“Speed provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.” -Aldous Huxley
The journey of a thousand video game-based movies continues with Sonic the Hedgehog. I still maintain that not a single movie, based on a video game, exists that is good without exception. The closest Hollyweird has come is making a movie that is okay, nothing more than improved beyond being completely awful. Not something I’d call a success. Now what about that ol’ blue critter running amuck? This newest attempt pretty much falls into place with the others, it’s a passable albeit predictable family film decent enough to kill two hours in the middle of the afternoon.
I think when Pixar makes a movie they do so with the thought that parents are going to sit through their movies so the decent thing would be to create something everyone can enjoy. This is why their films win an Oscar every year after raking in a billion dollars at the box office. Their stories are universal and never dumbed down. While Sonic isn’t a failure it doesn’t exactly bring anything challenging to the medium as a whole. It makes funny third grader jokes, has a bunch of flashy computer generated images to dazzle and distract, and sort of leaves the story aspect at the side of the road.
I saw this with my nephew (age 10) and he really enjoyed it. While I found myself laughing here and there it became clear early on this wasn’t intended for me(even though it was my generation that grew up with this character but whatever). That said I had more fun than I thought I would going in believing I was about to witness a ninety minute trainwreck.
The visuals were adequate, particularly the blue gerbil having famously gone through a digital makeover. He was definitely on screen but his cartoonish design keeps it from ever truly feeling apart of the same world as the actors interacting with tennis balls as character markers. Of course we all remember the abomination before this version when they tried a more realistic(?) character design so maybe a cartoonish design is an act of kindness. Maybe I should be grateful? Despite the Sonic character always feeling “added in post” his traits as an oddball sort of hero are showcased in fun, flashy fashion being always curious and never malicious. He’s the cutesy fluff we expect in the days of baby Yoda and Babu Frik, Sonic fits right in.
Now let’s talk about villains… In this case we have a fifty-eight year old manchild (I say this with love) doing what he does better than anyone else. With this role, the enigmatic Dr. Robotnik, Carrey is allowed to explode in true Jim Carrey fashion throwing any and all inhibitions to the wind. He is crazy and energetic, always amping up every scene he enters. This is Carrey’s bread and butter, his safeplace and although we’ve seen him unhinged for the sake of comedy many times before he’s no less a good time pursuing that odd little rodent. He wears the mustache with confidence almost using it as a measuring stick holding it up against those he feels superior to, which last check was everyone… on the planet Earth. However his interactions with Sonic don’t feel iconic or long awaited but rather just a silly, over-the-top bad guy throwing a “wrench” into the plans of the good guys. It’s obvious and therefore lacking anything memorable. Again this whole endeavor is passable at best, arguably better than anticipated.
I wanted my nephew to have fun and he did and so I did as well. It’s mercifully short and rarely wastes time getting to the point. It plays it safe from beginning to end creating a simple enough but forgettable family adventure comedy. If anything it’ll hold over the kids until something better comes along. I mentioned Pixar earlier, Onward is on the horizon. From expected disaster to decent enough, not exactly a victory but certainly not a failure. Still waiting for that amazing video game to movie adaptation. I won’t hold my breath.
Rated PG For: action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language
Runtime: 99 minutes
After Credits Scene: Mid-credits
Genre: Action, Adventure, Family
Starring: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter
Directed By: Jeff Fowler
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2.5/ Acting: 3/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 3.5
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: As someone with no children, No. If you want something new to play in the minivan on a long trip, you could do worse.
Check out the trailer below:
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