He’s the little hedgehog who likes to go fast and now revered video game character Sonic The Hedgehog speeds into cinemas for a film that is filled with laughs, action and friendship, and it delivers plenty of fun.
After discovering a small, blue, fast hedgehog named Sonic, small-town police officer Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) must help it defeat evil genius Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) who wants to do experiments on it.
Moving from one medium to the next, Sonic the Hedgehog speeds into cinemas and audiences will be in for plenty of fun with this one. Director Jeff Fowler has the task of bringing Sonic to life and he crafts a film that is enjoyable for the whole family and delivers something different in the animated space. The combination of live-action and CGI work together in perfect unison in this picture and gives new meaning to the word fast as it tells the story of how one little guy can save the day. Alongside plenty of incredible action sequences which delve into Sonic’s talent for speed, Fowler also explores deep ideas of acceptance and friendship as this little blue guy comes to call Green Hills, Montana his home and builds a friendship with local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden).
Pulling on his running shoes as the ultra-speedy Sonic is comedian Ben Schwartz and he does a great job of breathing life into this brand new 3d version of Sonic. Schwartz’s Sonic is mouthy, inquisitive, clever and did I mention fast! He’s a character who’s constantly moving and who possesses a curiosity that needs to be satisfied at every turn thanks to a metabolism that runs quickly. But Schwartz’s Sonic is also looking for company and is not immune to feelings of loneliness and a need for acceptance and it’s here that things get interesting. While it’s a lot of fun to see Sonic run wild, where this film finds its heart is through Sonic’s search for a friend and the meaning that comes with this. In this, you get to see Schwartz’s performance open up to the dramatic and he gives this little blue speedster plenty of emotion and love and it’ll certainly make you smile.
Standing next to Sonic is the always dependable James Marsden as Tom Wachowski, the local sheriff of Green Hills, Montana who comes into contact with Sonic and whom forges a friendship with him as they try to fight off the mad Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Marsden plays the everyman here as Tom, a regular guy who feels the pull of the big city and longs for more responsibility as a police officer and the need to prove himself and protect something. Little does he know he gets the chance to do all of this thanks to his interaction with Sonic, and both Tom and Sonic go on quite a journey together. Sonic the Hedgehog benefits from Marsden’s performance and the believability he brings to the role which helps to make the events of this film all the more real.
However, if there is a scene-stealer then it is most definitely Hollywood comedic legend Jim Carrey as the maniacally fiendish Dr Ivo Robotnik, and man-o-man does Carrey crank up the kooky with this performance. Audiences are well versed in Carrey’s over-the-top slapstick, but it’s been some time since we’ve seen him this dialled up. Carrey brings a scheming narcissism to the anti-social Dr Robotnik and his performance is like a tap-dancing routine of pure lunatic mad comedy, and as an audience member, you can’t take your eyes off of him. It’s obvious from his performance that Carrey was having a ball with this character and it certainly shows on screen, making for a very wild watch. Sonic the Hedgehog is the Jim Carrey we’ve missed and I can firmly say that with this performance that Carrey is back and better than ever.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a very fun experience, and its success truly rides on its use of CGI which is exceptional here. The film’s talented animators breath plenty of life into their 3D rendering of Sonic, and this little blue hedgehog finds his footing and puts in plenty of laps up on the big screen. While Sonic is very much an animated 3D character, Fowler and his creative team have worked to make him believable, while still holding true to his original cartoon design, and their work here is sure to please fans. The film’s CGI cranks up the high-speed action elements of the film as well and when Sonic and Dr Robotnic do go toe-to-toe the action moves at a lightening pace.
Sonic the Hedgehog is far and away the best video game to cinema adaptation that I’ve ever witnessed and it’s an incredibly fun watch. Fowler has found the perfect balance of action, laughs and drama within this story and there’s plenty of excitement to be had for the whole family with this one.
Image: Paramount Pictures