Movies featuring movie X-Men with famous game-related sidekicks are all the rage these days. Following on from Pokémon, we now have another video game adaptation in Sonic the Hedgehog.
They say that no publicity is bad publicity and it certainly seems to be the case for Sonic. Its weird first trailer outing got somewhat of a tepid/comedic reaction when it was released last year. This led the studio and director cutting their losses, pushing the movie back and Sonic being rightly re-sleeved into what we see today.
Adapting videogame franchises into movies is no mean feat and can easily end up upsetting your core gamer base, as well as costing a studio heaps of money. Taking out the massive cost of re-doing all the Sonic CGI, they have kept things quite simple in the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. The story is simple and set up nicely from the outset, with the blue flash being a world travelling alien, trying to keep himself safe from those out to get him.
Ben Schwartz voices our speedy star and his voiceover experience shines through. Yes, his voice is a bit overused and annoying, but it fits the character well. James Marsden plays our human hero-helper and he is really rather good. You can tell that he is used to doing green screen work, acting to something that isn’t there, and he clearly had fun talking to himself during filming. Despite some creepy behaviour on the promotional circuit, Jim Carrey does in Sonic, what Jim Carrey does in all his films. He channels his Masky, Ace Ventura, Grinchyness into an over the top, eccentric, oddball performance to personify bad guy, Dr. Robotnik. The rest of the cast are relative b-list, but they all play their part.
Despite being a bit of a one-trick hedgehog, the film is led by Sonics personality, instead of by his conveniently absent, when convenient to the narrative, powers. This makes Sonic a little boring at times as the trailers gave away practically every fun piece of dialogue. Then they relied on a couple of scenes which were ripped straight out of Quicksilvers playbook in the X-Men movies, all causing my originality meter to spiral downwards quickly. I’m really not sure why, but there just seemed to be something missing from the film. Just a few % of something to enhance it. Maybe it was the lack of original action. Maybe it was the lack of more female characters or maybe it was simply something else.
There are loads of nods to places, levels and bad guys from the game series littered throughout the movie, so heaps for Sega heads and Sonic boomers to notice. There are a few giggles for the adults, a few giggles for the kids and an ending with a couple of good scenes. There’s a lot more in this franchise and it ends, all set up for a sequel. If Marsden and Carrey are on board this could be a nice movie franchise, with plenty of crossover possibilities. The only problem is that I’m not sure this film will do the box office required to launch a sequel. It’s enjoyable, my daughter liked it, I liked it too, it’s family friendly, it just left me wanting a bit more originality from a videogame franchise. Do I hope to see more Sonic? Yes. Do I think I will? Not so sure.