I’ll make it clear from the outset that I am not the prime audience for Sonic the Hedgehog.
My knowledge of the long-running video-game series is minuscule at best, and the film is made to appeal to little kids between the ages of 6 and 9. So, there’s a part of me that feels as if I’m punching down when giving this film — one that’s so clearly not made with a viewer like me in mind — a negative review.
With all that said, Sonic the Hedgehog is still quite bad.
Now, it isn’t terrible, but I feel that many critics are leaning very heavily on the moments when their extremely low expectations are defied in the slightest, leading many of them to give the film a considerably more positive review than it deserves. While there is some pretty solid CGI work (especially in terms of Sonic’s animation and much-publicized character redesign), it’s in service to an unfunny, generic and quite dull kid-friendly road-trip movie, the likes of which I’ve seen done — and done far better — many times before.
The cast (led by James Marsden) practically seems on autopilot, including Ben Schwartz’s vocal performance as the titular blue hedgehog, which almost always feels at odds with the character’s look and actions. The one exception is Jim Carrey as the villainous Dr. Robotnik, who compensates for the aggressively humorless script — written by the scribes of such classics as National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze and its equally groundbreaking sequel — by playing up his classic physical comedy schtick in a way that brings a burst of energy to this otherwise boring cash grab.