Movie adaptations of popular video games have been plaguing the film industry for years. Each cinematic representation promises to break the mould of negativity in which the sub-genre often surrounds itself, only to receive the same fate. The interest in these adaptations is fleeting as each disappointment passes by.
After its opening trailer was met with such a huge uproar, thanks to its terrifying post production style, things were looking bad for Sonic. So bad in fact, that the team behind the movie had no option but to fix it, even if it was to set the release date back a few months. It’s a decision that could have potentially saved the movie and earned more theatre tickets in the process.
Ironically, what was likely to doom the project actually becomes the movies saving grace. Its visual department comes through. It fixed the issues that were previously highlighted and offers beyond what was expected. Which at the base level is all I could’ve really asked for from such a silly film.
It should go without saying, Sonic is a film clearly aimed at the younger audience. It’s goofy, short and fairly easy for the kids to follow. With that being said, it also attempts to reign in the older audience. The people who spent many hours of their youth spinning around with the little blue pixelated hedgehog on the Sega Genesis. It’s during these moments where it desperately tries to appeal to those people, but manages to lose a lot of its childish charm.
Many of the jokes are flatter than the Genesis’ original level design, concerningly most of which are delivered by Jim Carrey. As animated as ever, Carrey’s exaggerated performance as Dr. Robotnik is the most loathsome aspect of this experience. Mirroring that of his Riddler performance from years back, he has perhaps again taken the notion that he is mainly performing for children, a little too seriously.
Ben Schwartz gets Sonic’s cocky, whacky behaviour down to a tee. Managing to portray the character and have the voice to perfectly encapsulate the Sega mascot, to a point where it just feels so comfortable. James Marsden, starring as the sheriff of small town Green Hills (one of many references from the video games) feels a lot more uncomfortable in his role. His incredibly safe and all too familiar performance alongside a small animated animal (Hop anybody?), does very little to pick up a lot of the slack.
With an array of perfectly competent material at its disposal, thanks to the many video games and few tv series, the direction they took in regards to its plot is rather baffling. Generic at best and already pretty forgettable, Sonic speed runs its way through the story only to come to a screeching halt. Paired with a script that could best be considered as undesirable drivel, it often feels quite hard to sit through.
As a parent being nagged by their kids to take them to see their favourite little furry friend, there might be just enough to keep them interested. If you’re there to relive some of your favourite childhood memories however, you’re better off clearing the dust from your old console, blowing the years of neglect out of the cartridge and pressing start on your journey to 90’s nostalgia.