‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ is a quick cash grab and nothing else


This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, in a scene from "Sonic the Hedgehog ." (Paramount Pictures/Sega of America via AP)

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, in a scene from “Sonic the Hedgehog .” (Paramount Pictures/Sega of America via AP)

It has become normal to bash a movie that is based on a video game. These types of films are usually made to cash in on the popularity of a particular franchise or character. That trend continues with the film “Sonic The Hedgehog.” 

Based on the 1991 video game of the same name, the film follows an alien hedgehog named Sonic who can run extremely fast and create electromagnetic pulses. After Sonic accidentally causes a blackout from one of his electromagnetic pulses, the government sends out the tech-savvy Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to catch Sonic.  

There is very little that can be said about the plot. There is no deconstruction of Sonic as a character nor is this film a parody of the bloated state of gaming. Instead, writers Josh Miller and Pat Casey wrote a screenplay that is a family film by the numbers. The humor is tailored to hyperactive pre-teens and the dialogue felt generated by a corporate algorithm.  

First-time director Jeff Fowler tries to make “Sonic The Hedgehog” stand out from other family films through flashy visuals and fast editing, but beauty is only skin deep.The script hijacks whatever potential the film might have had. Fowler’s influence feels nonexistent for most of the runtime, leaving the actors to do the heavy lifting. 

Ben Schwartz does a decent job as the voice of Sonic, capturing the hyperactive nature of the blue hedgehog. He is annoying throughout the film, but Sonic never got under my skin. His interactions with Officer Wachowski (James Marsden) felt like a child talking to a parent who wants nothing to do with their kid. Carrey is a serviceable villain who is menacing while also being cartoonish, without either side overlapping each other. 

The film throws in some references to the Sonic video games that will please some fans, but aren’t enough to make “Sonic The Hedgehog” feel like a movie for the fans. The movie is targeted toward a mainstream crowd that only knows the name and face of Sonic. The only parts of the movie that match the games are the moments of clunky dialogue which plagued Sonic games during the late 2000s. 

What annoys me the most about “Sonic The Hedgehog” is not the corny jokes or half-baked dialogue, but how it feels like every family movie made in the past 15 years. These traits include product placements that feel forced, talking animals that are more annoying than funny and useless plot filler used to extend simple plots. It’s puzzling why a movie like “Sonic The Hedgehog” still exists in 2020. 

If you are a fan of Sonic, go play some Sonic video games like “Sonic Adventure” or “Sonic The Hedgehog 2.” They are more exciting and offer better storylines and characters than the movie. While comparing video games and movies is like comparing apples and oranges, at least fruit is organic and fresh, something “Sonic The Hedgehog” isn’t. 

Rating: 2.5/5 

Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ian.ward@uconn.edu.

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