If you’re desperate and don’t care about the logic or the details, the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie will probably entertain your children.
Based around the popular video game character, “Sonic the Hedgehog” follows the grand Hollywood tradition of taking a classic cartoon character, animating them in CGI and teaming them up with a white man. It happened to Garfield, it happened to Alvin and the Chipmunks, it happened to Yogi Bear, it happened to the Easter Bunny and there are plenty of other examples.
It is a weird Hollywood cliche, and is one of many cliches into which “Sonic the Hedgehog” leans hard. Children will readily forgive such cliches, but I think movies can do much better.
Sonic the Hedgehog is an alien child from another planet with super speed, and he flees to Earth to avoid bad guys on his home planet. Sonic then grows up in a sleepy Montana town, until he goes too fast one night and alerts the government to his presence.
So Sonic teams up with the local sheriff, played by James Marsden, to escape the government’s top scientist, played by Jim Carey.
I firmly believe that kids can handle some level of complexity in their storytelling. We’ve all seen great kids’ movies. They have smart scripts, original stories, unique ideas and so much more.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” is not this type of movie. Whoever made the “Sonic” movie has never met a cliche or trope they didn’t love. The film is so paint-by-numbers that I’m surprised we didn’t see random numerals floating in the background.
This movie doesn’t have an original bone in its body. It steals the super speed gags from the X-Men films. The idea of a hapless human going on a road trip with a classic cartoon character has been done countless times before, including the 2011 film “Hop”, which also starred Marsden as the human. And Jim Carey’s Doctor Robotnik villain is just Carey doing his usual rubbery schtick from the 90s.
Granted, Carey doing his schtick is usually always fun, and he’s in fine form this time around. But we’ve seen it all before.
Which is to say, your kids are probably going to love it. There are enough simple gags and enough simple story beats and enough simplicity that kids will probably have a fine time.
But I would argue that children deserve a better time at the movies. And Sonic the Hedgehog, the popular video game character, deserved a better movie.
If all you’re looking for in the middle of winter is something that will keep kids occupied and be mildly watchable, then “Sonic the Hedgehog” will suffice. It’s a by-the-numbers pile of cliches hoping that name recognition will be enough to trick people into the theater.
For further review, tune into the Sentinel Cinema podcast at www.RomeSentinel.com or wherever podcasts are found. Find Sentinel Cinema on Facebook and let me know what you thought of “Sonic the Hedgehog”.