The Sonic Movie speeds away with my heart
Aidan Janssen, Design Editor
Embodying its 1991’s source material, “Sonic the Hedgehog” races forward as a quick, enjoyable experience. Its use of cute and clever comedy makes it a great family movie even when it hits a few speed bumps along the way.
Directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Jeff Fowler, best known for his work on “Gopher Broke” and “Gilmore Girls,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” takes video game company SEGA’s most beloved character Sonic the Hedgehog and puts him on the big screen.
Sonic (Ben Schwartz) finds himself hiding himself on Earth as he knows that he can’t let anybody catch him and abuse his access to extreme speed. He quickly becomes attached to the planet. However, he knows that, if discovered, he must leave the planet that he loves so much.
Somewhat predictably, Sonic is discovered and also loses his escape ride to another planet. Now, Sonic and his new friend Tom Wachkoski (James Marsden) travel from Montana to California in an attempt to escape the grasp of Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
The plot itself is very simple and not much to write home about. It serves its purpose and it does so adequately, which actually fits pretty well. There is no underlying message and it’s best that the film doesn’t have one. The games were pretty much just about saving some animals from a bad guy — which if ‘be a good guy’ is the theme you’re looking for, then it’s safe to say you’ll find it here.
However, this simplicity is further reflected in the film’s use of comedy. It’s snappy and supposed to be taken very much at face value. And yet, many times throughout the movie, the writers threw out a joke that made me think, “Wait, that’s allowed in a children’s film?,” and most of the time the joke landed with me. Gang violence, the destruction of entire nations, and the confrontations between Sonic and Dr. Robotnik were definitely some of the more memorable and funny moments from the movie.
Although it feels like longtime Sonic voice Roger Craig Smith was replaced due to a lack of name recognition, Schwartz did a fine job portraying Sonic for the lines that he was given.
Still, some of the lows of the movie involved the titular character. Sonic’s involvement in the film can feel a bit inconsistent. In one scene Sonic will reference real world pop culture, but in the next he might be portrayed as having limited access to it. There are also inconsistencies within the portrayal of his emotions, such as a scene where Sonic gets frustrated for practically no reason other than to shift the plot to a different event.
Where Sonic stumbled, Robotnik ran. Carrey, as I expected, stole the show as the stereotypical intelligent, mustache twirling, scientist villain that I always imagined he’d be. He almost did too well, as comparing his performance to others was like comparing a 5 star gourmet restaurant to a McDonalds.
Carey’s costars better fit into the latter category. Everybody else feels bland and not very memorable. Tom and Maddie feel more like a plot device rather than interesting characters. Any scenes that they were part of were only ever memorable due to Sonic or Robotnik.
“Sonic the Hedgehog”’ has been one of the best video game adaptation movies I’ve seen. Overall, I had a great time with the film. If you’re searching for some deep analytical piece to pick apart, this movie isn’t for you. It’s an entertaining, fun ride that is best enjoyed with friends — just like video games. While “Sonic” isn’t a super consistent masterpiece of film, it is still an interesting friends night out and definitely worth your time.