“Sonic the Hedgehog”: Forgettable but fun video game adaptation

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Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

From “Prince of Persia” to “Assassin’s Creed,” video game film adaptations are notoriously bad, but “Sonic the Hedgehog” is an odd surprise.

The film concerns the inter-dimensional blue anthropomorphic hedgehog named Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz. Sonic had fled to Earth because of an unnamed evil trying to get his super speed powers. Fifteen years later, he’s living in the fictional small town of Green Hills, spying on the townsfolk and going crazy from lack of actual social interaction. 

While reflecting on his loneliness, Sonic runs laps around a baseball field and unintentionally creates an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) that affects the entire Pacific Northwest. This attracts the attention of government officials, who send in mad scientist Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey; he wants to take Sonic’s power for himself. 

Sonic tries to warp to another dimension using his rings but gets tranquilized by an officer named Tom, played by James Marsden. All of Sonic’s warp rings get sent to San Francisco, and now Tom needs to help Sonic reach San Francisco so he can flee the planet.

If you know the source material, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is surprisingly charming, if generic, and it could have been a lot worse. The plot’s buddy road trip premise is unimaginative and has been seen in a million different kids’ movies.

There are a lot of references and Easter eggs to the Sonic franchise in the movie, even ones that you wouldn’t necessarily understand at first, such as warp rings. Usually rings in Sonic are representative of his hitpoints, or HP, but in some games there are rings that you jump through to get to secret levels. 
The humor was funny at times, but the film, and Sonic himself, relies a lot on timely pop culture references for its jokes, which instantly date the movie. Sonic flosses twice in the movie, jokes about current trends and references relevant celebrities throughout the movie.

It was surprising how well Carrey mastered his character, Robotnik. Dr. Robotnik is typically portrayed as a megalomaniacal, narcissistic genius bent on world domination with a burning hatred for a certain blue hedgehog, and Carrey nailed the part.

He carries most of the film, acting his heart out with original jokes and witty improv. He brings  to life a villain who may be a mechanical genius, but overall seems to lack any kind of tactical know-how. The computer-generated imagery was decent. The second redesign of Sonic, which came after fan uproar, helped the film overall. The original design was nightmare fuel and would have taken away from every scene. 

The score for “Sonic the Hedgehog” was not memorable. There were remixes of classic stage music, but they didn’t stick out.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” is a fun movie if you are a kid or a longtime fan, but as a movie, it is unimaginative, unoriginal and may make you feel  as if you’ve seen it a thousand times already even if it’s only your first watch. It’s just a typical buddy road trip movie that happens to feature Sonic characters.