‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Review – Sonic Rockets Past Expectations
Sonic the Hedgehog blasted its way into theaters this past weekend to fantastic box office numbers. It sets up a new and exciting age in video game movies, and most importantly, it’s surprisingly good.
WARNING: CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS.
Although there are no major spoilers in this review, please take precaution if you want to go into the film fresh and totally spoiler free. I just want to go over my initial reaction and how much this film took me by surprise without giving too much away. So if you are planning to take the kids, spin on over to the theaters but don’t forget to come back lightning fast to read on!
There are three target audiences when it comes to the first big-screen adaptation of Sega’s mascot and 1991 video game classic, Sonic the Hedgehog. The largest target are the children of the 80’s and 90’s. Millions upon millions of these lucky kids feverishly unwrapped their brand new Sega Genesis gaming systems for holidays and birthdays in the early to mid 90’s. With every system (I think) was a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog…a game that dethroned Mario for a good while and took the world by storm. Sonic became a such a smash it spawned multiple game sequels over three decades and a cartoon series. These kids (myself included) spent every allowable hour trying to spin their hedgehog through six (sometimes insanely frustrating) zones filled with bottomless pits, deadly spikes, water to drown in, and countless Dr. Robotnik creatures and machines, including Robotnik himself at the end of each zone as the big boss. Really brings back memories. Now, sadly, all those kids are grown up…including me (physically), but if you loved playing Sonic growing up and are anything like me, chances are the nostalgia will get your bottom in a theater seat.
The second target audience is Jim Carrey fans. When was the last time you went to the theater to see a silly Jim Carrey comedy? It’s been a while, am I right? Well, Carry as Dr. Robotnik is absolutely amazing and is by far best part of this film. If you never played a second of Sonic but loved Jim in his 90’s comedy classics, then go see this film! He took me right back to the days when I saw Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber, or even Batman Forever in theaters. This time however he’s like an evil Ace Ventura combined with the mechanical genius of Tony Stark. I actually wish the film was called Dr. Robotnik, and most of the 99 minute film would be focused on Carry. This is basically an origin story for Robotnik. In a very clever way, the mad doctor is looking like his old self by the end.
“He can make you laugh with no more than a frantic flailing of his limbs”
The third target audience includes the kids of the kids of the 80’s and 90’s. You follow me? This is 100% a movie the whole family can enjoy, but mostly it’s a little kids’ movie. Now, the kiddos may not know who Sonic is, but he sure is a really cool, really fast blue cartoon guy that Mom or Dad is really into for some reason. The story is not heavy and complex. It’s tight, fast paced, light-hearted, and easy to follow. Sonic, voiced by Jean-Ralphio himself, Ben Schwartz, is as quick with the current millennial sass and pop culture references as he is lightning fast. James Marsden plays a sheriff in the small town of Green Hills (wink wink) by the name of Tom Wachowski, who helps Sonic on his journey. Marsden and Carrey have a good amount of screen time together and they are hysterical. Both play bright and witty characters, and their interaction with each other was well done. I can’t imagine how Marsden held it together working with Carrey. I will be looking forward to that gag reel.
Being both a fan of Jim Carrey and Sonic growing up, I had a lot of fun with this movie. Yes, the CGI was just a touch hokey here and there, and there were plenty of jokes aimed for little ones which caused an eye roll or two, but for a kids’ movie? Well done, Paramount. Carrey had me laughing to the point of tears running down my face, and the movie just took me back to a simpler time. A time where my only goal for a Saturday morning was to wake up super early and get to that Sega Genesis before anyone else could. The film also leaves the door wide open for sequels, which of course I am now totally interested in. Sonic the Hedgehog drew in $113 million this President’s Day weekend against an $85 million production budget. That is huge and it absolutely means those sequels will happen.
Lastly, I’m not one that would typically just go to see a random kids’ movie, per se. Sonic and Jim Carrey were certainly the exception in this case. I have an almost seventeen-year-old daughter, so it has been a long time since I’ve sat in a theater jam packed with little kids. In fact, I do believe my fiancée and I were the only couple in the place who didn’t have kids. But it was really nice to take in the kid’s reactions and out-loud commentaries again. It brought me back to when my baby was a baby. Lots of laughter and giggling throughout the show. It was a fun time. All I could do was smile.
Sonic the Hedgehog is written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller; Directed by Jeff Fowler. Starring Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally and Neal McDonough.
Be sure to check out the trailer below:
Bobby Long is a life-long fan of Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney and The Simpsons who spends much of his free time running through all his favorite films…again and again. He has a beautiful fiancee, a beautiful daughter, and two of the cutest doggies you’d ever seen. He is eternally grateful to MovieNewsNet for giving him the opportunity to write about his passion.