"Sonic The Hedgehog" Review

When the first trailer for "Sonic The Hedgehog" dropped, it was bombarded with backlash from fans of the video game character as well as those who enjoy hopping on the latest angry-bandwagon. The original design for the film's rendering of the titular character was more humanoid, leading to complaints of the latest buzz-worthy phrase in film discourse, the 'uncanny valley'. The film's release date was pushed back several months to give the animators time to redesign the character, and now the film has had a record-breaking opening weekend for a film adapted from a video game.

Plot Premise: Sonic The Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz) is an alien from another planet that has been living on Earth since he was very young, in the same small town where Tom Wachwoski (James Marsden) lives with his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) and works as the sheriff. However, when Sonic's existence is at risk of being exposed, evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is dispatched to hunt him down.

The Good: Ben Schwartz voices Sonic with terrific character and charm, endearing him to both old and new fans. Jim Carrey brings the same over-the-top energy and wild physicality to Dr. Robotnik that made him famous in the first place. There's something wonderfully nostalgic about seeing him play this type of character again, in a way that only he can deliver. The visuals are also fantastic, beyond just the look of Sonic as a character. All of the VFX artists that worked on this film deserve promotions.

The Bad: The most 'serious adult' type of film viewer won't like this film. It doesn't take long to look online and find reviews complaining about the film not being 'original' enough in its story and themes. This is a PG-rated film with a CGI protagonist interacting with humans and learning about the importance of friendship so if that's not your cup of tea, don't buy a ticket just to complain about it.

Who This Film Is For: My screening mostly had kids with their parents in the audience, and many of the older kids seemed to be familiar with the source material considering how they would react to particular moments or characters that wouldn't strike the same 'Aha!' response to those going in without any video game background. It's a fun, warm-hearted, family-friendly film that appears to resonate most strongly with viewers who are either fans of the game, middle-school age or younger, or both. Still, it's visually appealing enough and doesn't overly rely on lazy body humour or loud noises so that it can be a pleasant viewing experience for the adults accompanying their young ones to the show.


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