If you’re under the age of 45, you know Sonic the Hedgehog, the Sega Genesis answer to Mario, who sprinted on to the scene in the early 90s and has become a video game icon over the time. Remarkably, it’s taken almost 30 years for him to get his own big screen feature film. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the movie named after him for anyone under the age of 10, let alone adults looking for some old school video game nostalgia.
We catch up with Sonic as a young hedgehog fleeing from his home planet as a child, and growing up in the sleepy Montana town of Green Hills, where he shadows the residents and avoids anything that could lead to his discovery. When he loses control of his power one night, he catches the attention of the government and the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carey) will do anything he can to capture the creature harness it’s power. Its then up to Deputy Wachowski (James Marsden) to help keep Sonic safe and help him find the golden rings that can allow him to escape to a safer life.
The problem is that the film rarely gets passed it’s unfunny jokes and shaky direction to succeed.
Director Jeff Fowler insists on constant close ups of Marsden shouting into empty space where a still rough looking Sonic is supposed to be and it’s too obvious. As far as the story, because the movie is so dumbed down, we never really get invested. In matter of fact, you might actually want the bad guys to catch him. I know there were times when I wanted that to happen so the movie would end sooner.
As for what does work, it’s Jim Carey.
This is over the top Jim Carey, who we loved back in “The Mask” and “Ace Ventura” around the same time that the Sonic games were thriving. He does succeed in bringing Robotnik to life and it’s good to have this version of him back. The finale is also impressive with the special effects elevating it’s game to finally giving Sonic the treatment he deserves.
Unfortunately for us, it doesn’t happen sooner and Sonic the Hedgehog never picks up enough speed to be a good movie. I’m not failing the film because it’s apparently trying to win over younger fans to move the mythology further along, but even in that regard it could have done much better.
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Sonic the Hedgehog
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes