Oh, The Humanity! Sonic The Hedgehog

sonic indexMercilessly mocked before it was even released, and the subject of a sod load of animation changes after fans complained about how awful Sonic looked, when this movie based on the much loved video game character finally came out it was always going to be on a hiding to nothing. It deserved it too, not because it’s in any way bad, though I wish in many a way it was, but just because it’s so tediously average. A mixture of fish out of water, odd couple and road trip stories that rarely does anything fun with its speedy lead, it’s Hollywood at its worst and most uninventive.

Opening on a planet far, far away, Sonic’s supposedly been special from birth as he’s such a speedy bastard, and that’s led to a lot of people wanting to murder him on his world which looks very much like the first level found in the first game. Luckily a wise old owl saves him, gives him some magic rings that allow him to transport to any location he should so wish, and then shoves him through one so that he lands on Earth. Ten years later and Sonic has gone quite, quite insane with loneliness, spying on the towns folks and giving them nicknames but making sure only one ever sees him, and he’s the town crackpot so it doesn’t really matter.

But one night when playing baseball by himself he accidentally goes so fast that he causes a power outage, in scenes which make no scientific sense at all. Panicked by the occurrence the US Government convene and decide to send in their top man, the questionably also insane Dr Robotnik. Meanwhile Sonic makes friends with local cop Tom (James Marsden) and persuades him to travel to San Francisco where his pouch full of magic rings have accidentally ended up due to a plot contrivance I can’t be arsed to go in to here, but with Dr Robotnik on their tail Tom is soon on the most wanted list, with the local news claiming he’s a terrorist.

For a movie about a video game character who can run really, really fast it’s frustrating that he rarely does so, there’s only really three major set pieces in the movie, and while we’re given a couple of other bursts of Sonic dashing all over the place it’s quite astonishing how director Jeff Fowler manages to make them nearly all mundane. There’s one exception where after getting in to a bar fight Sonic has some fun moving people and objects around and the way it plays out is amusing, but most of the time it’s duller than Sonic 4 and studies have recently proven that not a single human being enjoyed playing that.

Jim Carrey as Dr Robotnik apparently improvised a lot of his dialogue and so must take the blame for creating such an unusual character, yet unfortunately it’s not unusual in any positive sense of the word, Robotnik is quick with the quips but they’re rarely funny, and his delivery of the dialogue just makes him seem a bit of an idiot, even though we’re supposed to think he’s one of the greatest minds humanity has ever produced. There’s a fair amount of physical silliness where he dances about, over acting all over the place, but despite his efforts this is one of Carrey’s least memorable performances.

Ben Schwartz is okay as the voice of Sonic and manages to deliver some terrible gags without killing himself during the recording of the dialogue, so that’s something I guess, and James Marsden’s Tom and his underused vet girlfriend Maddie (Tika Sumpter) manage to create appealing characters. But they’re rarely given anything funny to do, Sumpter especially, and the film wastes Adam Pally whose dumb cop is quite amusing in places but also rarely seen.

It’s also a film with some glaring issues, when the majority of the characters meet Sonic for the first time they freak out but in the bar scene everyone’s fooled by the explanation that he has some weird skin condition, those who hear it at least, all of the others don’t seem to care that he’s a strange blue alien from some far off planet. Tom and Sonic almost kill a good few people too while driving like maniacs away from Dr Robotnik, and a bus which explodes is never referred too again even though someone must have been driving it, and presumably it was full of passengers, and given that this is a kids film it seems rather off. Oh, and one scene towards the end seems to lead to a Highlander-esque quickening for Sonic, though why this happens is of course completely ignored.

The majority of the time its just boring though, Sonic has a bucket list which appears to entail playing darts and having a bit of a dance rather than anything engaging, there’s a couple of fart gags which will make even a young three year old sigh with disdain, and the majority of dialogue about Sonic’s desperation to make a friend is twee and saccharine beyond belief. The action scenes rarely inspire anything other than the hope that they might kill Sonic, and though they try to make us believe he’s dead at two separate points in the movie sadly he survives and the inevitable sequel is set up at the end, but unless a miracle occurs and it’s one hundred times better than this I won’t be seeing it.

Alex Finch.
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