Millennials remember the Sega Genesis and the dazzling video game, Sonic the Hedgehog. Much like its source material, the new adventure comedy film of the same name is a visual treat. Making his directorial debut is Jeff Fowler. Sonic stars Ben Schwartz, voicing the little blue devil and Jim Carrey as Doctor Robotnik. James Marsden and Tika Sumpter also star in supporting roles.
Watch It: If you want a basic and cute story with great visuals and performances.
Skip It: If you want a more considerable and moving story, without one-liners and pop culture references.
Sonic will remind some of last year’s Pokemon Detective Pikachu. Pikachu and Sonic are both furry, little creatures. They both can emit strong bolts of lightning. Both films rest on successful video game franchises. And both films include white men in supporting roles. These men go through character development, receiving such from our high-voltage pocket monsters. By the end, both films also resemble the same quality-level.
Sonic is a cute film that works for the whole family. As the film’s antagonist, Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik offers one-liners that work half the time with great laughs. Voice acting by Ben Schwartz for the title character fits Sonic well. Kids will be laughing from scene to scene. Sonic has received an “A” grade on Cinemascore, so it could become a box office success. If it does, it partly will have the writing to thank, geared towards a family audience.
This isn’t to say it’s an all-around great screenplay. It’s still pumped full of pop culture references that don’t quite hit home. And the general structure of the film is ill-defined. We don’t quite get enough changes in the life of Sonic to offer a robust script from start to finish. Overall, Sonic avoids any degree of messiness that would otherwise make it a poor film.
The visuals of Sonic look great. A blue color palette that surrounds and tails Sonic as he runs at a supersonic speed is great to see on the big screen. Against these blues is a red motif that encapsulates Doctor Robotnik. From his costume design, to his speeder, to his endless amount of drones, Robotnik’s red palette pairs well against a blue Sonic. The final sequences are a visual thrill.
Sonic himself also looks amazing, and in line with the Sonic from the video games some of us remember so well. The initial design of Sonic received strong criticisms during initial screenings. As a result, Paramount went back to redesign him. Fowler even commented on Twitter that they’ve heard the feedback and would go back to redesign him. Later reactions fared much better.
For fans of the franchise and world of Sonic, viewers should be content. The main setting of the film is named after one of the levels in the game, and gold rings play a pivotal role throughout. Additionally, fans will want to stay until after the credits. There’s another element introduced that some will love to see from the video games.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a delightful film that many families will enjoy. Some comedic choices do fall flat. But many who are now parents will enjoy taking their kids to this adventure comedy. Enough reverence for the world of Sonic remains in the film. Unfortunately, the story plays as mechanical as Dr. Robotnik’s contraptions. It gets a recommendation, but only by a hair’s breadth of a hedgehog.