Most people believed that Sonic the Hedgehog had nothing going for it.
The Paramount Pictures film was based on a video game, had an awful design for the main character and looked like another soulless cash grab that would bomb after the first week.
However, what started out as a laughingstock ended up being a top-notch video game film adaptation.
Sonic the Hedgehog opened on Feb. 14, and brought in $100 million world-wide during its opening weekend.
The film revolves around titular character Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz), a speedy hedgehog who teams up with a local sheriff named Tom (played by James Marsden) to escape the government-enlisted Dr. Robotnik (played by Jim Carrey), a mad man genius who plans to use Sonic’s powers to enhance his robots.
The plot is nothing special. It is your typical formulaic children’s road trip/animated character story, similar to Alvin and the Chipmunks, Yogi Bear and other films of a similar nature.
However, what makes the film stand out against the rest is the filmmaker’s love for Sonic.
When the original design for Sonic was revealed in the first trailer, it was heavily criticized for not resembling the video game. The announcement it would be redesigned came as a surprise, and got people engaged. This awareness lasted throughout the film’s delay, and once the new design was revealed, no one could stop talking about how great it looked.
Sonic is an absolute joy to see, not just in terms of design, but in the animation style. It’s quick, expressive and fun. Carrey’s portrayal of the villain Dr. Robotnik is probably more cartoony than Sonic himself. His acting style parallels past films like The Mask. He transforms himself into an insane egghead, desperate to win by any means.
The two characters are the film’s key ingredients. Personally, Marsden’s performance felt lackluster and secondary to Schwartz and Carrey, as did the other characters in the movie. They help to keep the film going at a fast pace.
In terms of visuals, Sonic is the main focal point—especially with the hype surrounding the redesign. The overall film, however, does have the bright aesthetic that is pleasing to watch. I especially enjoyed the contrast between Robotnik’s sleek and white futuristic technology versus the more natural, versatile and humbler hedgehog. Additionally, multiple inside references sprinkled throughout the movie will definitely entertain hardcore Sonic fans, yet aren’t intrusive to the point of annoying the general audience.
Sonic the Hedgehog has done what almost no video game-to-movie adaptation has successfully done: provide an entertaining story that stays true to the elements that made the game such a success in the first place.
It has set the bar for future films of a similar nature, and while a little rough with some elements, Sonic the Hedgehog is an entertaining film that should please moviegoers.