Updated: Sep 22, 2021
When it comes to video games there have been many characters to define the medium; from a plumber saving a princess to an adventurer raiding tombs. Among these icons is a blue hedgehog who redefines the meaning of going fast. Since 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog has been a major franchise in the video game industry and, despite the series having its ups and downs, the high speed rodent continues to be a major player in video games with his various titles. Sonic has been no stranger to pop culture as he has had several comics and television series to his name, but now the blue hedgehog takes a new leap as he runs onto the silver screen. Directed by Jeff Fowler, Sonic the Hedgehog was originally going to be released last year but, due to controversy surrounding the character’s design, the movie was pushed back to the winter season. Now the film has hit theaters and as a fan of the series I knew that I had to see this adaptation for myself. There were a number of ways that this movie could have gone, but what came to theaters was a blockbuster that was as much a worthy adaptation as it was an entertaining experience.
The story centers on Sonic (Ben Schwartz): a hedgehog from another world who has been hiding on Earth for 10 years. After losing his rings, the means of how he travels between worlds, Sonic teams up with local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) to find them before the nefarious Dr.Robotnik (Jim Carrey) can catch the duo and use Sonic’s power for his own. The plot of Sonic the Hedgehog was certainly a fast paced adventure, and given the concept behind the series this narrative made sense. However the quick nature of the story did hurt its execution as details, such as Tom’s decision to leave the town of Green Hills, felt abrupt to the overall plot. Along with the plot’s pace was its simplistic nature. When it came down to it the plot played to the basic tropes of its respected genre and while that was not bad it felt as though the plot was playing it safe when it came to its storytelling. If there was one thing that I found impressive with the story it was its ability to utilize elements from the series. Concepts such as the gold rings were not only interesting for this plot but it also added new details to the mythos behind the series, and that is a great accomplishment for an adaptation such as this one.
The cast for this video game based film was simple but effective. In the case of the man of the hour, or in this case hedgehog, Sonic was a delight. From his energetic presentation to the witty performance of Ben Schwartz, this depiction of Sonic was not only effective but true to the character’s legacy. Along with the stellar hedgehog was his human costar Tom who was a fine addition to the cast. While the character could have had stronger development, Tom’s involvement in the film was appropriate and Marsden’s performance was just as charismatic as Schwartz’s Sonic. When it came to the supporting players characters like Tom’s wife, Maddie (Tika Sumpter), were good but their lacking screen time prevented them from having a lasting impression. Last and certainly not least was Jim Carrey as Dr.Robotnik. While this was a different spin on Eggman, Carrey’s take on the iconic villain was fitting. Along with his development mirroring his furry nemesis, Robotnik was both outlandish and intense and Carrey’s energy was a perfect way to bring this mad scientist to life.
When it came to elements such as effects Sonic the Hedgehog was hit and miss in this area. When it came to bringing Sonic to life, the movie was sound as the character’s presentation and design were both executed well. Along with this was Sonic’s speed sequences which had plenty of creativity to them. Where visuals lacked was in its ability to mesh with the movie’s cinematography. The movie’s bright colors were understandable but this caused the visuals effects to feel off-putting which created a distracting contrast. The music was good but it lacked a lasting impression-though the recreations of the game series’ music was a nice touch. Technical aspects aside a highlight for this adaptation was its sense of humor. Though the comedy could be childish, it worked due to its good delivery and it felt appropriate for the movie’s vibrant atmosphere.
While video games have a hard time being adapted to the big screen, Sonic the Hedgehog was certainly an exception. While the movie was basic in its storytelling and characters, its delivery in both made all the difference as the movie ended up being a fun adventure with enjoyable performances. Along with a good sense of humor and decent effects, Sonic the Hedgehog was a zany blockbuster to experience, and in this Film Adventurer’s opinion it was a fine way to depict this video game franchise.