A CGI-live action video game movie is surprisingly more bearable than others of its ilk, especially the dreadful Super Mario Bros.
Sonic The Hedgehog gets a makeover for its cinematic release given reactions to the blue-furred, spiky-coiffed character from the Sega system circa 1991. The designs of its eyes and teeth were appropriately altered after those early test screening.
So, director Jeff Fowler uses the Japanese tech giant’s template to an advantage from the loneliness of Sonic who dwelled in a remote orb with phenomenal running ability (265 mph ?).
Thanks to a sagely owl (a mice-loving Obi-Wan) who provides him with special rings of teleportation he ends up close to the small burg of Green Hills, Montana. Are Sheriff Tom (James Marsden) and wide Maddie (Tika Sumpter) the Donut Lord and Pretzel Lady? For Sonic (whose motto is ‘gotta go fast’), yes they are.
Of course, in being in a new world playing a former national pastime at his pace causes a widespread power outage in his electric blue way. The Pentagon reacts by calling on maniacal Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carey, embracing old characters like Ace Ventura by way of Snidely Whiplash) to ensnare the ‘blue devil.’
Robotnik has that frame of mind that Carrey delivers with the kind of fervor that should attract audience from long after Sega introduced what would be very profitable for them. The ‘Native American Shadow Wolves’ trainee has a henchman Agent Stone (Lee Majdoub).
Pat Casey and Josh Miller have concocted a script which pairs Sheriff Tom and Sonic (voiced with exuberance and naivety by Ben Schwartz). A trip to the City by the Bay is necessary because there is a missing bag of rings atop the Transamerica Pyramid.
For those who’ve never played (or even heard of) the game it hardly is a turn-off with its share of corny lines that still elicit plenty of giggles even from older counterparts who wouldn’t normally admit it. It’s wise to hedge your bets that Sonic (given how Carey, Marsden and Schwartz respond to the material) and the latitude dispatched by Fowler could very well go hog-wild at the box office for a while. Not to mention (given what appears within the credits sequences) franchise capability and potential crossover from the lucrative PC gaming world or resurrection from the old console days.