So, what I want to do right here is sing the SEGA thingy that played whenever I started up the Sonic The Hedgehog cartridge, but this is written media, so… Seriously, though, Sonic was the reason I wanted a SEGA Genesis. Mario was a fat slow plumber by comparison, and I felt the need for speed. But does that translate to a full-length feature film? Let’s find out.
Someone decided to make this movie. Why? Because they knew that the little snots who played Sonic as a kid have money now and will totally go watch a movie about it. And I did. Because I’m a sheep, controlled by Hollywood. Also, I write movie reviews so it’d be weird to skip it. Also — the movie isn’t a total disaster. It’s actually pretty decent.
A lot of the success sits on the shoulders of the two principle (live) actors. Both Jim Carrey and James Marsden take their roles seriously, not in a “Shakespeare actor in a kids movie” kind of way, but in a “if we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it right” kind of way. It’s been a while since we’ve been treated to full Jim Carrey, and as someone who grew up with his manic energy, I’ve missed it. He’s in all his glory here with no F’s to give about what movie he’s in or how silly the premise might be.
And Marsden, well, he’s very pretty and does a believable job in convincing you that he’s kinda growing fond of a CG hedgehog. He’s surprisingly funny in the role, and without his empathy towards the blue speedster, it’d be easy to lose all hope. But he keeps the movie on the rails, playing the straight man to Carrey’s Robotnik.
As for Sonic, well… he works out okay. He’s certainly the driver of the story, but not as central to the success of the film, strangely. They’ve worked him up a super-tragic backstory that kids will probably gloss over, but that might leave you heartbroken if you think too hard about it. The hedgehog’s been through some rough stuff, man, and could probably use years of therapy.
Instead, he runs. A lot. The movie embraces all of the speedster tropes, but manages an almost satiric spin on it with Sonic’s slow-mo sequences, his super-fast sojourns, and his Snoopy-like sports prowess. There are some legitimately funny moments in this movie that had me laughing out loud, though few of the jokes will end up being quote-worthy over time.
All in all, if you take this movie for what it is, I think you’ll have a good time. You don’t really need to know anything about the old games to enjoy it, and you’re almost guaranteed to laugh a time or two. If you’ve got kids, all the better. The ones in my theater seemed to adore it. Sonic the Hedgehog could have been such a disaster, but it’s not — it’s actually fun.
Should you watch it? If you grew up with the game, or like the trailers, then you’ll probably enjoy it
Should you take your kids? Absolutely, even the violence is very tame
What you should watch first: Nothing. Sonic is a blue hedgehog from another planet who runs really fast and can use magic rings to travel between worlds. There. You’re caught up.