Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Review: An entertaining tale of a Smurf on steroids
The film is entertaining despite being nothing more than a star vehicle for a much-beloved video game character
Remember Quicksilver's slow-motion scene from X-Men Days of the Future Past? Or the final portions of the Kaalam en Kaadhali song from Suriya's 24? Remember how supersonic speed or time-travelling abilities are used to fashion a stylish but funny stunt sequence? In Sonic the hedgehog, about the titular anthropomorphic blue hedgehog, who calls himself the 'Blue Blur', there are two such scenes. They don't offer anything new, but nevertheless, do leave you with a smile. The film is entertaining despite being nothing more than a star vehicle for the much-beloved video game character.
Cast: Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey, James Marsden
Director: Jeff Fowler
Producers: Neal H Moritz, Toby Ascher, Toru Nakahara, Takeshi Ito
Certain scenes will appeal to the juvenile prankster in all of us. Some of us might be happy spotting Sonic reading the Flash comics. And for those who are unaware of the iconic status of the character that is essentially Smurf on steroids, there is Jim Carrey being gleefully OTT in a way only he can.
As with any film about an extraterrestrial being finding their place on our planet, Sonic too is about how an outsider beats the blues to find his true 'home'. He is aided in this journey by police officer Wachowski (James Marsden) and the film comfortably veers into buddy-cop-cum-road-trip territory for most of its runtime. The major drawback of Sonic is how these chase sequences don't give the kind of respect the villainy of Dr Robotnic (Jim Carrey) deserves. As someone who believes in machines more than humans, Carrey is equal parts Ace Ventura and Mask. From the twirl of his moustache to his leathery suits, Carrey exudes manic energy as Dr Robotnic and is the perfect foil for Sonic.
Sonic is one of those films that has subtext if you look close enough but works even as just another video game adaptation that will definitely reap better results than its predecessors in the genre. On some level, Sonic and Wachowski reminded me of Kaveri amma and Shahrukh Khan's Mohan Bhargav from Swades. When Sonic talks about the importance of roots, it rings louder because we know he is someone who is displaced from his actual home. When Sonic runs squares in supersonic speed around a baseball field resulting in a city-wide blackout, we empathise more with his loneliness than understanding his superpower. When he raises his hand for a high-five that is not reciprocated, you wish to reach out to the screen and ensure he isn't left hanging. Apart from the writing, credit should also go to a brilliant Ben Schwartz (the voice of Sonic) and his portrayal of the innocence of a hedgehog who is essentially a lonely kid.
To be honest, the warm fuzziness of Sonic is the major takeaway from a film that isn't aiming to be anything more than a fun, family entertainer. As a kid, I remember being in awe of Stuart Little and not caring about logic, reasoning, and even visual effects. Twenty years later, walking out of Sonic, a film that was once bashed for its inferior VFX and now faces criticism for having a very basic storyline, all I could think of was my first reaction to Stuart Little... Can I get one to take home?