Sonic the Hedgehog
After just one weekend, Sonic the Hedgehog is on track to be one of the most successful video-game-to-movie adaptations to date. So many movies seem to overthink things and end up making too many changes from the original source. When that happens, the movie most often doesn’t succeed. After all, people went to the theater to see what they already knew from books, games, comics, TV, or wherever else. While Sonic made a couple of changes for the sake of the storyline, the movie stuck to the pure fun of the games.
The big change of the movie was its location. Much like Masters of the Universe or Smurfs before it, Sonic the Hedgehog brought the fun little blue speedster to Earth. That shift of locale worked to polar opposite extremes with Masters and Smurfs. So, it could have gone either way, but it looks like it isn’t hurting Sonic’s box office. Maybe it has something to do with the Smurfs and Sonic all being blue?
Regardless, bringing Sonic to Earth helped with the storyline. Bringing in Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey, as a sociopathic government agent sent to investigate Sonic’s presence in a small town in Montana helped explain that ever-present cat and mouse chase between he and Sonic that fans have seen from Sonic’s previous incarnations as a video game or cartoon. Personally, I’ll accept changes to a known property as long as they make sense and add to the story.
Sonic has also generally been light on characters, so moving him to Montana helps on that front as well. It lets him meet a new best friend in the form of James Marsden. Pairing Sonic with the small-town sheriff worked well, giving Sonic someone to play off of. This dynamic created a fun road trip type movie, allowing for comedy alongside the expected video game style action. As for other characters that originate from the game itself, keep your eyes on the screen at the end of the movie for a cool cameo that likely we’ll see more of in a sequel.
Sonic comes to Earth to escape creatures wanting his speed power. The creature that raised him asked him to keep his power a secret so that he’d stay safe, saying that people would always want him for his power otherwise. So, that’s what he does. He lives a life of isolation. Though he tries to make his home have everything he could want, he’s of course lonely. Instead of friends, he watches people, like Marsden’s sheriff, from afar.
Kicking the movie’s action off, Sonic becomes frustrated while playing a baseball game as every single player on the team, Bugs Bunny style, and accidentally sets off a power pulse that causes a major blackout throughout Montana. Robotnik is sent in to investigate.
Calling in an element from the games, Sonic uses rings to traverse between portals that can go between different places and cities or completely different worlds. When he discovers people are looking for him, he tries to do a portal jump and instead loses his rings in San Francisco. He must then hit the road with Marsden to retrieve the rings before Robotnik gets the little blue guy and starts dissecting him.
Marsden has pretty much been in this exact movie before, having starred alongside the rabbit in Hop. He did a great job in Hop and knocks out another fun performance for Sonic. Marsden seems at right at home alongside a comedic CGI character.
Marsden always seems to be on the verge of hitting it big, whether from the X-Men movies, Westworld, or his many other various performances. I don’t think Sonic will be the movie that finally puts him over-the-top, but he is very good in a family movie setting.
As for Carrey, I’ve loved this guy for years. He was #1 at the box office for everything he released for a long time. Known as a “comedic actor” rather than an “actor”, I think Carrey remains a very underrated dramatic actor to this day. His name seems to only conjure up silliness rather than his roles in The Truman Show, Number 23, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or Man on the Moon. I guess, though, once you’re seen talking out of your butt on the big screen, it’s kind of hard to change your image. No matter how good of an actor you are.
Possibly due to this struggle to go beyond silliness or due to the issues in his personal life, Carrey’s star power has decreased in recent years. Appearing as the villain in a family movie seems like a step back compared to his previous roles, but maybe this is the beginning of his road back. Hopefully, it is.
Either way, he killed it as the maniacal “Eggman”.
Sonic the Hedgehog isn’t going to require brain power while watching it. Nor should it. The movie leans in on being pure fun and succeeds perfectly. That fun is for the whole family too. Often, parents go sit in “kid movies” that aren’t really enjoyable for both them and their children, but fear not, Sonic is fun for all ages.
Sonic the Hedgehog: Fun Family Fare
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Acting - 9/109/10
Music - 9/109/10
Production - 9/109/10
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