SONIC THE HEDGEHOG review by Patrick Hendrickson – SEGA’s video game herp hits the big screen

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG review by Patrick Hendrickson – SEGA’s video game herp hits the big screen

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG is the feature film debut of the classic video game character which has gone through a fair share of controversy. The release had to be delayed due to backlash over Sonic’s design, which the studio decided to change to fit fan expectations. The titular blue hedgehog is voiced by Ben Schwartz, who does a wonderful job of bringing across Sonic’s energetic personality. Sonic is gifted with supernatural speed and an obsession with going fast. He is joined by James Marsden as Tom Wachowski, a police officer in the tiny town Sonic finds himself in.

Sonic lives a quiet, lonely life in the forest of a small little town but soon draws the attention of the classic villain Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). He’s an arrogant and maniacal genius out to harness Sonic’s powers. Carrey does a magnificent job portraying this madman and his performance is the clear standout. The only performance that is lacking would be Tika Sumpter who plays Tom’s wife Maddie. She does a good job but her character is missing from the first two-thirds of the runtime.

Once Robotnik gets on Sonic’s trail, the hedgehog is forced to reveal himself to Tom, who decides to help Sonic escape his would-be captor. The premise is simple but effective, and the movie has a breakneck pace that matches the speed of its main character. This is a double-edged sword because there’s only one or two moments to breathe in the whole run time, but on the other hand it keeps things from getting dull. Additionally, there are quite a few scenes that contribute nothing at all to advancing the story. The pacing could be better but all in all this is not a major concern. The comedy lands a majority of the time and the sheer volume of jokes keep any bombs from being too noticeable. The plot itself is little more than an excuse to put the characters into some wacky situations and sometimes the humor comes without even bothering to link itself to the ongoing narrative.

A particularly strong aspect of the production would be the soundtrack and sound design. A remix of classic tunes from the Sonic video game series is very welcome. The only moments of fan service come from a couple of surprises at the end of the production which will not be spoiled here. All I will say is that the theater erupted in cheers at the mid-credits scene. This is a highly effective comedy with a lot of strong performances and practically no drag time whatsoever. Minor pacing issues and cliche characterizations do little to lessen the joy of viewing this electrifying adventure. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG gets a 4/5.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG opens February 14, 2020

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