Sonic the hedgehog review: Is it gold rings or game over?

Cinema, Reviews, Sonic The Hedgehog

Narrated, in part, by the super-fast hero himself, Sonic The Hedgehog sees the spiky speedster flee to Earth after evil forces injure his mentor and threaten to steal his power on his home planet. Ten years on, he’s grown to love living in Green Hills, Montana – watching baseball from underneath the bleachers, running through the woods and catching Keanu Reeves movies through a neighbour’s window – but the thought of existing in solitude forever is starting to dent his enthusiasm.

Loneliness proves the least of his worries though, when he accidentally causes a power outage across the Northwest and the government hires machine-mad genius Dr Robotnik (Carrey) to find out what – or who – is responsible. Unfortunately for Sonic, he’s not above animal testing in the name of scientific discovery.

Sonic’s success largely comes down to its cast. Ben Schwartz infuses Sonic with excitable energy, showcasing how annoying he’d be for folks around him without taking it too far and bugging the audience. Opposite him, Carrey goes full Mask-meets-Grinch zany with Robotnik, dancing around his evil lair and screeching at any idiot who dares tell him how to do his job.

Elsewhere, James Marsden is the perfect fit for Sonic’s unlikely ally, sheriff Tom, whose whole deal is that he wants to make a difference beyond helping people change a tire or birth a cow. He wants to be the person someone depends on in a life and death situation, and it’s surprisingly refreshing to watch cookie-cutter good guys and bad guys stay in their lanes.

Its black-and-white depiction of morality is likely due to it catering to youngsters but that doesn’t mean it can’t appeal to older audiences. There are fart gags, flossing and cheesy music ques – Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, anyone? – but it’s packed with cool action sequences too, like Sonic getting out a rowdy bar fight slow-mo style or a high-speed chase from San Francisco to the Great Wall of China and back again. It’s visually vibrant – Sonic looks great – and it’s got heart, touching on themes about being satisfied with what you’ve got and looking out for the little guy. It doesn’t offer up anything new, but it’s fun. Gold rings all-round.

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