The year was 1991. I was 6 years old and my parents bought a Sega Master System. While my Mum was obsessed with Alex Kidd in Miracle World (seriously who can boast this about their parents??) My Dad and I were obsessed with a little blue hedgehog named Sonic who stole our hearts and our time in one of the most incredible platformers ever made. While my friends had Super Nintendo systems, I have stayed loyal to the hedgehog over the years even through some truly terrible games like The Secret Rings, Black Night and Unleashed to name a few. Finally after many animated TV shows, 3D animated shows and some anime movies, it was finally time for Sonic to get his big screen debut. The first trailer came out and the uproar was immediate. Fans were furious that their beloved character had been altered so dramatically, he had lost all sense of his origins.
After a huge fan backlash, a new studio were called upon and the release date pushed out to re-do the design of Sonic and fortunately the result was incredibly positive as illustrated by the image above. While this was positive, the release date embargo and gag order alluded to the movie possibly not being great. Fortunately the film has great performances, incredible special effects and heart-warming story that will please both fans and newcomers to the character.
The story follows the hedgehog Sonic (Ben Schwartz) who after escaping death on his homeworld travels to Earth via a Ring acting as a portal to hide from the echidnas who want to steal his power. Sonic has been forced to hide and watch the town of Green Hills in a cave as the world goes by. One day when he reaches full teenage angst and sends out a shockwave across the country, the U.S. government sends in crazy tech genius Dr Robotnik (Jim Carey) to track down the source. Robotnik instead is using his drones to find Sonic and harness his power for himself. Sonic is forced to out himself to local cop Top (James Marsden) in an attempt to escape to his next world to escape Robotnik’s evil plans.
James Marsden and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.
The movie centers around the two characters Sonic and Robotnik. Director Jeff Fowler has made sure that the essence of these two are completely in tact. Sonic is completely intact as the over-excited and hyperactive child-like character who everyone adores. This is complimented by Schwartz’s voice performance conveys the wonder of this timeless character. On the same side is Robotnik who’s portrayal by Carey takes the actor back to his peak 90’s career. The over the top and menacing performance is incredibly entertaining to watch and his interactions with the government, Sonic and anyone really in general carries the film to its highest highs.
The plot is a little where the film starts to suffer, the story is great but there are times where it starts to sag under its own weight and if you are not keeping up it could get confusing. Fortunately the things that seem like they don’t make sense get explained later on in the film, this is something that fa mily films rarely take the time to bother with. There could almost be two movies inside this one with the second half the clear superior version. Also make sure you stick around for the end credit scenes, fans will go crazy!
Jim Carrey in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.
Visually it is spectacular. There is a lot of time and effort gone into not only the CG characters, but also the special effects in battle sequences and the hilarious slo mo scenes when Sonic gets up to mischief. When the movie remembers its a video game it shines. When it embraces the fun, colour and campiness of the character and the world it truly shines as a beacon for video game film adaptions. The last couple of years we have been vlessed with great ones like Angry Birds 2 and Detective Pikachu, now Sonic can join the ranks as one of the best video game films ever made.
Sonic The Hedgehog was a bit of a risk for Paramount and the team to take on. Fortunately the creators listened to the fans and have crafted something for old and new ones alike. A welcome return to comedic form for Carey elevates the film providing an entertaining and intimidating villain that counteracts the innocence and pure nature of Schwartz’s Sonic. While the human characters usually falter in these films, the focus remains purely on Sonic which fuels the film. Sonic The Hedgehog is one of the best films of the year, take your friends, take your family, take your kids. Everyone will enjoy this fun and entertaining film.
Tika Sumpter, James Marsden, and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.
Sonic The Hedgehog is showing in cinemas now.