SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

They all say that bad publicity is still good publicity, and that couldn’t have been more true in the case of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. When the first trailer arrived and that horrid design was revealed, for once in a blue moon, the internet rightfully acted with disdain and revulsion. So, Paramount pushed the film back 3 months, but even if the design of Sonic was changed, the rest of the movie remained the same. Does altering the design have any effect at all? In this case, it absolutely does. 
 
Sonic the Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz), as we all know, is a blue hedgehog with the ability to run so fast that he can break the sound barrier. When Sonic causes a power surge throughout the entire Midwest, the military calls in mad scientist Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture him. Sonic ends up meeting small-town sheriff’s deputy Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), who team up and drive cross country to help Sonic get back to his home world, with Robotnik constantly on their tail. 
 
Sonic is a character that’s literally about one thing: he runs fast. That’s it. There’s not a whole lot else to him, so when the video game you’re adapting is simply running from Point A to Point B, what story is there to tell? Taking those fantastical, sometimes cartoonish, characters and putting them in our real world always seems to be the easiest path. You need that human connection, so having Sonic and Tom driving cross country and being hunted down by the bad guys makes enough sense. It’s the typical “fantastical character in the real world” formula you’ve seen in similar movies, but it works well enough to keep the events engaging. Sonic’s dilemma here is that he’s all alone. In the real world, he has nobody like himself, so he’s just stuck running around the world and that’s about it. As much as Sonic loves to run, he has to help Tom realize that he shouldn’t be running away from all of his problems but confronting them. There isn’t a whole lot to it, but it’s servicable to fill the 90-minute runtime. 
 
What makes it all work is Sonic’s character. He could have easily been irritating, but the way he’s written and with Ben Schwartz’s line delivery, he just comes off as a naïve and immature, yet charming, kid. A lot of the comedy is juvenile, but it ties into Sonic’s character, and he has amusing chemistry with James Marsden, who plays his character straight with the right amount of silly. The kids can enjoy Sonic and the adults can enjoy the humans, but their characters are appealing to pretty much any sort of demographic. There’s nothing especially inventive or surprising about their bond-forming road trip, but the comedy and inventive action scenes make up for the job there. Sonic’s superspeed is used to decent effect and gies us some nice visuals, even if they totally rip of the Quicksilver scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past. The rest of the added energy comes from Jim Carrey’s performance as the eccentric and mentally unhinged, yet genius, Dr. Robotnik. He’s the kind of goofy villain you would only get in a kids movie, but Carrey elevates the role with a magnetic comedic performance. Seriously, he commands every scene he’s in, with each one providing at least one hearty laugh. It’s been too long since Carrey has channeled that classic 90’s energy that made him famous in the first place. 
 
Sonic the Hedgehog isn’t all that great of a film on its own, but while watching it, I couldn’t help but think how much worse this all would have been if they kept that original character design. Like stated above, the overall movie is still the same, but the character just looks different now. Well, when it turns out a lot of the charm and fun comes from Sonic’s character, I could only imagine the constant look of disgust on my face and kid’s running for the exits if they kept that original abomination. It’s a perfect definition of sometimes, simple aesthetic changes can do wonders to improve a movie. Let’s just hope studios don’t keep catering to fan demands, because just because it worked here, doesn’t mean it always does. 
 
Just look at Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. 
 
5.5/10 

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