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Game on for Speedy Sonic

Sonic the Hedgehog makes its way to the big screen in a family-friendly adventure about friendship and humanity

Sonic The Hedgehog (PG)
Running time 1hr 35 min
Rating ***

A true video game icon, Sonic the speedy blue hedgehog has finally made his way onto the big screen in a family-friendly adventure about friendship and humanity. Despite the internet’s overwhelming negative reaction to the film’s first trailer and the overall sense of impending doom I myself felt before this film came out, Sonic the Hedgehog manages to charm and satisfy, although its lack of originality holds it back from being anything too memorable.

Sonic begins with the titular hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) running around his own island that happily recalls his platformer origins. However, as masked beings seek his superspeed powers, he is forced to escape to Earth using teleporting rings. Sonic then lives a solitary life in the Montana town of Green Hills before he is discovered and must escape from the clutches of the villainous Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Sonic is joined by the Green Hills sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) as they travel to San Francisco to retrieve Sonic’s rings so that he can escape to a new world.

Schwartz is capable of capturing the mischievous adolescence of Sonic in his voice performance, and although at times his constant quips and jokes can get annoying, on the whole Sonic is a lovable fun character. Jim Carrey is in full Jim Carrey mode playing the arrogant technological genius Robotnik. His outrageous facial expressions and over the top dramatic delivery lend itself well to the larger than life Robotnik, even if the results can come off a bit grating.

Sonic is successful in the way it embraces its video game roots, with a mountain of references both visually and aurally that will without a doubt please diehard fans of the franchise. It doesn’t try to reinvent itself as something different. Most scenes feel like a level Sonic has to get through, a point that is made clear when certain scenes are lovingly re-imagined in the original pixelated art style of the game in the film’s closing credits. There are also some pretty great highlights, notably the bar scene when Sonic is going so fast that time virtually stops, and he’s able to work the bar fight exactly in his favour.

It’s a fun watch but it’s a very safe and by the numbers picture. Everything plays out pretty much as expected which results in a run of the mill kids’ movie which only attraction is that it features Sonic the Hedgehog. I had a fun time and I’m sure most kids will too, but it doesn’t get my hopes up too high for the inevitable sequel which was so obviously set up at the film’s climax. Sonic the Hedgehog is a fun but mediocre movie that I doubt will race its way into anyone’s hearts.

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