As a kid, Sonic the Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz) is forced to flee his home planet after being attacked for his powers of super-speed. He hides out on Earth for a number of years, but his peaceful life is disturbed when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) discovers Sonic’s powers. The blue hedgehog is forced to go on the run again and luckily he has local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) to help him.
‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ could have ended up going down the same road ‘Cats’ did. There was a furore when the original trailer came out as the design of Sonic - with its creepy beady eyes and human-like teeth - repulsed viewers for its uncanny valley effect. Fortunately, director Jeff Fowles committed to re-designing the character. And the more cartoonish appearance of Sonic now is much more akin to the original Sega games he appeared in. Thus we tip our hats to the VFX department for all those efforts because in the end, they paid off.
Now to the movie itself. Plot wise, as you can imagine, much of the focus is on the relationship between Sonic and Tom. It’s a dynamic you’ve seen a hundred times before in mismatched odd couple going on road trips (like ‘Planes Trains and Automobiles’ and ‘Finding Nemo’), the annoying kid idolises the father figure (‘Up’), and the mischievous animal gets paired up with the irritated human (‘Turner & Hooch’, ‘Hop’, and ‘Up’, again actually). There are some laugh-out-loud moments, particularly involving Tom’s wife’s sister (Natasha Rothwell - ‘Insecure’) but it’s usually a bit silly and mostly for kids.
One thing that does work in the movie’s favour, and brings the quality well up a notch, is Jim Carrey. The star of such 90s comedies as ‘The Mask’, ‘Ace Ventura’, ‘Liar Liar’ and ‘The Cable Guy’ has lost none of the energy he brought to the big screen three decades ago. He is one of the best movie villains we’ve had in a long time and totally throws himself into the role, bringing that zaniness and mania we adore the comedian for. He’s loving playing this evil genius, and that enthusiasm is infectious. His character is sharp and witty as well as delightfully obnoxious and devilish. His little dances are adorable and he has this assistant he’s constantly abusing – it’s such good fun. Carrey makes the movie so much more enjoyable for the adults and the kids (who may not have been introduced to the actor yet) are just going to love him.
Thus if you’re going to ‘Sonic’ for a bit of Jim Carrey nostalgia, I’m happy to say, you won’t be disappointed. Generally speaking though, it’s just an OK film. What we need next is a Doctor Robotnik solo movie.