loneliness he ends up letting the world know he exists. Now, he’s being hunted by Doctor Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey, and needs the help of local police officer Tom Wakowzcki to get him to San Francisco, where his rings are.
Aside from a few Sonic elements (the rings and the characters specifically), it seems like a basic kids’ movie about cartoon characters coming to the real world, similar to Smurfs. So why is this movie getting praised the way it is? Well, for one thing, it actually focuses on Sonic, unlike other movies where they put too much focus on the human aspect (even other Sonic media has done that). While Tom does have a character arc, the primary story of the film is Sonic’s, as it should be.
What also helps this movie do better than similar features is Sonic himself. Ben Schwartz does a fantastic job at bringing the character to the big screen, giving him just the right amount of snark that the character is known for, while also giving him more emotional depth than we’ve seen the character have before. In this film, Sonic is alone and wants friends more than anything, which is something Schwartz portrays excellently. It requires more emotion than Sonic normally gives in the games and other media, usually being on smart-aleck mode for the whole run. Schwartz gives him more depth than the hedgehog’s had in a while.
The other highlight of the movie is Sonic’s arch-enemy, Dr. Robotnik. Jim Carrey is in his element here, allowed to be the over-the-top wildman he hasn’t been in a long time. If you love Carrey in films such as Dumb and Dumber or Ace Ventura, you will enjoy his performance in this movie. Similar to Schwartz playing Sonic’s cockiness perfectly, the ego that Dr. Robotnik is known for in the games are brought across excellently by Carrey. Dr. Robotnik loves himself, to the point where he’s wanting to build a theme park dedicated to himself, and Carrey nails that egotism and brilliance he possesses.
The action in the movie is well done, but fairly standard. If you’ve seen a movie with a speedy character in it, you’ve more than likely seen some of the action this movie has. There’s even (let’s be generous and call it) a “homage” to Quicksilver’s scenes in Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. The humor is nothing fantastic either, but nothing groan-worthy (baring one or two jokes about farts) and there were plenty of chuckles to be had.
To summarize, the portrayals of Sonic and Robotnik are so good that they will be enough for hardcore fans to really enjoy this movie and kids will love it. As a movie, the film is just okay, but when gazing through the eyes of a die-hard fan of this franchise, it becomes something special.
Sonic the Hedgehog is currently in theaters and holds a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.