REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog

Is he gone? Can I look yet? I can’t open Safari without that demonic spawn of Satan version of Sonic the Hedgehog popping up on Twitter. I have called both an exorcist and an assassin in an attempt to exterminate him.

Don’t even get me started on the exorcist-assassin. He didn’t come cheap.

Thankfully, the internet did something right for once, rather than just whining because there are female superheroes or something equally as fuckwitted as that; we managed to resolve the toothy, pubey-looking Sonic’s style, and get Paramount to redesign him.

And, boy, it was worth it.

Ahead of my chat to Jim Carrey (I say ‘chat’ rather fast and loosely; I managed to say “good morning,” before he spoke about self-driving cars, the Grinch undressing me and spit in his apple juice…), I say Sonic the Hedgehog. My hopes were pretty low for this. I was actually more excited to see Cats than this, so what does that tell you?

But from the film’s opening scenes, I could tell I was wrong to think that. There’s something so warm and comfortable about this hit of nostalgia; the stars that usually soar around the Paramount title card and instead Gold Rings, which chime as they shoot past. Immediately, you’re reminded of why you loved Sonic so much, which makes the next 99 minutes so much more enjoyable.

I was expecting a basic, paint-by-numbers kids film which would see Sonic fart his way through the adventure. But Sonic the Hedgehog is just as much for adults as it is for kids. After all, we grew up playing the video games, and we grew up watching the actor behind Dr Robotnik, Jim Carrey. It’s clear both the writers and cast wanted to ensure the comedy was accessible for all ages.

Within the first few scenes, there’s references to Star Wars, Keanu Reeves’ Speed and even the American Civil War, which would soar over kids’ heads, but land with adults. That’s not to say there aren’t gags for children; Sonic flosses twice during the film, so I mean this will somehow beat records because of, y’know… Fortnite. I’m only moaning because I’m bitter that I always get shot and lose.

Damn you, Jack_harrow87_xp.

If anything, as the humour became more mature, I was actually wanting it to stop, after James Marsden made a quip about drug dealers. Why don’t we just start putting popcorn in childrens’ pick ‘n’ mix? It’ll probably cost just as much.

I genuinely did laugh out loud on several occasions, and it is – undoubtedly – thanks to Jim Carrey who effortlessly played the antagonist, Dr. Robotnik. Following a stint of flops recently, including Dumb and Dumber To, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and what I was sure was a homosexual porno – Mr. Popper’s Penguins – we see Jim in full 90s Jim Carrey mode. His physical comedy is at its peak. His gestures and mannerisms are perfectly cutting; it’s clear that he has improvised several moments in the film, and there’s one incredible dance scene, whereby Jim flails and wobbles during a battle, even paying homage to Dick Van Dyke. If you were ever a fan of the likes of The Mask or Ace Ventura (and, frankly, why wouldn’t you be?) then just watch Sonic for Jim alone.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that for the rest of the cast. I think the adults in the film are well written. The likes of James and Tika Sumpter’s characters feel mature; they’re silly and fun, but not eye-rolling-worthy, like adults in other films. I actually found flaws with none other than Sonic, himself. Ben Schwartz, who voices the hedgehog, seemed very wooden at times. At one point, exasperated and scared, Sonic cries “Oh no,” but it’s as if Ben had never felt fear before and was seeing those words for the very first time, unable to process how to utter them, and instead said it as if he’d actually sat on the TV remote, and changed the volume level from 32 to 33. I don’t think Ben’s that good as Sonic when he needs to convey emotion. Instead, Ben shines when he’s being the annoying, hyper, in-your-face Sonic. We see a lot of James’ character tired of Sonic’s nagging and pestering, as they journey in a car together, and it’s during these scenes where Sonic is actually likeable, and not someone I’d like to deliberately smash into spikes regularly, just to get some form of emotion from him.

The most impressive moment of Sonic, however, isn’t Jim Carrey’s triumphant return, and it’s certainly not Sonic mimicking shitty TikTok dance routines, but the heart of the film. No-one really knows how a three foot tall, electric blue mammal capable of running hundreds of miles per hour survived on planet Earth, but Sonic the Hedgehog attempts to tackle that, by showing how lonely he is. After losing his mentor, in a scene worthy for the Cliché Hall of Fame, Sonic escapes to Earth, without any friends or family by his side, and draws attention to himself during one rather emotional moment where Sonic’s had enough of being alone. It’s refreshing to see a film not-produced by Disney to convey a message about loneliness.

Sonic the Hedgehog is fun. That’s all there is to say. It’s not to be taken seriously… And if you were going to take it seriously, get out. It’s just a treat to see Jim Carrey in the same way that launched his career.

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