‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ brings charm and cringe

Nicholas Solomon

I was not expecting “Sonic The Hedgehog” to be a good movie for several reasons: It has the stigma of being a video game movie, the only experience I have with the games themselves is a level from a SEGA Dreamcast demo disk and I am simply not the target audience. It is for fans and kids. Nevertheless, part of my job is watching movies, good or bad, so I made the two hour sacrifice to help people decide whether to see it or not. The main appeal of “Sonic” is that it is charming, which is really all it has going for it.

It is the story of the titular alien talking blue hedgehog, voiced by Ben Schwartz, who comes to earth through a portal and lands in a small town in rural Montana. He has a hovel deep in the woods, and his only human contact is observing police officer Tom, played by James Marsden for some reason who can do much better, along with his wife and dog. While once incognito, managing to only attract the attention of a geriatric conspiracy theorist, he eventually inadvertently reveals himself and draws the attention of the US government. The government soon deems him a threat and enlists the help of mad scientist Dr. Robotnik, portrayed by Jim Carrey.

That is the first thing that I love about this movie: Jim Carrey is peak Jim Carrey. He is having so much fun in the role, bringing me back to his older movies like “The Grinch” and “Liar Liar.” Being wonderfully outrageous and cringey, this is a role that only Carrey could pull off. Other than that, the casting/characters are strange. James Marsden, a fairly underrated actor, is out of place. His role is that of a “straight man” to Sonic whom he is basically buddy buddy with. Both the reaction I and the friend with had was “why is Marsden in this?” His part would be much better for a vanilla actor like Chris Pratt, who is venturing for more serious roles even when he is naturally better at comedy. The interactions between Marsden, Sonic and Carrey are what make this movie. Everything else takes a back seat, and this is where that charm comes in. As much as I am puzzled by the presence of Marsden, it does a serviceable job, and doesn’t pull you out of the movie.

One thing that I really disliked about this movie however was the incessant pop culture referencing and product placement. Name-dropping Zillow and particularly Olive Garden multiple times, Sonic doing the floss dance from Fortnite, and mentions about Keanu Reeves to name a few examples. Every time, I would either glare at my friend or groan. While I expected this, and it sort of fits with the outlandish charm, cringing in a movie in most cases is never good. I didn’t drop money to watch a groan fest like a network cop show or “The Bachelor,” I wanted to be entertained!

Overall, “Sonic The Hedgehog” is a consistent movie: consistently dumb and wince inducing, but charming as well. Despite being that way, I still had fun with it. Will I ever see it again voluntarily? Absolutely not, but nonetheless, it’s pretty good for a video game movie, and that’s a rarity.

Edited by Adam White, Hannah Alleyne, Diana Martinez-Ponce