HOLLYWOOD─If you grew up in the 80s and you played video games, you are well aware of the SEGA Genesis character, Sonic, notably “Sonic the Hedgehog.” The character was easily the most popular of any of the games from the SEGA universe. The movie does not have an original premise where an alien creature comes to Earth to prevent being haunted by evil forces wanting to steal his supersonic speed.
It is on Earth that Sonic (voice of Ben Schwartz) comes face-to-face with Officer Tom Wachoski (James Marsden). The duo builds a friendship as Tom and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter), help the hedgehog escape the clutches of the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Yes, I would be lying if I said Carey’s casting in the role is perfect. The only gripe I have is that Carey doesn’t look exactly like Robotnik who was a bit chubby if I recall from the videogame. Only Carey with all his quirks and over the top excitement can capture the essence of this villain whose thirst for power is unlike any other, not to mention his constant bragging about his intelligence.
Tom is in a dilemma as his desire to join the San Francisco Police Department becomes a reality, but he has trepidations about leaving his hometown. The narrative is not difficult to follow as the U.S. government utilizes Dr. Robotnik to track the cause of an energy surge that caused power to go out in the Pacific Northwest.
It soon becomes a quest for Sonic, Tom and Maddie to outwit Dr. Robotnik and the government looking to capture him. The plot lingers a bit too long for Tom and Sonic who bond while on a trip to San Francisco to retrieve his rings that allow him to transport between worlds.
The one aspect that surprised me about the movie was the level of comedy in it. It was tongue and cheek, but absolutely hilarious. I laughed a lot more times out loud than I ever expected watching a movie of this magnitude. Schwartz is hilarious as the character, who delivers one-liners that are absolute zingers at times. Kids will really chuckle, an adult that is dependent if they’re familiar with the character.
The visuals are top-notch, and gives the impression that Sonic is a real-life entity; one that doesn’t appear phony or fake. It’s a welcome change which is an indication that the filmmakers were not afraid to take their patience to ensure the audience didn’t have an opportunity to complain about the movie not being a faithful adaptation of the videogame.
With the film’s box-office success, it’s easy to see how the film’s ending sets the stage for a sequel. The audience gets the tease of another iconic character from the videogame and we get to see Dr. Robotnik become his true self.