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'Sonic The Hedgehog' review: A supersonic screen debut

Michael Cheang

The Star/Asia News Network

 /  Mon, February 17, 2020  /  07:03 am

When the first trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog came out, I, and fans across the world, were mortified. Not only did that initial version of Sonic look nothing like the one we grew up playing on our consoles, he was borderline creepy, with human-looking teeth, aimless, soulless eyes that are the stuff of nightmares, and long, spindly legs that made him look like a two-legged blue antelope with quills.

The backlash from fans was so great that director Jeff Fowler decided to push back the film’s release date several months and go back to the drawing board, literally, to redesign a more game-accurate version of the character.

Well, I’m happy to say that this NEW version of Sonic is much closer to the game Sonic, and happily, he has a pretty decent movie too.

In it, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwatrz) has been living secretly on Earth for several years, in a quiet town called Green Hills watched over by a bored sheriff named Tom (a quite likeable James Marsden).

However, when Sonic accidentally reveals his presence, the government sends eccentric tech whiz Dr Robotnik (a watchable but not so likeable Jim Carrey, which is just how Robotnik should be) to capture him, leading to the little hedgehog turning to Tom for help.

History is littered with the corpses of failed video game adaptations, but platform games like Super Mario Bros and Prince Of Persia in particular, have not fared well in the past.

Read also: Disney moves forward with Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None' adaptation

Sonic, at least, manages to buck that trend with a delightful adaptation that doesn’t try too hard to be too faithful to the game. In fact, it’s more of a buddy road trip movie than anything else, with Marsden actually achieving some decent chemistry with his animated sidekick.

One fart joke aside, most of the humor works, without the usual overdose of slapstick gags and juvenile pratfalls that plague other movies like this. Yes, even Carrey’s over-the-top rubber-faced brand of comedy is surprisingly watchable here, and he actually gives the arrogant Robotnik a despicable streak that makes you hate the villain even more.

But the best part of the movie, inevitably, is Sonic himself. Schwartz does a pretty good job with voicing the hyper hedgehog, managing to highlight the character’s boundless energy and enthusiasm without making him overly annoying.

The action is suitably fast paced, and even when it slows down, the chemistry between Marsden and Sonic is good enough that it doesn’t drag the movie down. And as for the animation and the character design, let’s just say that this truly is a Sonic the Hedgehog movie. I shudder to think what monstrosity it would have turned out to be if they had kept the original design...

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This article appeared on The Star newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post