Review: Sonic the Hedgehog

Score: C+

Director: Jeff Fowler

Cast: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter

Running Time: 109 Minutes

Rated: PG

The good news is that, thanks to hard-working animators, Sonic the Hedgehog no longer looks like nightmare fuel. The bad news? Well, now it doesn't really have any reason to exist. As an adaptation of a video game, it's certainly clearing the low bar set by virtually every one of its predecessors. But it's not truly special enough to transcend that and become something worth recommending.

This character was once popular enough to have not one but two animated series running during my childhood, but do kids today care about a speedy blue hedgehog, especially since Sega's share of the video game market has gone down significantly in the last 25 years? That remains to be seen, and thus it's hard to know exactly who this movie is for. There aren't enough jokes or nostalgic moments for their parents to enjoy either.

Ben Schwartz voices Sonic, a refugee from another planet, hiding out in a quiet Montana town. He of course runs fast, occasionally stopping to creep on sheriff Tom (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter, given less than nothing to do). When he causes a power surge and catches the attention of the U.S. military and Dr. Robotnik (a wonderfully unhinged Jim Carrey), he turns to Tom for help, going on the run and headed toward San Francisco. The road trip stuff is the best part of the film, even if the new friends have a completely contrived disagreement as they near their destination.

There's also some enjoyment to be had when the film feels like a throwback to '90s kids movies, which often had jokes and plot threads that were definitely not for kids. Sonic the Hedgehog features bits about breastfeeding, the surveillance state, and government incompetence, as well as one rowdy bar fight. But these delightful moments are few and far between.

Sonic the Hedgehog certainly earns some points, but it's not enough to level up.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.