Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Sonic the Hedgehog: Lots of Flash and Bang in a Live-Action/Animation Combo

Movie Review: Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Version: Paramount on-demand

If you're a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog video games... If you're a fan of Jim Carrey... If you're a fan of James Marsden... heck, if you're a fan of furry little hedgehogs! You will love the 2020 combo live-action and animated film, Sonic the Hedgehog. My daughter could not wait for this movie and was not disappointed by a single frame. For transparency purposes, she considers herself a video gamer extraordinaire and a big time Jim Carrey fan.

For me, Jim Carrey comes off way over the top kind of like he did in Ace Ventura or Me, Myself & Irene, but without the grossness. His shtick works best in comedy as in Liar, Liar. Here he is just intense without the laughs. So let me warn you at the top that he floods the screen with personality. If that's why you enjoy Jim Carrey, fine. If that's too in your face, well, you've been warned. My daughter, who is autistic and is bothered by strong personalities, was okay with Carrey's performance, for what it's worth.

In this story, young Sonic (voice of Ben Schwartz) is forced by evil invaders to leave his home world and is transported by magical rings to Earth. There he meets good-guy small-town sheriff Tom (James Marsden), who takes Sonic under his care and raises him from a pup to an adolescent, but keeping this energetic bundle of speed and goodwill secret from everyone but his girlfriend. Now, Tom has dreams of moving to the big city and proving himself as a public safety officer under more demanding circumstances, and just as he's about to make the big move, Sonic has an explosion of energy that takes down the power in the whole region, attracting the attention of the military. Thus enters the picture of Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), although he won't take on his more sinister features until the end of the movie (keep watching through the credits). From here, Robotnik wants to capture Sonic, to "study" him, using his arsenal of superior weaponry to seek him out, although Sonic's speed is always the faster. It becomes a contest of will power between Sonic and Robotnik who will outlast the other, with Tom and the townspeople caught in the middle.

Don't get too lost in details or plots. This is more kids' tale than serious movie, with an emphasis on action and fun over rigorous art. The effects are good, supporting lots of flash and bang. But video game fans may miss some of their other favorite Sonic characters -- my daughter sadly noted their absence. It's really Sonic's backstory and the history of the feud between Sonic and Dr. Robotnik. Question is, will you settle for that? For what it's worth, my daughter thoroughly enjoyed it. For me, it was a meh.

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