Doing a video game as a movie is always a tricky proposition because milestones sometimes don’t translate to great story points. Also tone is always a meandering creature because the stakes can either get out of control or move to a point where they don’t mean anything. With “Sonic The Hedgehog”, the want to create something family friendly can create a groan factor because some of the lines sound like they were created out of a screenplay workbook. Yet the pure essence of Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) works because it is schizophrenic. Now whether that played into certain aspects of story structure is not clear. Because of the way the sequences run, the Sonic bits likely had to be more under control. On the other hand Jim Carrey is the most free flowing he has been in years. Comedy seems cyclical because the type of performances he was known for in his early career is what he tried to move away from by approaching more dramatic material. In doing this role and possibly coming back for a new Ace Ventura, it shows a shift in his progression.
The reality is that he is much older so it takes likely much more energy to pull off such a performance. His timing is still undeniably there and the director obviously let him go off on riffs even in some of the major action sequences. The result is an enjoyable to a point, grating at others, adaptation of what could have been simply one note. The reality is that fairly few video game adaptations achieve what they set out to do. Some fail miserably like “Super Mario Brothers “because it overplayed the camp and threw the audience into a world that looked like a day glo explosion. A film like “Doom” with The Rock and Karl Urban had possibility but what happened i that only at one point in the movie when it becomes first person do you really feel connection to the video game. Sonic provides a basis story (flimsy as it may be) which can connect to younger audiences (replete with bad dialogue) but still offer some levity (thanks to Jim Carrey) that can work on a slightly different level. “Sonic” isn’t perfect or particularly great but being what it is, it basks in its awkward levity until the end.
By Tim Wassberg