Why would I put myself through 1 hour and 40 mins of CGI blue hedgehog? Trust me, I’ve been asking myself the same question since I saw it.
In case you want to skip right over this review I’ll put it very bluntly: unless you’re young or have a history with Sonic, don’t bother watching this one. Even as a joke, don’t bother. My friends and I saw this film because we thought it would be so bad that it would be a funny experience. It was somehow worse than I expected. From the bad acting, the lack of chemistry, the terrible story, and Sonic constantly doing Fortnite dances, the whole experience kind of drained me. Okay, maybe I’m being a little too harsh, it wasn’t terrible but it was by no means a good film.
For anyone who doesn’t know the origins of Sonic, he first appeared in the 1991 video game ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’. This was a platformer game published by Sega for the Sega Genesis console. The character of Sonic has since appeared in various video games as the main and side character, animation series’ and various other forms of media. He’s usually characterised as high energy, easy going and impatient. So, to its credit, the film does stay true to this.
If I am going to discuss the film, I should probably acknowledge Sonic’s altered character style which I’m sure we’re all aware of. When the first Sonic trailer came out, the character design was so heavily disliked that it was redone, causing the release date to go from November 2019 to February 2020. This does at least show there was care and heart behind this film as they were willing to totally redesign the character - and this was definitely for the best. If you want to relive the nightmare however, go look up some before and after images.
The storyline follows Sonic navigating his way through life on Earth, situated in American small town, Green Hills. Sonic befriends the local sheriff, Tom Wachowski, played by James Marsden, who has now starred in his second road trip film with an CGI anthropomorphic animal (let’s throwback to 2011’s Hop). Put simply, the story follows Sonic and Tom as they’re chased by ‘government official’ Dr Robotnik aka Eggman. That is essentially the entire story with a few exceptions like fight scenes, an uncomfortable post bar fight scene, and Sonic just being Sonic. Since it is aimed at a younger demographic the simple storyline makes sense and is at least somewhat coherent.
As for characters, Eggman is probably the crowd favourite with Jim Carrey’s insane performance. It’s essentially Jim Carrey at peak Jim Carrey: absolutely nuts. It felt like Jim Carrey wasn’t even paid, like he really wanted to play this role, came in on his off days and went absolutely bonkers. Tom, James Marsden’s character, was okay. He wasn’t anything special, and his chemistry with his wife, Maddie, left a lot to be desired - but the characters worked fine. Overall, the cast were okay, Sonic was Sonic and Jim Carrey was Jim Carrey.
The blatant product placement used in Sonic is another notable aspect. If you’ve seen the film you know exactly what scenes I’m talking about when I mention Zillow or Olive Garden. Oh geez, Olive Garden. Some notable moments include James Marsden’s character stating ‘I don’t have many apps in my phone except for Olive Garden, because you know, when you’re there your family’. Awful.
The film adaptation of Sonic was made for kids and Sonic fans, and in that regard, the film worked fine. If you don’t even remotely fit into this demographic, you most likely will not enjoy this film. It was not even a good experience for me, as someone who has played some Sonic games but isn’t overly attached to the character. The storyline was simple, there were plot holes, weak characters and corny jokes but overall it wasn’t the worst video game film I’ve seen. To end this on a positive, my personal favourite experience from the film was a post credit scene where Jim Carrey fully becomes the Eggman we’ve seen in the games, oversized moustache and all. Now that’s my Eggman.