Sonic the Hedgehog runs into “alright” territory

PHOTO+BY+PARAMOUNT+PICTURES%2C+SEGA

PHOTO BY PARAMOUNT PICTURES, SEGA

After an entire three-month delay, Paramount Pictures and Sega have finally pushed Sonic the Hedgehog toward the big screen. Directed by Jeff Fowler, this action-comedy film follows Sonic (Ben Schwartz) living life on Earth where he meets his new human friend, San Francisco cop Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). Together, they both must stop Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) before he captures Sonic to take advantage of his powers for world domination.

Schwartz does a very good job playing the role of Sonic. While I do enjoy Sonic’s other voice actors like Roger Craig Smith and Jason Griffith, Ben is probably one of the best voice actors for him. Sonic is comical, except it’s not like he’s trying to put on a show. He knows when to be serious just as much as he knows when to be comical. 

Jim Carrey’s Robotnik (or Eggman in the games) was undoubtedly the best character in the whole movie. There is just something about Eggman’s campy cartoon villain style that only Carrey can pull off so amazingly well in live-action.

As for the film in general, I thought it was mostly alright. The action is fun, the writing is really funny, most of the characters are good, and Sonic himself is zany and expressive, which is possibly the best part about the movie. But again, the film is still just alright. There wasn’t anything that made me think, “Wow, looks like Citizen Kane has some wild competition now.” Nor was there anything that made me think, “Wow, I could use a nice dinner out at Olive Garden.”

Yeah, the blatant product placement did rub me off a bit. The movie also takes advantage of promoting Zillow by proudly showing the logo in a full screen view of a house, which does happen on the actual site. But, I still saw it as an ad and only an ad.

If there was anything else that I didn’t like, one of them would be how Maddie (Tika Sumpter), who is Tom’s wife, doesn’t do all that much. At least she isn’t a horrible character.

The other thing I especially don’t like is the plot. Even for this movie, it’s the most basic “character causes havoc with a famous actor” plot imaginable. Why this is still a thing is beyond me.

There is also a subplot in which Sonic gets mad at Tom when finding out that he’s leaving to work full-time at San Francisco. Then it’s never talked about again until it gets eventually solved many scenes later like it never happened. One thing I’d like to learn more about is Sonic’s planet. Why is he being hunted down by an echidna tribe? What’s with the rings? What ever happened to Sonic’s caretaker? Hopefully the rumored sequel explains all of this.

This film is rated PG and I would say that it’s a great ride for kids and adults alike. But, of course, there certainly are better movies. Obviously it’s not going to be on the same level as, I don’t know, The Lighthouse. But, I don’t think people should fall for the idea that just because it’s “for kids” means it should be excused from criticism. There are some children’s films that arguably classify as masterpieces such as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, My Neighbor Totoro, Inside Out, Coraline, and The Lego Movie. My point is, as good as the Sonic movie is, it could’ve easily been better. I still think it’s worth a watch, though.

7/10