After a horrid first design of Sonic and a several month re-tool, we finally see the Blue Blur’s big screen debut.
Is the film as good as the Sonic redesign, however?
Sonic the Hedgehog Review
PLOT – Sonic the Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz) is from an island across the universe. When his home is threatened, he escapes to earth using magic rings and meets Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). After accidentally teleporting the rings to San Francisco, the pair take a road trip to get the rings back. It’s not easy however, as they have to contend with bar brawls, vicious robots, and the evil Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey), an scientist sent by the government to capture the hedgehog.
My PLOT RATING is 3/5. It’s pretty standard for a kid’s film, and doesn’t really wow or impress. The characters and events within the plot are the real gold here.
Sonic is great. I’m glad to see him on the big screen. Ben Schwartz takes over well for Roger Craig Smith from the game, and his manic delivery and energy really sells the character. Sometimes it’s hard to not hear Jean-Ralphio or Huey Duck, but he really does an awesome job as Sonic.
Robotnik is the true star of the film. Just seeing his character for the first time had me laughing out loud. His egomaniac doctor super-genius villain persona had me rolling. Every scene he came off as a huge jerk and a know-it all, and it was perfect. Mid-film, he has a really expressive rubber-man routine, and I’m glad to see where they go with the character in a sequel.
Tom and the rest are just set dressing, sadly. James Marsden does a good job with what he’s given, and helps sell his and Sonic’s friendship that grows throughout. He previously played another “person who meets a CGI character” in “Hop”, and I think he did better here and had more charisma.
An interesting note is that Tom’s wife in the film (Tika Sumpter) is black, yet this isn’t mentioned at all, positively or negatively, by anyone in the film. I’m really glad that executives and creatives are taking steps to show all kinds of relationships in film. We’re all people and everyone deserves love.
My CHARACTERS RATING is a 4/5. Carrey rocks the film and entertains from the get-go, Schwartz is surprisingly great as Sonic, and the human characters help the plot along nicely.
DIALOGUE – When I wasn’t laughing out loud at this film, I was chuckling. The dialogue goes a mile a minute and you could tell that Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey are both having a blast in this film. The jokes are set up where if you miss one, there’s something else visual or verbal to distract you in a minute. A lot of the dialogue does move the plot along, but there are so many one-liners and little jokes that you can’t help but smile and appreciate the writing.
There is a lot of product placement in the film, and while it does feel SOMEwhat organic, some of it feels out of place. Later on in the film, however they are clearly poking some fun at it in a tongue-in-cheek way, so I’ll give the rampant product placement a pass. Hey, they had to pay for the Sonic redesign SOMEhow!
My DIALOGUE RATING is 4/5. Product placement and generic dialogue throughout, but Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey’s lines and delivery help sell the film.
EFFECTS – When the trailer for this film first arrived, we were greeted with a horrifying visage of Sonic the Hedgehog. Fan outcry actually stopped the film from being released in 2019, and they retooled Sonic’s design and now…
He looks beautiful. His individual hairs move about, his quills move independently, his facial expressions are subtle and nuanced… This is Sonic! The effects team must have worked overtime because this is beautiful.
Aside from Sonic, the effects are fantastic. Explosions, lasers, and a realistic owl at the beginning all look really cool. Robotnik’s robots, the Badniks, also have great egg-like designs, as does Robotnik’s truck trailer lair. The lightning in particular is also great in those scenes.
If I must say a negative, there were times when you could clearly tell that Sonic was not in the room. The human characters didn’t interact with him too much, and when they did, it was JUST off enough to tell he wasn’t there.
Some outdoor scenes near the beginning seem green-screened to me, but I think that’s because we’ve entered a time where I’m not sure if actors are even in the same room or not, as the compositing is really advanced.
The costuming is standard fare, regular clothing, but Robotnik’s costuming is great and I expect to see several cosplayers take on his character at Comic Con. Sonic also has these dingy shoes up until the third act, and they look really worn.
My EFFECTS RATING is 5/5.
MUSIC – Standard action fare, but I noticed a lot of orchestra in this one. Pop songs, rock songs, and classic Sonic tunes sprinkled throughout. Nostalgic.
My MUSIC RATING is 4/5. The music is standard, but it fits well. Some classic Sonic tunes are a welcome addition.
Sonic the Hedgehog
FINAL RATING: 80/100
FINAL THOUGHTS – Sonic the Hedgehog is flat-out entertaining. I didn’t expect it to be this good or this fun, and I was pleasantly surprised. The effects are fantastic, the acting from Schwartz and Carrey is fantastic, and the dialogue is deceptively clever, with jokes for kids and adults alike. The plot is pretty rote, however, and the music is somewhat standard with hints to the original source material.
You gotta go fast and see this film before it speeds out of theaters.