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Sonic The Hedgehog review: Striking like the video game

Sonic The Hedgehog simply refuses to rock the boat but nevertheless it is a film that moves in the right direction for it to be a massive franchise

Source: SIFY

By: Troy Ribeiro/IANS

Critic's Rating: 2.5/5

Friday 21 February 2020

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Movie Title

Sonic The Hedgehog review: Striking like the video game

Director

Jeff Fowler

Star Cast

Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Adam Pally, Ben Schwartz, Bailey Skodje, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Neal McDonough

This live action-adventure film targeted for kids is about Sonic the anthropomorphic blue hedgehog, an iconic Sega video game character who battles the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik, a mad scientist. The film appears to be oft-seen and outdated fare.

The narrative begins with Sonic living a carefree life, on a digital paradise island that looks just like the Green Hills stages from the video game. However, his guardian, Longclaw the giant Owl, who Sonic refers to as "My Obi-Wan Kenobbi", warns him to underplay his powers. Sonic refuses to listen.

Soon, the two are attacked by a tribe of Echidnas, and Longclaw is killed. Before dying, Longclaw gives Sonic a bag of rings that he can use to travel to other planets. Using one such ring, Longclaw sends Sonic to Earth.

Thus, Sonic grows up living in Green Hills, Montana a small town where he plays baseball by himself, reads The Flash comicbooks in a hidden cave, and spies on the daily activities of the town's inhabitants.

Local Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) is oblivious to Sonic's existence, as is everyone else save for an oldtimer who calls Sonic the "Blue Devil".

In fact, Tom plans to shift to San Francisco along with is veterinarian wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter), after being offered an opportunity to work with the San Francisco Police Department.

But things don't go as planned. Sonic inadvertently draws the attention of the US Government, and their preferred mad science genius Dr. Ivo Robotnik who, with his army of drone robots and shrill screams, track Sonic at Tom's residence.

Before Sonic can escape from the clutches of Dr. Robotnik, he drops his bag of rings in San Francisco and thus in order to retrieve them, Sonic takes a journey there with Tom's help. How they bond during the trip and disappoint Dr. Robotnik in his endeavour to capture Sonic, forms the crux of the narrative.

The plot is paper-thin and the film's tone strikes a shrewd balance that will certainly allow it to play well across a broad spectrum of audiences. Much of the humour is clearly aimed at the younger viewers. The set-action pieces feel near enough ripped from the games, especially in the third act -- the final battle with Dr. Robotnik where Sonic adopts the very specific battle strategy he employs in the games.

Visually, Sonic truly holds a mirror up to his source appearance and persona. Despite some fairly uneven visual effects, he is as striking as his video game self and that's because of both Ben Schwartz's pitch perfect vocal performance and a knowingly inane script, the essence of the character feels thoroughly captured. Sonic is less of a tough and intimidating character here and more of a Dickensian orphan looking for surrogate parents.  

The film is definitely enhanced by Jim Carrey's histrionics as Dr. Ivo Robotnics. He manically and stupidly prances around all by himself in most of his scenes and he is so remarkable that he stays in your mental frame much after you leave the theatre.

Balancing between Ben Schwartz's Sonic and Jim Carrey's Dr. Ivo Robotnics is James Marsden's Tom Wachowski. He plays the staid super cop effortlessly.

Overall, Sonic The Hedgehog, simply refuses to rock the boat but nevertheless it is a film that moves in the right direction for it to be a massive franchise.

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