Sonic the Hedgehog

Dept. of Chilli Dogs, Speed, and Sega


Sonic the Hedgehog is the latest attempt by Hollywood to co-opt the massive audiences (and pay-day) of video games. With regular reminders that the video game industry is almost bigger than the movie business, Hollywood has been trying for years to capture some of those gold rings for themselves with incredibly erratic results. Super Mario Bros (1993), Doom (2005), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Rampage (2018), and Street Fighter (1994) are all… memorable in their own ways, but could hardly be called good movies. Outside the unkillable (inconsistent?) Resident Evil franchise, the best Tinseltown has been able to manage have been some decent Tomb Raider movies, both Jolie and Vikander having their moments, Warcraft (hey, I liked it!) and last year’s pretty fantastic Pokémon Detective Pikachu. (Note: neither I nor anyone else can remember ANYTHING about Prince of Persia starring Jake Gyllenhaal from 2010).

After a disastrous trailer launch with a lead character design that soured milk by looking at it and made babies cry, in 5 months director Jeff Fowler and the VFX team have managed to pull together an enjoyable, quite funny action flick, with a decent amount of heart, that manages to avoid many of the cliche’s of, to adapt some video game terminology, the “E.T-alike”.

Kill It With Fire

Old Sonic, BAD Sonic

Starting with the bones of a classic fish out of water story, Sonic is abandoned on Earth as a child after escaping some unknown enemies (ECHIDNAS!) on his home planet. Sonic has grown up alone in the woods of Montana, GREEN HILLS, Montana, hiding himself from those who would apparently “seek out his power” and observing the lives of the town’s various inhabitants.

After accidentally unleashing his power in a fit of loneliness, the US government unleashes the unhinged Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture the blue blur. Only James Marsden’s Local Sheriff Tom Wachowski can help him escape and along the way a friendship just might flourish.

Level Up!

That’s MUCH better!

Despite the uneven tone of the trailers (what is with that recently?) Sonic actually works as a fun kids movie that adults can also enjoy. Ben Scwartz’s Sonic is the right balance of fun and annoying creates a great chemistry with James Marsden (who deserves far more serious Westworld style roles).

It helps that Sonic isn’t a complete abomination to the eyes, looking far more like his Video Game counterpart. They even manage to weave a mostly coherent story from the various elements of Sonic’s various incarnations (rings, chilli dogs, disparate locations that in no way gel together ) and even add some that no one ever asked about , like how Sonic got his red shoes.

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mayhem!

The not-so-secret power up of the movie though is Jim Carrey. Recapturing the manic energy of his Ace Ventura: Pet Detective days, but not going to far overboard, he is a delight every time he is on screen. Almost every scene that came off as overly goofy or just plain bad in the film’s marketing, works in context, and there are plenty more gags that caught me by surprise. Most involve Carrey’s put upon lackey Agent Stone (Lee Majdoub) who provides a brilliant foil for Carrey’s high jinks.

Adam Pally also turns up as the Deputy Sheriff of Green Hill’s in a performance that will have audiences asking , “Where’s Adam Pally been since Happy Endings“?

Secret Levels

For fans of the games, there’s plenty of fun Easter eggs to enjoy, but they are not too excessive. I personally felt my heart leap as the familiar tones of the green hill zone theme played at one stage, but make sure to stay after the credits roll for the biggest Easter egg of all.

Despite some horribly blatant product placement, at odds with the films fun tone, Sonic The Hedgehog is a well crafted video game adaptation that should keep Genesis/Megadrive fans happy and help turn around the genre’s bad reputation.

Sonic The Hedgehog
99  minutes
Director: Jeff Fowler
Writers: Patrick Casey and Josh Miller,
Characters: Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima and Hirokazu Yasuhara
Cast: Jim Carrey, Ben Schwartz,  James Marsden, Adam Pally, Tika Sumpter, and Lee Majdoub

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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