“Uh…Meow?” (Sonic the Hedgehog review)

The date: April 30th 2019. The event: The first Sonic trailer is released online. The issue: HORRIBLE CGI design of the main character. After a six-month delay from its original release date, Sonic the Hedgehog is finally released with a fully re-designed character. Unfortunately, in all the faff over the image of Sonic, the filmmakers forgot that a good script is more important than a CGI star.

The infamous culprit (left) and the redesign (right)

Sonic the Hedgehog is an alien from another world who can run at super speeds and uses gold rings to travel through dimensions. (This is the problem when you decide to make a film about what is essentially an arcade game concept). After living unseen on earth for years, he is discovered by the evil Doctor Robotnik and must get the help of local police officer Tom Wachowski to ensure he isn’t captured (again, video game concept, real world film. The two don’t work hand in hand).

The film features the voice of Ben Schwartz (‘Parks and Recreation’) as Sonic, and he adds a lot of fun and heart to a character that, in concept, is almost as ridiculous as the Pokémon in last years ‘Detective Pikachu’. James Marsden (an actor I’m still convinced was born 50 years too late and is a hugely underrated Golden Age Hollywood star that is stuck acting in today’s naff blockbuster climate) plays Officer Tom, and equally is perfectly fine in a relatively safe role. HOWEVER, everybody is talking about this film because announces the triumphant return of the one and only Jim Carrey as Doctor Robotnik.

jim carreyJim Carrey is an absolute JOY to watch in this movie, playing the exact same rubber-faced overacting character that got him famous all those years ago. Playing a part robot scientist who is also the smartest man in the world is no easy feat, but Carrey somehow kind of makes it work. Granted, sometimes he gets a bit silly even for his own good, but his outstanding commitment to the daft and bizarre cannot be overstated.

Unfortunately, this film is an incredibly by-the-numbers movie, complete with the film opening half-way through the finale, pausing on the characters face, and him saying in his narrated voice “So… I know what you’re thinking…” (yeah, why did I pay to see another badly written CGI-filled video game movie). The action in this film borrows heavily from the X-Men quicksilver scenes, but does them in a less classy way, and the movie also features embarrassing additions like Sonic flossing (it was cringey and outdated enough when ‘Shazam’ did it this time last year). I will admit though that I chuckled once when a woman asked Sonic, during one of his sprinting outbursts, whether he could wear her Fitbit while doing it.

Overall, Sonic is another bog-standard CGI-filled video game movie adaptation. While it’s far more enjoyable and accessible than Detective Pikachu, its narrative is majorly lacking. Thankfully, a triumphant return from Jim Carrey and a cast of people having fun with what they’re given saves the audience from total boredom, though the sequel very much set up at the end of this film will hopefully be a far better written piece.

5 stars 3

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