Pushed back from a November 2019 release after backlash focusing on the look of the title character, which was indeed nightmarish, Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” seemed destined for failure. A revised February release date — with new special effects — didn’t do it any favors, as that time period usually signifies movie dumping ground. So, it comes as a pleasant surprise that “Sonic” isn’t all that bad. I mean, it’s not great by any means, but it isn’t aggressively terrible.
Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is living on his own planet until a group of, uh, I’m not sure what they were. But, weapon-wielding animals attempt to attack him as a young hedgehog in order to steal his super speed. Sonic’s friend, a wise old owl, gives him a bag of teleportation rings (yes the very same rings from the video game) and tells him to escape to Earth.
It’s all quite convoluted and contrived, but it’s all in good fun and it’s a way to get Sonic into our world where hijinks will indeed ensue.
On Earth, Sonic spends his days running around a small Montana town called Green Hills. It’s a nice place and he’s got nicknames for everyone in town. Of course he’s much too fast for anyone to know he actually lives there, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming intimately involved in their lives.
There’s the Donut Lord, local cop Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), who according to Sonic, eats donuts if they get out of line. Most of the jokes are in this vein. They’re just funny enough for adults to chuckle at, but mostly for kids.
Sonic is soon detected by the U.S. government after he mistakenly lets loose a large energy blast.
Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is called in to figure out the mystery and capture the mysterious creature. Watching Jim Carrey return to his manic roots is the best thing about the movie. It’s quite enjoyable seeing him essentially play an evil Ace Ventura. It reminds us that this is what he was always best at and he excels here even in a thin story. He’s given ample screen time to ham it up with that unique Carry panache that’s been missing for so long.
The movie itself is rote and predictable. It’s easy to see where the story is going. There aren’t any surprises. There also aren’t any parts that will put parents to sleep. It’s easy to watch. Forgettable? Probably. But in the moment, most parents won’t be bored. For this kind of movie that’s an accomplishment.
Another talking CGI animal movie, coincidentally also starring James Marsden, was “Hop.” Remember “Hop”? Of course, you don’t. If you do you might remember it being aggressively bad. Not just passable, but a groan-worthy movie that you can’t believe your kids want to watch again. At least “Sonic” isn’t like “Hop.” It isn’t regrettable.
February is usually sparse as far as movie going goes and seeing “Sonic” with your kids might just be your best choice.