Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) is a mini-sugarfree vanilla cupcake

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) is so very dull. There isn’t anything really new or original in this film, but it still ranks kind of high on the video game adaptations list, because it’s sensible for the most part. The comedy will likely appeal to its target demographic – the younger kids who probably aren’t that familiar with the source material and who probably aren’t going to be annoyed by Jim Carrey just doing his schtick – but will likely bore and annoy fans of the games: especially when Sonic flosses. 

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) has been hiding on Earth for 10 years after he was hunted for his power on his homeworld. After making a poor decision in a moment of weakness, the US government has become aware of his existence, and send Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Carrey) and his slew of machines to find out what Sonic is and what he is capable of. Sonic requests help from a small-town police officer Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) – a.k.a. Donut Lord – who reluctantly gets involved, which inevitably sends them on a road trip to San Francisco.

The coolest part of the movie is borrowed from X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and Apocalypse (2016). In those films, Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) superpower is showcased in a very cool way, as his super-speed basically allows him to move as though everyone else was frozen in time. Sonic has similar power, and thus we get scenes that resemble those from the X-Men movies. They aren’t quite as ambitious, but they are still the most interesting part of the movie, and allow for video games and cartoon shenanigans that are at least entertaining. 

The downside of the film is that the humor is extremely unoriginal. Carrey is the biggest culprit, and I am often a defender of his. I’ve always enjoyed him, but when he is designed to be a character and instead is just Jim Carrey in a costume, it gets to be a little bit much. Keeping in mind that I still defend his version of the Grinch and tolerate his performance as the Riddler – although this defense is more because of nostalgia than genuine enjoyment – I was truly annoyed with his performance here. Sonic is a cartoonish character who is snarky and funny, which works really well when played against a villain who is deadpan to the point of ridiculousness. Carrey’s zany and over the top performance feels like he is trying to one-up the cartoon hedgehog.

To be honest, this movie is probably better than I think it is. However, it would be hard to argue it as good. Still, considering the initial trailer and a slew of bad video game movies that exist, this one is at least competently constructed. There were a few chuckles at my screening from parents of younger children – but for me, I was up and running out the door faster than Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog earns the Not a Total Waste of Time rating.

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