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Sonic the Hedgehog was fun, flawed

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. – Jeff Fowler’s new Sonic the Hedgehog movie based off the high-selling game of the same name set a dangerous precedent for existing intellectual property adaptations. As many are already aware, this film was set to release on Nov. 8 2019, but was pushed to Feb. 14 because of the online backlash against the character design. In all fairness, the original character design was monstrous, but the power Paramount Pictures gave to the people in their decision to completely remodel the character is surely going to go to our heads.

Due to all of this insane crunch-time put into the film in the past four months, I have to give due credit to the animation and visual effects teams. They put in far more work than they were contracted to, and even after a hasty reconstruction of the entire film their work came out quite nice. The redesign of the character was worlds better, and the CGI throughout was stellar– from Sonic himself to the ships and drones of Dr. Robotnik.

I have to give credit to the beloved actors as well, everybody did what they could with what they had. Unfortunately, they had little. The voice talent from Ben Schwartz was great, and it’s a wonder that he hasn’t been cast in any feature leads in the past. Jim Carrey had a welcome return as Robotnik, finally doing some more comedy character acting. Even in this movie, he is larger than life and commands the screen. James Marsden was simply Marsden, which warrants a decent performance, if not a tired one.

The script is– in a plain word– obnoxious. There are a great deal of cheeky one-liners that barely land, even from the mouth of Jim Carrey. The plot is fast and quite ugly. As a children’s movie it is just barely excusable, but only about 75% of the audience for this film is going to be children. Adults high on nostalgia are rushing to theaters, and if all of the quiet references to old console video-games don’t tug on the right synapses, people might be sorely disappointed.

The VFX were great and the leading performances were (mostly) great. If the script were any better, I might have loved this movie. Despite the issue with the plot and pacing, I had fun, and I can safely recommend this movie if-and-only-if you have any care in your heart about the character. If that’s a check, then I guarantee you’ll have fun, too. Flaws aside, I will award this film with a generous 2.5 out of 5.

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