Sega’s iconic hedgehog gets a live action, way past cool, adventure flick.
When the first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog premiered, there was, (understandably) a fierce uproar among fans of the Sega icon over his rather odd appearance. He did not look like the Sonic we all know and love. The controversy immediately prompted Paramount Studios to return to the proverbial drawing board, and create a more fan friendly version of the beloved blue streak.
The renovation apparently paid off, cinematically as well as facially. Sonic the Hedgehog is decidedly one of the better video game adaptations, a rarity among so many that have failed at the box office, and with fans too. It’s enjoyable for young and old fans (like your’s truly), combining the relative amount of comedy, drama, and of course, action.
Sonic’s origins are well chronicled as we try to maintain eye contact while he darts across his dimensional homeland of Green Hill Zone. He’s had this incredible gift of lightning speed since childhood. And, much to the apparent chagrin of his guardian/mentor Longclaw the owl, he just cannot keep his unique kinetic energy a secret, or stay out of sight.
The problem takes an acutely serious turn when literally everyone in the Zone wants his speedy powers to rule the universe,including an extremely rowdy tribe of echidnas. When these characters crash Longclaw’s pad via an unexpected invasion, he gives Sonic a special bag of solid gold transport rings so he can escape to another world, the first one being ours.
While a resident on our planet for a decade,specifically Green Hills, Montana (probably couldn’t resist the name), Sonic rigidly follows his mentor’s advice this time, concealing himself amongst the local natives. But not totally without instances of his dynamic forces, which enables him to know all the local natives.
One townsman that Sonic seems to have given special attention to, is local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), apparently bored with his job in a town where hardly anything happens. The only momentary perk he gets besides communicating with his fellow officer Wade, is when Sonic whizzes by, causing his speed gun to register absurd numbers. To cure his abject boredom, Tom has planned a major life change that his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) is , fortunately consensual to.
But just when Tom is about to finalize his plans, Sonic, unintentionally of course, tosses a proverbial monkey wrench into the works when forced to reveal himself. And it certainly does not go unnoticed. Especially when our blue streak causes a temporary black out through the entire pacific northwest ,akin to an electromagnetic pulse. Almost immediately, special drones are dispatched by our auspicious government to find our speedy blue bolt. So guess where he ends up hiding out? -Tom’s garage.
Unfortunately, our Sega hero is hardly concealed before another government dispatch is hot on his lightning tail in the form of the semi-crazy/scientific genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Sporting an absolutely classic villainous black mustache (with attire to match), his relentless pursuit of our cobalt comet is only surpassed by his annoying, yet humorous narcissism.
After a rather awkward first encounter with the doctor, Tom and Sonic hit the proverbial road in a blatant attempt to escape this mad man. It has to be one of the wackiest, fun loving chases you’ll ever be engaged in. Robotnik’s ultra high tech vehicles and gadgetry vs Sonic’s nearly limitless speed is simply hliarious. Through all this chaotic melee, it’s feasibly predictable that this odd pair will become friends.
Just as Sonic’s physical features had to be perfect, voicing the speedy hedgehog was equally important. Parks and Recreation alum Ben Schwartz brings his own stylish, freewheeling version of our Sega hero, aptly matching Jaleel White’s verbal talents from the 1990’s animated series and sporting the same kinetic energy.
James Marsden and Tika Sumpter make an ideally likeable couple who suddenly find themselves thrown into an unprecedented situation, along with Melody Neiman as Maddie’s daughter Jojo. They handle the mayhem courageously despite some extremely dangerous plights.
However, of all the well rendered players, Jim Carrey just has the time of his life as Sonic’s arch nemesis, Dr. Robotinik. He steals the show, as he did as the Riddler in 1995’s Batman Forever. Piggybacking his natural craziness from his days on In living Color, Carrey simply dominates every scene he’s in by making chaos completely organized.
Naturally, a Sonic movie would be positively drab without superb visual effects to at least keep all the avid fans interested. Combined with Tom Holkenborg’s appropriately lively score, they keep Sonic the Hedgehog moving at such a brisk pace, that you definitely hope for a sequel.