Sonic the Hedgehog movie review – A breezy & fun family adventure

Posted on 14 February 2020
By Andrew Siddall
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The path to a movie based on the popular Sega videogame franchise has been a rocky one. With the right moving between studios and the now infamous redesign which forced the release date back three months. But now it’s officially here in Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic the Hedgehog sees the young blue blur travelling across worlds and finding a new home on Earth. But after causing a nation-wide blackout, Sonic must team up with a small-town police officer, Tom Wachowski, in order to evade the evil Dr. Robotnik and stop him from stealing Sonic’s power.

Sonic is voiced by Parks and Recreation star Ben Schwartz, who nails the care-free nature perfectly, with an excited and energetic personality that’s never bored and hard not to like. He really excels during the more emotional scenes too, making them feel real and genuine.

Joining Sonic for the ride is James Marsden (X-Men), who really does bring some grounding to the film. He’s played well and his family have great chemistry. Considering the majority of his scenes pair him up with Sonic, he never tries to take over the movie, nor let Sonic do the same. It’s a very good pairing and the two of them do have a good connection.

Making his return to form as Dr. Robotnik is Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura, The Mask), who portrays the hyper-intelligent doctor with truly eccentric and scene-stealing glee. There are some attempts to give him a bit of backstory, but it isn’t very important to the plot, which was probably the wisest decision, allowing Carrey to do what he does best. This might not be for everyone, but fans of Jim Carrey will definitely enjoy his performance.

The movie mostly plays out like a road trip movie, with the characters almost always on the move, with a few side-tracks and disruption, which works really well for someone like Sonic.

In terms of story, the film is fairly simple and easy to follow, allowing for a breezy experience that doesn’t require too much thinking. It’s straight forward and allows for some pretty fun action sequences.

Speaking of the action, this is where the movie excels, with some creative uses of Sonic’s abilities, such as a Quicksilver-like slow motion sequence in a bar and a frantic chase that takes up the majority of the finale. It’s never dull, but doesn’t have any tension to keep us on the edge of our seats.

Being aimed towards younger viewers there is also a lot of comedy to keep things light. Surprisingly, a lot of the humour does hit and never feels too childish, although culture references may date relatively fast. It does strike a good balance of humour and story, knowing when to hold back and when to let loose.

That being said, there are some very on-the-nose product placement, which feels quite strange. It’s never clear if these are meant to be funny or unintentionally so. These scenes aren’t distracting, but do feel a little out of place.

It’s impossible to talk about this movie without mentioning the controversy. It isn’t a good sign that fans now have the kind of power to change studio’s minds, but for Sonic the Hedgehog, the changes genuinely do benefit the movie, with Sonic being far more appealing and expressive than a realistic version would have been.

The rest of the effects are pretty good. Robotnik’s drones and machines look sleek and threatening, while the scenes set on Sonic’s home world are beautifully realised interpretations of the game zones. Sonic himself does look a little cartoony, but he isn’t out of place and the cast are able to interact with him believably and sell that he does exist.

The music was composed by Tom Holkenborg (Deadpool), who has created a good soundtrack that works with the movie, but it isn’t very memorable. There are some really nice throwbacks to the games here and there, and the song choices are really good. It would have been nice to hear a song or two from Crush 40, but the songs used work just as well.

The fan service throughout does provide some good nostalgia to fans of the earlier games and doesn’t distract from the plot, whether it’s the name of locations or visual nods. This does feel like a love letter to Sonic that long-term fans will enjoy and hopefully introduce a new generation to the blue speedster.

Overall, this is fun-filled action adventure for the whole family. This was never going to be the greatest movie ever made, but it certainly is enjoyable, especially for fans. Whether this spawns a sequel remains to be seen, but the potential stored in this film could make that happen.

Purple Revolver rating 3/5. A good time!