Based on the global blockbuster videogame from Sega, Sonic the Hedgehog (with high profile redesign that nearly cost him one of his lives but for me gave bonus rings) tells the story of the world’s speediest blue hedgehog as he finds himself here, on Earth.I can’t say I ever really played extensively video games, but as a young boy the only ones I ever did were Super Mario, Italia 90 (that ages me) and the legend, Sonic. I probably never got very far but he ingrained himself into popular culture where you needed not to have ever played much to know all about Sonic, and this franchise takes him to, ahem, a new level. While modernised – the into and credits give a great nostalgia.
In this first live action adventure outing for Sonic and his eventual new best friend Tom (James Marsden) team up to defend America from the evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and his plans for world domination. The family-friendly (with the occasional jokes for the parents) film also stars Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic.Not only was Sonic part of my youth, so was Jim Carrey and I’ll have to admit, I was really enjoying the film and when he entered, I feared it may have gone another direction, but he excelled in his role as the oddball villain. This is up there with Dumb and Dumber, the Riddler and his other famous roles.
As a father of a five year old boy, I’ve seen many family friendly films and they normally lack one of the elements, either the acting was sacrificed for a animation budget, or vice versa, or in deed – a story. This felt like the whole package was considered and you forgot that Sonic was animated. Each line seemed like the writers had fun and it really helped the story along.
There may have been a few puns from me, but they cleverly adding in theirs, making Sonics favourite comic The Flash and movie… Speed. Once Sonic speaks, he doesn’t stop, sometimes too much for his new friends. They filled him with a great energy filled personality – and as someone who wanted a real friendship and love.
The film opens with a mad chase through San Fran then pauses to backtrack to how Sonic has a narrow escape from his faraway world where Longclaw sacrifices herself to help him escape with a golden ring – opening a portal. Longclaw’s final words of wisdom to her young charge, “Never stop running,” but he finds himself in Montana in a seemingly dead-end town but one that harks back to that Americana many of us fell in love with. And one of community.
Here, Sonic is an outsider looking in, and his friend Tom is an insider looking out, wanting something more – like many of us, a job in the big city is a draw. Sonic sees the love and community and wants a part of it – while watching from the outside (like many of us.. the grass is greener)
But Sonic is like a kid with lots of energy, and he is like a very human teen in many ways, but would have been diagnosed with something by now! I feared the film would be as fast paced as Sonic, but while it had the chases and the explosions it has some heart-warming moments as well as many funny scenes.
Without giving the story away, people want Sonics power (Paramount harness it well!) Dr. Robotnik is the one here and not only is he the smartest man on the planet, apparently, he’s turned to tech not humans for help. His advanced arsenal of weaponry never seems to be a match for Sonic, nor Tom. A great line when they beat up a drone gives a reference to Amazon.
At first I found the Valentine’s opening day strange, but actually both Moritz and director Jeff Fowler both expresses a love for Sonic and carefully and lovingly crafted this character for the silver screen in a love message that along with the expert teams from SEGA and the Japanese producers fills the heart in this feel good movie.
There was something for everyone and a very emotional message. While Sonic protects his friends, and Earth. The team protected him. So if you’re parents on Valentine’s Day, without a babysitter, this is something for you all.
Just like Sega’s decision to keep Sonic on brand by making him blue, this will be another reinvented success and brings our childhood hero to the world of our kids and already Elliott has been drawing him and playing the games since.
“Hey, Sonic! Enjoy your future – it’s gonna be great!”
An unapologetic 5 BiG STARS
IN CINEMAS FROM 14 FEBRUARY
Words by “Ian Berry”