When I heard that Paramount was making a Sonic the Hedgehog movie, I thought it was a terrible idea. Then I saw what they made Sonic look like, I lost it like the rest of the Internet. Thankfully, the studio made the right call, delayed the movie to fix their mistake, and released it this week. Now, what once seemed destined to be a failure is the highest grossing film based on a video game in history.
I just got back from seeing the film on its opening weekend, and I can safely say that it’s good. For one thing, they redesigned Sonic so that he’s more faithful to his in-game appearance. Furthermore, while they could have gone the easy way and just made the whole thing in CGI, Paramount chose not to. Instead, they chose the harder route and have a story take place in our world. Either decision could have back-fired if done wrong, but the studio and Sega pull it off fairly well. They don’t go overboard with the CGI, only using it when necessary, mostly involving Sonic.
In the film, Sonic has been living on Earth for years near the town of Green Hills, Montana, trying to keep his powers a secret. Trying to keep Sonic under wraps, though, is like trying to give a cat a bath. Next thing he knows, he’s attracted the attention of the US Government, who send in Dr. Robotonik to capture him. Add in a local sheriff who wants to leave Green Hills, and you got a buddy-road-trip-action film.
Now, the story itself isn’t that original: quirky character and a straight man go on a life-changing trip. What makes this film work, though, is the execution. More specifically, how its stellar cast plays off each other.
Playing the lead role as Sonic is the lovable Ben Schwartz. Most people know him from Parks and Recreations; I just know him as the voice of Dewey Duck in the reboot of Ducktales. Ben brings the same energy and self-confidence he shows as Dewey and channels it into an accurate portrayal of Sonic the Hedgehog. He’s energetic, playful, likes saying one-liners and telling jokes. At the same time, though, we see how lonely he is and how much he wants to have a real friend. By the end of the film, he ends up getting one in the form of Tom Wachowski, played by James Marsden. The duo have a genuine chemistry as friends and seem to play off each other fairly well.
Of course, the one who manages to steal the show is Dr. Robotonik, played by Jim Carrey in his best performance in years. He plays the Eggman with the same manic fervor and body language that made him a hit in 90s films like The Mask and Ace Ventura. It’s almost like the 90s Jim Carrey came twenty years into the future to play Dr. Robotnik. Underneath the manic behavior, though, we see he’s already the mad scientist fans know. He knows he’s smarter than anyone else, he’s used to being on top, and is utterly ruthless in his desire to remain there. In short, he’s a good villain.
Where To Now?
So, now that Sonic’s managed to have a hit movie, where does Sega take him? In an ideal world, this would be the start to rebuilding Sonic’s reputation, marred by games that range from average at best to garbage at worst. Or Sega could try and make this a multiple film series and see how well it goes. The ending provides enough sequel bait!
Me, I’m just hoping that Sega doesn’t waste this opportunity for the blue blur. Their star character now has a second lease on life, and they shouldn’t waste it. If you’re a hardcore Sonic fan or only casually know, then I recommend you got see this movie. Gotta Go Fast!
I Give “Sonic the Hedgehog” a 4/5
Click here to see my reviews for various films.