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Sonic the Hedgehog (2020): ‘A lazily-made kids movie’

by | 14 Feb 2020 | Film Reviews

Sonic the Hedgehog arrives on Earth and with his new friend Tom must defeat mad genius, Dr. Robotnik.

Considering he’s been around for almost as long as Mario, it’s only now that Sega’s renowned mascot is getting his first movie. Sonic the Hedgehog is yet another attempt at adapting a video game for the big screen. Also worth mentioning, is that when the original character design was revealed, there was a huge uproar. Looking nothing like he does in the games, the studio delayed the film so he could be redesigned to look like his more traditional self. The question is, will this work in the movie’s favour? Or, will it be a waste of money and continue the trend of terrible films based on a computer game.

Beginning in his home world, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is sent to earth to protect him from those who covet his super-speed. Living in a small town, he spends most of his time on his own making sure no one ever see him. When he accidentally causes a massive blackout, he’s discovered by mad scientist Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Wanting to use his power to conquer the world, Sonic must now team-up with local sheriff Tom (James Marsden).

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

  • Certificate: PG.
  • Mild violence. Threat. Rude humour.
  • Action. Adventure. Comedy. Family. Sci-Fi.
  • Ben Schwartz. James Marsden. Jim Carrey. Tika Sumpter.

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Although not the worst movie based on a video game, Sonic the Hedgehog exists purely as a children’s film. Loyal fans of the game might get a kick out of seeing their favourite character on the big screen. But director Jeff Fowler has designed everything in this film to target younger viewers and get them to drag their parents to the theatres. Similar to movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) or Hop (2011), it all centres around a CGI character interacting with the real world. The emphasis is clearly on the cartoonish antics Sonic gets up to, and having Tom there as the human straight-man to all the chaos.

As a result, there’s very little substance to the story. Never taken too seriously, all it feels like is a bunch of set pieces and gags stringed together with a basic story sandwiched in-between. It’s more about the budding friendship that forms between Sonic and Tom. Very simplistic in its approach, there’s no depth to the narrative or hidden themes beyond helping your friend out despite the inconvenience.

‘At a comedic level the humour is silly, and mostly revolves around Sonic’s instant reactive behaviour.’

That childish demeanour is obviously there so he can relate to that young target audience. There’s no layers to the writing, and adults will find zero humour aimed just for them. That’s not to say you’ll find the movie completely humourless. Those so inclined will find the chemistry between Tom and Sonic endearing, with their banter being somewhat amusing.

Schwartz adds an infectious joy to Sonic’s voice and proves competent with the comic delivery. Marsden is a good actor but he’s wasted here. The majority of his screen time is simply used as a soundboard for Sonic’s tomfoolery. Chewing up the scenery every chance he gets, it’s Carrey who really steals the film. Going back to his roots, he brings an unhinged quality to this evil genius with a superiority complex. Combining a great deal of physicality to his performance, it’s very reminiscent of his Ace Ventura character.

External Links

  • Directed by: Jeff Fowler.
  • Cinematography: Stephen F. Windon.
  • Film Editing: Debra Neil-Fisher. Stacey Schroeder.
  • Music: Junkie XL.
  • Written by: Josh Miller. Patrick Casey.
  • Characters by: Hirokazu Yasuhara. Naoto Ohshima. Yuji Naka.

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When it comes to the action, there’s nothing really original about it. We’ve seen super-speed utilised in so many other movies and television shows. Most of us are familiar with how it’s all shot and executed. Usually a lot of slow-motion and CGI blurs. One sequence in particular is pretty much an exact copy of the Quicksilver scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).

‘For its intended audience, Sonic the Hedgehog is a perfectly suitable and entertaining movie. Children who want nothing more than fast-paced action and juvenile humour will find plenty to enjoy here.’

All packaged within a script full of pop-culture references, it has everything the little ones will like. The only problem is, with no effort made to appeal to the adults, it’s just another lazily made kids film. And with the whole debacle involving Sonic’s pressured redesign, is undoubtedly made to be a money making machine and nothing more.

David Axcell

Film Critic

David has quite a broad taste in film which includes big budget blockbusters and small indie films; including International and Arthouse cinema. As long as it’s good in that particular genre, he’ll watch anything.

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