I was always more of a Mario guy growing up, most of my exposure to the Sonic franchise coming from playing the Mario and Sonic at The Olympic Games series, but even I must admit it was oddly satisfying to see the Sega logo on the big screen. Sonic the Hedgehog is a pleasant surprise; I liked the film more than I thought I would.
Everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog, Sonic, lives a quiet and lonely life on Earth, where he must hide. One night, when Sonic becomes frustrated with his situation, he loses control of his power and emits a super electromagnetic pulse which catches the eye of the U.S. government. Scientific genius, Dr. Robotnik, is enlisted by the government to discover Sonic, but the evil doctor has more in mind – he wants to find the source of Sonic’s power and attain it for himself. Meanwhile, Sonic, desperate to escape Earth, must find the magic rings he’s lost, and with the help of a local sheriff. Gotta go fast.
Sonic the Hedgehog’s biggest strength is its seemingly self-aware; it is a videogame-based buddy comedy that never takes itself too seriously. This allows for a lot of nonsensical fun. The jokes, the dialogue, the characters even, are mostly juvenile and dumb, but in a good way. Remember the Quicksilver scene from Days of Future Past? Well, Sonic did it better. And what better way to open up a film about Sonic than with the classic “you’re probably wondering how I got here?” narrated freezeframe? I hesitate to call this a “so bad it’s good” film, because it honestly might just be good.
Ben Schwartz does a fantastic job as the voice of Sonic and bringing the character to life; the animation redesign looks much better too (afterwards, I looked at a side by side comparison of the original design with the new one and the improvement is glaring). James Marsden is also charmingly likeable as Tom, the cop who bonds with Sonic. But the true star of the show is Jim Carrey, who I was glad to see return swimmingly well to his manic roots. As the villain Dr. Robotnik, who some of you may recognize as Dr. Eggman, Carrey comically boasts of his superior intelligence and is very physical in his performance; he is a perfect fit to such an in-your-face role.
Sonic the Hedgehog won’t win any awards, nor change the way we see film forever, but it did surpass low expectations with flying colors. After making $70 million at the box office this past President’s Day weekend, coupled with a sequel-hinting ending that would make Marvel proud, I believe Sonic the Hedgehog Two is on the horizon and I look forward to it…truly. 7/10