Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Director: Jeff Fowler
Writers: Pat Casey and Josh Miller
Starring: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Tika Sumpter, and Jim Carrey
Plot: Sonic and his police officer friend must reach his rings in San Francisco before he’s captured by the evil Dr. Robotnik.
Review: I’ll admit it. I went into Sonic the Hedgehog with my arms crossed. I wasn’t impressed by any of the promotional material. The first trailer made me cringe. Them catering to the fans by changing the design just felt desperate and I disliked what that meant for the special effects team. Then, when I saw the second trailer, it looked like the same piece of crap but with a new coat of paint. I thought this movie would be an abomination like most video game movies that came before it. So, am I among those that said it exceeds expectations? Yes, but not by much. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a good movie. In fact, it’s kinda bland. I wasn’t expecting that. With the exception of a few jokes and two fun scenes, I didn’t feel much of anything watching Sonic. It’s weird.
I think the main reason why I didn’t feel much while watching Sonic the Hedgehog is that nothing felt new in any way or form. I knew all of the punchlines, because I’d either heard that joke a million times before or it just wasn’t that inspired. And, a lot of them did that thing I hate where it’s just like “Hey. Amazon drones are a thing. Let’s mention those while fighting drones. People will recognize it and therefore they will laugh.” The plot felt a whole lot like Hop. And, I mean a lot. James Marsden travels across the country with a CGI mayhem causing creature. I mean, sure, some people still watch Hop by that’s by default. It’s the only Easter movie. It’s not good. Trust me, I just revisited it. But, to me the biggest offender in unoriginality was the fight scenes. Listen, I know that there are so many things you can do with a speedster, but you can not just lift a scene from X-Men and put it in your movie. It’s not going to impress us. It just looks like a cheap knockoff. Sure, the kids aren’t going to notice but everyone else will. Wait. I just realized something. That’s the plan. They don’t have to be original. Kids won’t notice. Well, I call poppycock on you Sonic the Hedgehog! Make some original choices! The kids may not notice now but they will eventually. Shame on you. Shame. Shame. Shame.
If I had to come up with a theory as to why Sonic the Hedgehog is currently at 64% (!) on Rotten Tomatoes, I’d say that a lot of it has to do with the cast. Ben Schwartz is kind of the perfect choice for Sonic. He makes what could’ve been a super annoying, creepy character almost likable. I think his voice and the redesign really helped to sell him as a Roger Rabbit type character. I do wish the writing was a bit better. I think there was a lot of potential there. But instead they had him farting and flossing. So what are you going to do? As far as James Marsden, I had a weird observation that I’m sure a lot of people won’t take away: he had really good chemistry with his movie wife, Tika Sumpter. Like, they really clicked. I had to look up if they were actually married. They’re not. I don’t know. I don’t know why that stuck with me more than anything. I just wasn’t expecting it in a Sonic movie. Other than that, his performance is better than it was in Hop. So, I guess that’s something.
And, lastly, there’s the big fish in this small pond, Jim Freaking Carrey. I can’t help but smile when this guy is on screen. He was easily the best part of the movie. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is still definitely in the bottom half if you were to rank his comedic roles. He rarely gets the chance to really cut loose and be, well, Jim Carrey. But, in a movie like this, a bottom tier performance from a comedic legend is a welcome sight. I liked that he had this weird sidekick that he abused in the most bizarre ways. I like the way he looked down on this small town he found himself in. I liked him being evil again. And, I really, really loved the scenes were they obviously just had Jim Carrey, a set, and a camera and let him do his thing. There’s about a two minute stretch where Dr. Robotnik is just waiting for something to load while dancing around and working out (?) that was brilliant. It reminded me of an evil, over the top Tony Stark. As a massive Carrey fan growing up, this might be my favorite sequence of the year so far. It’s what is stopping me from going fully negative on this review. I will never sit through the whole movie again, but you can bet your butt I’m going to watch that scene on YouTube over and over.
TL;DR: It was a valiant effort by the cast and redesign CGI team, but, unfortunately, no one could save Sonic the Hedgehog from its uninspired script.
Grade: 5/10 (Meh.)