Man. My job is work sometimes.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” is directed by Jeff Fowler and stars James Mardsen, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic. The movie follows Sonic as he teams up with a local cop (James Mardsen) to thwart a government-sponsored evil genius (Jim Carrey) who wants to slice open the speedy hedgehog because of typical bad guy reasons.
So, this is a movie. It has a beginning middle, and end. There are characters, special effects, things happen, then the credits roll and you’re not going to remember a thing about this movie in a week, but, I need a review, so let’s get on with it.
For all of Sonic’s super-speed prowess, his movie is a slog at a 99-minute runtime. It’s supposedly a comedy. I’m trying to figure out who exactly this movie is for. My screening had children and adults and we all sat in collective silence for the most part. James Mardsen, a terrific actor, displays all the personality of a six-foot poster board cutout.
Jim Carrey is going full Ace Ventura, but even he can’t move the needle. And it’s not that the jokes fall flat, it’s that they’re playing to the cheapest of cheap seats. They’re going for the easy jokes instead of the best ones.
The filmmakers also wanted to make a superhero movie. From “Thor” to “X-Men: Days of Future Past” to “Superman,” they’re taking a little bit of something from everyone.
Unfortunately, they’re missing something: good characters and a halfway decent story. It’s like a cover band working their way through the greatest hits of a Hall of Famer. The tune is familiar, but without putting in the same effort as the original artist, it’s a dead note.
The real shame of it is that the movie has a promising start. We open on Sonic’s homeworld, a wonderful CGI recreation of the level-designs from the classic games. But, after suffering a childhood trauma that would make Walt Disney blush, Sonic ends up on Earth, which is where our problems begin, and I don’t mean narratively.
Much like the Michael Bay “Transformer” movies, “Sonic the Hedgehog” makes the mistake of bringing its hero to our world rather than keep him on his more aesthetically pleasing one. Staying on Sonic’s planet might’ve made for a better story, with it’s more intriguing fantasy elements instead of boonies U.S.
The special effects aren’t bad, but it’s window dressing. Without a good story or meaningful characters, the CGI is visual noise. Maybe the filmmakers should’ve leaned into the video game angle and gone full animation. It feels like another missed opportunity there.
For all the fuss Sonic’s initial look kicked up (remember that nightmare?), his movie is neither a dumpster fire nor all that memorable. “Sonic the Hedgehog” is just running in place.