Current Issue #488

Film Review:
Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic, the ludicrously popular Sega video/computer/phone game character, gets his own movie with this cheesy kiddie epic, and while it isn’t quite as ghastly as some outings in this dodgy subgenre, the result is, nevertheless, still pretty dire. 

Like Cats, this had a trailer released last year that almost made the internet melt as devotees expressed their fanboy outrage, and so, like Cats, Dolittle and Birds Of Prey, it was extensively reshot and fiddled with, and yes, in the end it doesn’t quite plumb the dreadful depths of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft, the original Tomb Raiders, the Angry Birds Movies, the appalling Resident Evil series, and so on (and on and on and on and on). But that isn’t in any way a recommendation either, kids.

Mystifying for anyone who doesn’t understand the dopey complexities of everything Sonic (who’s voiced by Ben Schwartz here), this opens with our most un-hedgehog-like protagonist telling his intricate tale. It seems that the bright blue, maybe foot-tall Sonic (clad in grubby sneakers and white gloves, for some reason) began life in another dimension but, after a disastrous attack by evil echidnas (?), he was forced to use a golden teleportation ring and somehow wound up in Green Hills, Montana (a reference to the game, apparently).

Here he spent lots of time doing wannabe-crazy stuff like dancing to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, reading Flash comics and enjoying table tennis with himself, but he got so lonely that he threw a tantrum and caused a sonic (of course) boom. Said blackout-causing bang alerts the government and military, and they improbably assign the fairly feared (yet widely mocked) Dr. Ivo Robotnik to investigate what strange forces are afoot.

And you might already know that Sonic’s longtime, futuristic-tech-friendly, pro-vivisection foe Robotnik is played by Jim Carrey, and while his preposterous performance has been celebrated elsewhere, it’s hard to see what everyone’s getting so bizarrely gushy about. Carrey is massively hammy as only he can be, but he’s also dismally, almost deliberately unfunny, and at times threatens to make even his absurd Ace Ventura look positively restrained by comparison. Yep, he’s cringingly awful.

When Robotnik closes in on Sonic, our blue hero is forced to seek help from a nice cop named Tom Wachowski (a reference to the Matrix co-directors?), as portrayed by James Marsden, who was something like the 12th choice as a cast member (after Chris Evans, Justin Timberlake and so many others naturally said no way). Tom is bored rigid with Green Hills and wants to move to San Francisco with his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) for some excitement, but when Sonic appears in his life, he rethinks the whole idea, and starts parroting on about family (this is an American movie, after all) and discovering that, to coin a phrase, there’s no place like home. Yawn.

Directed and co-produced by the feature-débuting Jeff Fowler, and executive produced by Deadpool main-man Tim Miller (who surely had a hand behind the scenes in trying to make it even vaguely work), this may perhaps prove the kind of time-wasting flick exhausted parents can drop their kids off at on a dull and rainy Saturday. But only if the little ones have been very, very naughty.

Reviewer Rating

Sonic the Hedgehog (M) is in cinemas now

DM Bradley

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