Sonic the Hedgehog review

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A review I never thought I’d write

If you were to tell me (back when the first trailer was released) that a film based on a sapphire rodent [Copy editor’s note: they’re actually just mammal that are closer to shrews] known for being a giant meme was going to be the highest grossing videogame film of all time, well let’s just say we probably wouldn’t be friends anymore. I am struck with awe at that fact that Sonic the Hedgehog, out of all the videogame films that came before it, is the one that did really well with the whole not screwing things up thing. Now, am I saying I had no faith in it to succeed financially? Well, I mean… yeah, I guess that is what I’m saying.

I really don’t mean to be so shocked, it’s just… Sonic, you know? The character that ruined DeviantArt for a generation of people – well, that plus the people that used DeviantArt (look at me taking shots an irrelevant media site). Back to the film though. Yes, me being stunned aside, Sonic is a fairly decent family adventure film. I do use the word family with gritted teeth however, as the film does try to sneak in a few PG-13 jokes without anyone noticing. I’d mention a couple of them here if they didn’t sound so weird out of context.

Looking at the film’s acting, Jim Carrey is a definite highlight. I’ve had a few of my friends ask me if this was a return to form for the actor, and the answer is a solid “more or less.” It’s not his older stuff, but he’s still entertaining. He still gives 110 per cent in everything that he’s doing. There’s a (spoilers!) weird three-minute dance thing that’s probably more out of place then it needs to be but, other than that, Carrey does a solid job as the villainous Dr. Egg-Robot-Man-Nik. (I know it’s Robotnik, but I’m also nothing if not chaotic.)

Speaking of acting, James Marsden is weirdly good at it in this film? That sounds mean, but if you’ve ever seen him in anything he’s done, he’s just kind of there. Like Matthew Broderick, the most 6/10 out of all the 6/10’s. In Sonic however, Marsden’s really enjoyable as a sort of plucky side character, who’s also the main character, because basing an entire Sonic movie on Sonic’s struggles alone is a recipe for disaster.
But what about Sonic? Yeah, for a walking, talking, blue hedgehog, Sonic is somewhat relatable and even endearing enough for the audience to care. The film does a good job at showing the funny, debatably charming, emphatic, socially awkward, depressed (basically just a bunch of words that you could use to describe the average university student) nature of the hedgehog. Also, I don’t know about you, but laughing at a joke that Sonic makes has got to be one of “looking at yourself in the mirror” moments.
Characters aside, what does the story have to offer? Well it’s effective because it’s simple. But that’s always been the basic principle of Sonic: it’s so effective because it’s so simple. Hedgehog runs fast, beats mean scientist man, and cracks a cringey 90s joke/reference. Does the film do these things story-wise? Check, check, and check. As far as a more detailed plot summary goes, it’s a basic by-the-numbers hero A must get to objective B in order to save item C. Pretty standard all-in-all.

So is this film worth checking out? I’d say yes, but I’d also say at least try to know some of the source material before going in. Not that there’s much to understand, but you might catch a few references if you do. At the end of the day though, it’s up to you.

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