“Sonic the Hedgehog” Fast-paced fun for fans and families

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Photo courtesy of Paramount Studios

If you’ve been on the interwebs at all in the past year, you probably heard about the horrors of the initial character design for the new “Sonic” film. 

An anthropomorphized face, calf-muscles and a tall physique lacking any semblance to the beloved blue cartoon hedgehog shocked both casual and dedicated fans, kick-starting the most successful petitioning process to a film studio in recent memory.

Upon receiving fans’ complaints regarding Sonic’s character design, the studio and director Jeff Fowler actually postponed the film’s release for months so that they could redesign the iconic hedgehog’s appearance to better resemble the retro SEGA character. 

After the film’s extended stay in post-production, the live-action “Sonic: The Hedgehog” is finally out and proving that even Hollywood studios can learn from their mistakes as they deliver a fantastically fun, if cliched, family flick sure to please fans. 

After Sonic (Ben Schwartz) was forced to flee his homeworld and seek refuge in Green Hills, Montana, he spends the next 10 years in a lonesome state. He has been taught that he must always hide and not let anyone see him for fear that they would attempt to control his speedster superpower. 

Sonic longs for something he knows he can never have: friendship. 

However, when his power is detected and the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is dispatched to find and eliminate him, Sonic is forced to team up with a small-town cop (James Marsden) to find a way to save themselves, and perhaps hatch a new friendship along the way. 

“Sonic: The Hedgehog” is the second film to come along in the last couple of years that shows us that Hollywood might finally have moved past making video game cinema adaptations like the shockingly horrid “Resident Evil” or the loathed “Mario Bros.” franchises, and is now learning how to make good video game movies. 

“Detective Pikachu” was a similar success, undoubtedly paving the way for “Sonic,” and we children of the 90s and early 2000s could not be more grateful. 

The most important aspect of making a video game movie, especially when the video game was made for children, is to recapture the feeling it inspired in those who played it and weave that sentiment throughout a whimsical film filled with fun moments, intriguing characters and heartfelt happiness. 

Thankfully, that is exactly what Fowler achieved with this video game-to-film adaptation. 

Schwartz, perhaps better known as Jean-Ralphio Saperstein from the hit sitcom “Parks and Rec,” was the perfect choice to voice this iconic character. He absolutely embodies the role and effortlessly engages the audience as the character they came to love in SEGA’s games and in the cartoon series. 

Without Schwartz, much of this film would never have worked. His portrayal of Sonic is the heart and soul of this flick. 

If Schwartz as Sonic is the heart and soul, then Carrey as Dr. Robotnik must be its cunning, crazy and plot-propelling mind as Carrey offers his most zany performance since “Batman: Forever.” 

Carrey seemed to have been encouraged to release the epitome of his manic, unlimited charisma in this role, and we all ought to be so pleased that he did.

Without Schwartz and Carrey turning in fantastic performances that evoke the vivacious spirit of the source material, this film wouldn’t be worth watching. 

Additionally, Marsden provides a relatable and sincere performance, offering much of the family-focused heart to be found in this picture. 

Solid CGI, engaging cinematography, especially for a children’s film, and a simple, if extremely cliched, story combine with Carrey and Schwartz’s perfect performances to create a lighthearted film for families and fans alike. 

No, “Sonic: The Hedgehog” doesn’t introduce anything new to the video game-to-film genre, but it is a success story for fans who wish Hollywood would be more responsive to consumers’ pleas, and certainly serves as an entertaining way to spend a Sunday afternoon with your family and friends. 

Check this one out, especially if you’re a Sonic fan. Take a weekend off from watching serious dramas, period pieces and masterclass movies and just enjoy a diverting film that’s fun for everyone.

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