Apparently, the problem with video game movies for all these years was that they were taking themselves too seriously for the average film critics. It only took about 20 years, but last year we got the first certified “fresh” video game movie and now ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ makes video game e getting good review a pattern. Heck, another 20 years and perhaps one will get nominated for an Oscar. Likely going to have to be an animated Oscar, but that’s something.
For now, the good news is that this movie is quite a bit of fun. It’s got some fairly decent throw back sequences to the original games. Ben Schwartz gives the character of Sonic a lot of heart and humor. Jim Carrey does the best job of hamming it up that he’s done in a few decades. And we get a decent amount of Sonic speeding in his trademark way. That doesn’t mean the film is not littered with cliche sequences and some of it doesn’t feel like a movie written by a committee, but the good does outweigh the bad.
The story here is simply that Sonic can’t exist in his own world because everyone wants his power. So, he uses the rings from the video games to transport to earth. He lives here pretty safely until one day he causes an electrical surge and releases a government funded Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to track him down. The movie then turns into a road trip tale to find the items needed to free Sonic and we watch him make friends with a local sheriff (James Marsdan) along the way.
Really though, the things that make the movie worth your time are Sonic and Robotnik. The trailers really made Sonic seem like he was going to be a damn Smurf that was making childish jokes every few seconds (and that’s after the horrible CGI fix), but he is really quite perfect. Those silly jokes in the trailer were pretty much all the bad jokes there were and worked much better when coupled with the context. Instead of being a drag, seeing Sonic on screen was a delight and the sprit he has had on the small screen carries over wonderfully.
Robotnik, on the other hand, has never been a memorable villain. The only thing he has going for him is his weird look. So, letting Jim Carrey riff on this character is quite clever. In fact, one scene where he is dancing in his evil semi truck lair is absolutely hilarious! More importantly, he creates just the right amount of weird that it keeps the proceedings interesting when things are getting a bit too familiar.
So, while I hope that the sequel spends more time with the animated characters and less time with the humans, this movie managed to make the familiar entertaining. And don’t forget to stick around at the end. There are a couple of after credit sequences, and one is so exciting for Sonic fans that it threatens to overshadow the whole rest of the movie. It also makes the idea of a sequel so damn exciting!