The problem with the Sonic The Hedgehog movie is the same problem with 99% of video game movies 1 year ago

The problem with the Sonic The Hedgehog movie is the same problem with 99% of video game movies

Will this be the video game movie to break the curse? No. But it does get closer to explaining why they tend not to work.

Think back to 1991. What was the plot of the Sonic The Hedgehog game?


A blue animal runs super-fast, collecting rings for no real reason, busting his forest pals free from the robots they were trapped inside, trying to stop Dr. Robotnik from getting his hands on the powerful Chaos Emeralds.

It was, in short, a very video-game'y narrative.

Jump forward nearly 30 years, What is the plot of the Sonic The Hedgehog movie?

Okay. Deep breath.

Sonic is a blue hedgehog alien (voiced by Parks & Rec's Ben Schwartz), and when he is attacked on his home planet, he uses a ring - which in this movie opens portals between worlds - to escape to Earth, where he hides out for 15 years.

One day, he accidentally causes a blackout and goes on the run with a friendly local cop (James Marsden) to retrieve his lost portal rings before Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) can catch him and use his alien DNA as a new unlimited power source.

It is, in long, not the same story.


Now, sometimes a game without any real plot can be a decent blank slate for filmmakers to fill in (Rampage, Mortal Kombat), and often it does not (Super Mario Bros., Need For Speed), while some games that already come pre-loaded with a story can be decent (Silent Hill, Prince Of Persia) and sometimes they aren't (Assassin's Creed, Max Payne).

Sonic The Hedgehog, inexplicably, falls between all four chairs.

Clip via Paramount Pictures UK

The opening scenes are an absolute onslaught of information and it is really only when the plot stops assaulting you with new information that it finds a groove and becomes somewhat enjoyable.


Marsden seems to have wandered directly from the set of 2011's Hop, talking from one knee-height animated creature to another, but his inherent charm makes him easy to warm to.

Carrey is having the most fun since maybe 2008's Yes Man, playing the world's smartest man twisted by a superiority complex created by his own off-putting levels of intelligence, he is mostly just let off the leash to play The Riddler again, but in a kid's movie.

Maybe the best scene in the movie is when Marsden and Carrey have a full scene together, just the two of them bouncing off each other's energy, but everything comes to a thundering halt whenever they're forced to interact with Sonic himself. That almost definitely comes down to the fact that no two people seem to know what they want this character to be.

First-time director Jeff Fowler gave in to fan reaction when they didn't like how Sonic looked in the first trailer, while the movie's writers Peter Casey and Josh Miller's last two movies were Transylmania and Sledgehammers At Dawn (the titles are the beginning and the end of all you need to know about them).


The producers, meanwhile, include Tim Miller (director of Deadpool) and Neal H. Moritz (producer of the Fast & Furious series). Schwartz pinballs his performance back-and-forth between clueless fish-out-of-water and insolent teenager depending on what the scene requires.

It is all over the map and doesn't care for things like character arc or tonal consistency. Stuff is LOUD. Things are BRIGHT. Events are HAPPENING. Kids won't care, right? Except, when was the last time you heard of a kid playing Sonic? The initial Sonic audience are in their 30s now, but this movie is very much not for them.

They've made a Sonic The Hedgehog movie, but not for the Sonic The Hedgehog game's fans. Here we have a movie with no idea of who its audience is, made by people who have no idea what the appeal of their iconic character actually is. Once again, in trying to please everyone, we've got something that is unlikely to make anyone happy.

But still, Carrey will make you laugh one or two times, so... there's that at least.


Sonic The Hedgehog is released in Irish cinemas on Friday 14 February.