Review: “Sonic the Hedgehog” speeds into fun but familiar cliches


Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Cody Downey

After battling against Mario in the video game world for almost thirty years, “Sonic the Hedgehog” dashes into theaters bringing the speedster to the big screen for the first time.

Born with the ability to run with superspeed, Sonic, played by Ben Schwartz, is forced to escape his home planet after being hunted. Sonic arrives on Earth living in seclusion for the next ten years. After Sonic accidentally causes a power outage across the country, the government sends Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey, to find him. With the help of small-town sheriff, Tom Wachowski, played by James Marsden, Sonic heads on a road trip to retrieve his set of magical rings that can transport him somewhere safe.

As a fan of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” video games and anime series “Sonic X,” it was pretty cool to see Sonic on the big screen. Thanks to the infamous redesign, Sonic looks like he spin dashed out of the games and into a movie theater. At most points, this animation works but it never truly feels like he is there. Similar to other films, it can be obvious that the character we see is not interacting with the things on screen.

Being a film really intended for children, the plot was not something very unique. A popular joke whenever the first trailers came out was that the film was actually a sequel to “Hop,” an Easter film which also starred James Marsden. Both follow the same formula of an animal-like creature coming to our world and befriending an average person while avoiding capture. Though some could view this as a bad thing, it does allow for those unfamiliar with Sonic to watch the film without needing to know years worth of backstory.

The performances in this film are very standard. Each one performs the task they are setting to accomplish. Schwartz as Sonic is the youthful, chaotic outsider, Marsden’s Tom is the obvious straight man foil to Sonic and Carey as Dr. Robotnik is the goofy yet villainous mad scientist. Nothing out of the ordinary is done but no one fails at their attempts to play their role.

One complaint about the characters though is how most of the supporting cast is unnecessary. Maddie Wachowski, played by Tika Sumpter, is kind of just shoved in at some moments aside from her usefulness as a veterinarian in one scene. Other characters such as Tom’s sister-in-law and Robotnik’s assistant only serve to be used as comic relief and add nothing to the plot. Throughout the film, Tom’s sister-in-law tells Maddie that she should divorce him since he is “not a good man.” The film never explains why she believes this nor does it resolve this plotline. It is forgotten as soon as the sister-in-law is not on screen.

Despite these complaints, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is not a bad film. In its almost hour-and-a-half runtime, there isn’t a dull or boring moment. The action is fun though not complex. While every joke may not land, they last only a second or two before it moves onto something else. It hardly ever felt like a moment was truly wasted in this film.

All in all, “Sonic the Hedgehog” will not be more than one already expects of it. It is a formulaic children’s film. However, if one walks into the film knowing this, it will not be a disappointment. This film is sure to go down as one of the best video game movies in recent years, even if it may not be the movie that people want.

Illustration by Ariel Landry