Main cast: Ben Schwartz (Sonic the Hedgehog), James Marsden (Tom Wachowski), Tika Sumpter (Maddie Wachowski), Lee Majdoub (Stone), Natasha Rothwell (Rachel), Adam Pally (Wade), Neal McDonough (Major Bennington), Frank C Turner (Crazy Carl), and Jim Carrey (Dr Robotnik)
Director: Jeff Fowler
Why am I watching something like Sonic the Hedgehog? Well, buckling the trend of movies based on video games, this one is reportedly not too bad. Besides, after the initial horror that was the first design of Sonic, the people behind this movie went back to the drawing board to make our hero look more like the cute thing that furries want to have sex with, one that we see in the video games. In a time when they could have arrogantly blamed the fans for being “toxic” and causing the movie to tank, these folks’ willingness to accept criticism should be supported. How nice for me that this movie isn’t too bad – it’s actually pretty fun.
Oh, and don’t hate me, but I know zilch about Sonic and the setting when I sit down to watch this thing. I was more of a Super Mario Bros person back in those days, and I never cared to find out more about Sonic. Fortunately, I can follow this movie just fine.
If I want to look at this movie like an adult, I’d say that Sonic is a super clingy, borderline creepy ex-kind of teenager who has serious impulse control issues and a terminal case of acting-before-thinking. If I think like a kid, though, I’d probably just go, “YAAAY! SONIC!”
Okay, the story. In some place where Sonic came from, he was born with great powers that his guardian, Longclaw the Owl, insists must be kept hidden to avoid unwanted attention. Of course, he went all whee and woo, zipping across the place in high speed until enemies showed up after he led them to Longclaw’s hideout, and Longclaw apparently was killed after she made him use a magic ring to flee to another world… ours.
Ten years later, Sonic is a teenager – a very lonely one. He lives in his own den, and when he wants company, he surreptitiously hovers outside the window of the Wachowskis on their video night. He likes them. The husband, Tom, is the sheriff of Green Hills – someone the whole town relies on, apparently, to get things done. His wife, Maddie is the town vet. They both love animals – although raccoons annoy Tom greatly – and Sonic thinks that these people are the coolest ever.
One evening, Sonic gets bluer than usual about being alone for the rest of his life, so he runs around a baseball field in a PG-13 version of a demented nervous breakdown. In the process, he unknowingly unleashes a huge electrical discharge that shuts down the entire Pacific Northwest. Puzzled as to the cause of this possibly supernatural phenomena, the army brings in the eccentric genius Dr Robotnik to look into the matter. Before long, he’s on to Sonic, only, he wants to dissect our hero and harness his powers for Robotnik’s own creations. Sonic ends up turning to the only person he feels closest to, even if they hadn’t really met: Tom.
Now, the plot of this movie isn’t anything amazing, and to be honest, I find Sonic pretty annoying – he often goes out of his way to put both him and Tom in danger because he just can’t restrain himself – and his demented need to get Tom to admit how much Tom likes him is actually quite creepy. That moron pulling a Greta Thundberg on Tom for daring to want to leave Green Hills is only arsenic on the poisoned cake – this twat who probably killed his guardian and caused this whole mess because he again couldn’t restrain himself is scolding someone over a matter he barely knows anything about. How dare he!
However, the pacing never lets up, and the movie is a fun, fast-paced romp from start to finish. Sure, things don’t make sense at times, but come on, deep thoughts don’t belong in a film like this. Jim Carrey single-handedly lifts this movie from being forgettable with his portrayal as Dr Robotnix. Think of a more mellow, more evil Ace Ventura, and that’s Dr Robotnix. Mr Carrey unabashedly brings to his role a joyous kind of physicality, camp, and over the top melodrama that makes this villain so much fun to watch.
The rest of the human cast is pretty forgettable, but I’m not complaining, because James Marsden looks really easy on the eyes here. He was pretty back in those days, but he has since then been aging like fine wine, mm hmm. On the other hand, Tika Sumpter feels a little stiff in her role, as if she were either too self-conscious of talking to a blank space or too embarrassed to be in such a movie.
So, Sonic the Hedgehog. I like it, and I’ve had fun. I wouldn’t say I’m bowled over by it, but it’s certainly far better than I assumed it would be, mostly because of Jim Carrey really hamming it up in a good way here. Oh, and yes, it has violence and antisocial, law-breaking behavior, and since there is no nudity or sex, it’s a film perfect for kids to watch.