Sonic the Hedgehog is a fun, upbeat children’s movie with a lacklustre plot counteracted by several memorable performances.
Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is a creature from another planet with the ability to run at supersonic speeds.
The original Sonic video games don’t have much of a plot, and this movie is no different. Sonic is mostly a road-trip movie, with a few sight gags sprinkled in for laughs.
With his unique ability making him a target for non-descript villains everywhere, Sonic will spend most of his time in hiding until he’s discovered, then use one of his teleporting golden rings to go to another planet and start hiding again. When he’s finally discovered on Earth – right outside the fictional town of Green Hills, Montana – he loses his bag of rings, and must travel to San Francisco with the local sheriff Tom (James Marsden) to get them back, while running from the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
Along the way, there’s a bar fight, a race through recognizable world landmarks like the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China, and a final showdown in a cramped downtown. All the while the characters learn standard lessons about friendship and following (or when to give up on) their dreams.
Without a challenging or interesting plot, Sonic lives and dies on the strength of its performances, which are thankfully stellar. Schwartz’s fast-paced comedic delivery and inquisitive motormouth suits the hedgehog perfectly. Marsden’s natural charisma makes him an excellent, if generic, leading man. Most importantly, the two have great onscreen chemistry, despite Sonic being entirely CGI.
The best performance of the movie comes from Carrey as the villainous Dr. Robotnik. Robotnik is a terrible bully: completely self-interested, conceited, and arrogant, but also smart enough to back it up. While he never seems genuinely scary the way a villain in a more mature movie might, he’s a consistent threat to the main characters, and gives the movie a much-needed sense of urgency. Carrey is a commanding scene-stealer every time he’s on screen, easily eclipsing most of the film’s supporting cast. He also has hands-down the best jokes in the movie, including visual gags like a bizarre dance scene and a hilarious car-chase, as well as several fantastic one-liners.
Movies based on video games have historically been bad, but with some excellent performances from Carrey, Schwartz, and Marsden, Sonic is at least memorable.