2020 Film Review: Sonic The Hedgehog
Plot Synopsis: The world needed a hero -- it got a hedgehog. Powered with incredible speed, Sonic embraces his new home on Earth -- until he accidentally knocks out the power grid, sparking the attention of uncool evil genius Dr Robotnik. Now, it's supervillain vs. supersonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using Sonic's unique power to achieve world domination.
Video game movies have had a tough time, with there not being a definitive 'great' adaptation from console to big screen. In terms of these adaptations, the decent budgeted ones do tend to lean more towards adult content, with 'Resident Evil', 'Tomb Raider', 'Mortal Kombat and 'Doom' being by far the biggest examples, especially financially. In recent years, this has started to change, with the emergence of 'Angry Birds' and 'Detective Pikachu looking to expand their markets in the medium of film whilst continuing appealing to their usual demographics. The latest to join is 'Sonic The Hedgehog', the first time the iconic character will be making the jump into film. Besides Super Mario, there probably isn't a more instantly recognisable character across all generations than Sonic but will certainly look to avoid making the same mistakes that Nintendo's mascot made in its film debut.
For films like this, it is quite important to remember that it is made for kids and of, a lot is going to be directed solely towards them. This is clearly most reflective with a cookie-cutter formula, with an easily followed and recognisable narrative and a hyper corporate manufactured script. It's easy to tell that this script was compiled through executives gathering together and brainstorming all that is popular for children and teens to understand easily and that they can recognise in order to draw amusement. The film is filled with jokes featuring brands like Amazon, Olive Garden and Uber whilst attaching Fitbits, coffees and many others in any way that they can. It is such a basic level of comedy on show, relying on easy references but again, it has to be stressed it works for the targeted demographic. There are a couple of good moments within this but everything does feel pre-packaged by executives who have searched to see what is in fashion.
As aforementioned, the film follows an easy formula and one that has been done to death surrounding extra-terrestrial life. Dipping its toes into the loneliness of the titular character and needing more quality in your life, the film introduces interesting concepts to be explored for its young audience but never truly explores them. These themes are introduced and then abandoned for a long time, with little progression until the film wants to try make a very clear statement about them, which comes understated. The conflicts surrounding James Marsden's character comes across as if it were put in so he had some sort of drama going on in his life, using the term drama very lightly.
With a character like Sonic whose abilities entirely rely on speed, you run the risk of backing yourself into a corner. There's a reason why Quicksilver isn't a main character in the X-Men films and only really shows up in certain moments of disaster, allowing an easy way to showcase a credible threat whilst making sure your heroes get out unscathed. It's simply an overpowered trait that focussing solely on does relieve a lot of the tensions and stakes of a film, as they easily weave in and out through the action scenes. The film does provide a way to get by this but only for a little while before shortly resuming to normal. Going forward, there has to be something more concrete to this otherwise it'll simply be a rehash of the first. In terms of this film, the action provides a fun scene, similar to that seen in 'First Class' but is only the real noteworthy piece of action, focussing more on comedy.
Again, it has to be stressed that this is a kids film and as a piece of entertainment for younger children, it is completely harmless. It's not overly stimulating or thought-provoking, but it is bright, colourful and has enough personality in order to succeed as a kids film. The character of Sonic works well as a mascot, the character is fun and vibrant with the film creating a decent starting block to progress from. He's thankfully not annoying or gets on your nerves and with the fish out of water shtick out of the way, the series can dive deeper from here on. Most excitingly, though, will be the progression of Jim Carrey's Dr Robotnik.
As far as character actors go, Carrey goes all out in many of his roles and it has been a while since he has done so. Carrey possesses such unique qualities when it comes to character work, with simple quirks like facial expressions and movement going a long way in making him entertaining and memorable. The unhinged aspect of Robotnik allows Carrey to really flex his chops throughout the film, making the silly character work entirely. There's a lack of depth to the character but there is a lot of wackiness that is reminiscent of Carrey's work in the likes of 'The Grinch'. He is undoubtedly the highlight and with proposed sequels, more editions of this character are something to look forward to.
As a kids film, sure, this 100-minute feature will mildly entertain younger viewers who it is undoubtedly targeted towards. However, that doesn't quite give it a pass on the ways the film falters, especially in its basic storytelling. Upheld by solid performances, there is hope going forward for this one and with some tweaks and shifting its focus on actual personalities rather than relating to what is trending will help it massively. Far from horrible but still not very good, a sequel has the potential to improve upon and make this franchise worthwhile.
Final Rating: 2/5
Have you seen 'Sonic'? If so, what did you think of the film? Once again, thank you very much for reading my review, it is much appreciated and I hope you enjoyed doing so. Make sure to return for more movie reviews, both old and new, coming very soon. Once again, thank you very much and continue to stay safe!