I was a little skeptical of this going in. Sometimes these types of family friendly adaptations can go awry and just be pointless and over the top silly in nature. I am very happy to report that Sonic the Hedgehog is nothing of the sort; in fact it’s extremely well done. At a certain point I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having in a film about Sonic the Hedgehog, but when a film has a lot of care and thought poured into it, even a film like this can be good…. and dare I say, great?
Now full disclosure: I am a big James Marsden fan and if he’s in something I’m most likely going to watch it. With that being said, whether you’re a fan or not, I don’t see how you couldn’t love him in this film. Marsden has always had this ability to charm and just be effortlessly lovable. Those great qualities are out in full force here as the man who winds up accompanying Sonic on his journey. He’s that handsome all American guy from a small town that you can’t help but either want to be buddies with or be in a relationship with. Ben Schwartz is the voice of Sonic and serves as example of how to do voice acting in an effective way, he’s so expressionistic and enthusiastic. Marsden and Schwartz (Sonic) make a wonderful pair to follow throughout the film and their electric chemistry is just fun and even sweet/charming to watch. Jim Carrey is a delight as the out of control villain. Carrey is one of those actors that’s so effortlessly talented and can nail both wacky comedy and drama. He was built to play characters like this. I was reminded of when he played The Riddler in 1995’s Batman Forever.
The script is honestly really well written – better than it should be probably. It’s true that some of the jokes at the very beginning are a little weak, but after the first ten minutes or so, the jokes actually work and had me laughing. Natasha Rothwell deserves the majority of the thanks for the humor working. She has some really great lines and her character in general is a riot. Marsden has some nice comedic moments too, which is interesting because I don’t usually think of him in a comedic sense. There’s also some really well done scenes between Sonic and Tom (Marsden). Some are friendship building in nature and others are just them two having some fun adventures on this action packed road trip. What’s so refreshing to see is both the script and the cast’s ability to pull off the different tones. When the mood goes dramatic/heartfelt, it doesn’t feel forced, it actually works because of these characters chemistry. In the same way, because they’re both so lovable and their chemistry is so electric, the scenes where they’re just having fun work too.
So how’s the action? I was very much impressed with this films visual effects and the exciting nature of the action sequences. The action comes at an appropriate rate,. It’s not so much to where you feel it’s numbing but it’s not too little to where you’re bored. These action scenes are seriously high quality though, I was actually surprised at the magnitude and immersive feel of some of the them, especially the climax. The slow motion and high speed of Sonic is put to good use too, making some of the action creative and original. I like to see if films have anything new or different to offer up when it comes to action and this film does thanks to Sonic’s superpower. The high speed opens up some cool avenues for them to take. Also, one last thing I want to say about this film… I love the beautiful diversity. Almost all the films out right now are diverse in both race and gender and I’m here for it!
Sonic the Hedgehog proves that silly video game adaptations can be fun, charming, and exceedingly well put together. This is a family action film done right (take note Spies in Disguise.. this is how to do it correctly). I can’t believe I’m saying this but I can’t wait for the Sonic the Hedgehog sequel!