In an age full of reboots and barrel-scraping for animated characters to bring to life, a Sonic the Hedgehog movie seemed inevitable. An awful result also seemed inevitable–but the team behind the movie defied expectations.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” is made for a general, younger audience, but it gives adults plenty to appreciate. When the speedy, blue hedgehog finds himself caught up in the middle of a government search with the ruthless Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) at the helm, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) gets help from police officer (James Marsden) Tom Wachowski to escape.
It’s unclear how old the video game icon is, but his behavior resembles what you’d expect of a tween. His boundless energy, playfulness and constant chatter will make Wachowski’s frustration with him relatable for parents watching the movie. Sonic is also friendly and loving, making him impossible for Wachowski and the audience not to adore.
Jim Carrey easily pulls off the best performance in the movie. His long-loved expressive, goofy humor perfectly suits the intelligent but eccentric Dr. Robotnik, also known in the decades-old video game series as “Eggman.” Carrey said that very little of the dialogue in the movie came from the actual script, earning the actor extra props for bringing life to his character.
While many of Sonic’s lines and antics are clearly targeted to a younger audience — he does the flossing dance — a lot of his humor is universally funny. He opens the movie with a joke about Dr. Robotnik’s “civil war” mustache and loves Keanu Reeves just as much as the rest of us.
The movie pays its tribute to the video games it’s based on, which is sure to please longtime fans. The titular hedgehog’s redesign isn’t the only way director Jeff Fowler showed audiences that he cared to make a movie that appealed to more than just a new generation. It’s filled with subtle, but noticeable references to the games that are sure to excite anyone who played Sonic the Hedgehog games as a kid.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” takes place in the fictional town of Green Hills, Montana. Several other “zones” — different worlds, each with several levels in the video game series — are also referenced. He eventually wears shoes that resemble his classic red-and-white sneakers. And, of course, the rings Sonic collects in each video game installment are central to the movie’s story.
The movie also has two mid-credits scenes that set up a sequel. One features Tails, Sonic’s two-tailed fox friend — and don’t worry, he got re-designed, too. While a sequel may be as much of a money-grab as the first, “Sonic the Hedgehog” was entertaining enough to warrant one, and the prospect of one might even excite a viewer. There is also plenty of material in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe not covered by the first film for a sequel to use.
The love and care put into “Sonic the Hedgehog” is promising for not only a possible sequel, but for future live-action films based on animated characters and universes.