Sonic the Hedgehog-REVIEW

Film poster

Video games and movies. Like pineapple on pizza, it’s a combination that hasn’t sat well with a lot of people no matter how often it’s presented to them. History has tried again and again to go against the Gods and make a successful adaptation of a popular video game IP. Super Mario Brothers, Mortal Kombat, Assassin’s Creed, DOOM, and so many others have come up short in one way or another in their adaptations. Fans have been eagerly chomping at the bit for the day an adaption comes along that blows critics and audiences out of the water by bringing a story from small CTV screen to the silver screen.

This movie is not that movie, but it could have been a lot worse.

I grew up on Sonic the Hedgehog video games, starting a little late with Sonic Adventure 2, but eventually finding my way to the classic games of the Sega Genesis era. If you had told me there was going to be a Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie coming out one day, I would have developed the technology to freeze myself in time until I could thawed out for the world premiere. Kid-me probably would have loved this movie, but I’m a different man now. I’ve seen Taxi Driver. I am much more aware of the complexities and intricacies of the art of cinema than I was when younger. Call it a blessing or a curse, but now I have to view this harmless film intended for people half my age alongside the masterpieces of history.

Sonic the Hedgehog follows the titular hedgehog, a creature from another world capable of running at supersonic speeds. He finds himself stranded on Earth with a desperate desire for friendship. When his presence catches the eye of a maniacal inventor named Dr. Robotnik, Sonic must form an unusual alliance with a small-town sheriff to stay alive.

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and James Marsden in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

If the plot sounds basic and familiar, that’s because it is. Instead of pulling from the mythos of the original games, a classic tale of nature versus technology that would feel properly prominent in today’s climate, the film decides to go a simpler route with no underlying themes or messages. The goal of the film is simply to entertain, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Movies like these have their place in the world, but if your main goal is to entertain, then by God you better be entertaining.

Most of the film’s focus is on Sonic and the sheriff. Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz of Parks & Recreation fame, is a bouncing ball of energy that rarely stops talking. Surprisingly, he’s not as annoying as a description like that would imply. He’s still annoying, but not enough to ruin the film. For what it’s worth, Schwartz does a fairly good job giving a distinct identity to the hedgehog. His sheriff buddy, played by James Marsden, is the proverbial straight man that helps this hedgehog out of water find his footing on Earth. Marsden’s role feels almost identical to his role in Hop, just replace a rabbit with a blue hedgehog. The dynamic of the two works well enough, but there’s nothing really interesting about it to mention.

The real star of the show is Dr. Robotnik, played by veteran funnyman Jim Carrey. Harnessing the manic energy that defined his past roles in Ace Ventura and The Mask, Carrey outshines every other character in the film. He was consistently the funniest part of the film for me and I was happy whenever we could cut away from the main story to see what he was up to. Everything from his lines to his delivery to his mannerisms just worked for me. I got over the fact he looks nearly nothing like his videogame counterpart because of how much it looks like he genuinely enjoys himself. He saves the film from being instantly forgettable, and I tip my hat to him for that.

Jim Carrey as Doctor Robotnik

When Carrey isn’t onscreen, the focus shifts to Sonic and sheriff on a cross country road trip to recover Sonic’s Macguffin rings that will allow him to escape Earth. Wacky hijinks ensue, with various ranges of effect. The comedy relies on Sonic’s high energy curiosity, pop culture references, and an odd amount of product placement (Olive Garden must have funded the character redesign). It didn’t always work for me, but kids are sure to at least have their attentions held for most of it.

As a Sonic fan, I can rest easy that we got a film that doesn’t completely trample over the source material. It may not be accurate to the games I know in love, but the movie isn’t really for me. Sure, they sneak in some references to past games and memes, but it’s main target is a demographic I am no longer a part of. Sonic flosses twice for heaven’s sake. Could it have been done better to accommodate both young and old fans? Absolutely, but it didn’t and I’m not going to lose sleep over it. It’s fine for what it is. Kids will love it, adults will be entertained half the time, and lifelong fans can be happy in the fact that it wasn’t some weird, nightmarish dystopian movie like the Super Mario Brothers movie.

Rating

(out of a possible 5 chilidogs)

The Blue Blur

If you’re like me, a curious adult wanting to check out a film based on a character you loved as a kid, then alcohol can be a great pairing. For this film, I’ve decided to feature a drink that reminded me of the tropical levels of the Sonic games I grew up with. Plus, it’s blue! Additionally, the drink is rimmed with a gold ring of salt to further enhance the drinks effectiveness. It’s sure to make you as energetic as the blue hedgehog and sledgehammer you with the knowledge that the only problem with being faster than light is that you have to live in the darkness.

Way past cool, dude!

Ingredients

  • 1 shot of peach schnapps
  • 1 shot blue curacao
  • 2 shots of coconut rum
  • Lemon lime soda
  • Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Margarita salt
  • Yellow food dye

Instructions

  1. In a bowl or plastic bag, add margarita salt and a few drops of food coloring. Mix/shake the two, adding more food coloring until you get your desired color.
  2. Wet the rim of a tall glass with a lemon slice or water.
  3. Pour colored salt onto a small plate and rim the glass with it.
  4. Add ice to the glass, followed by the peach schnapps, blue curacao, and the coconut rum (in that order).
  5. Top off the drink with the lemon lime soda and stir.
  6. Garnish with lemon wheel.

Video

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