Perhaps because of its very nature, not many would be willing to go out on a limb and give Sonic the Hedgehog the kudos that it deserves. Here's a film, aimed squarely at kids, that doesn't reduce itself to flavour-of-the-week antics like making references to trending memes and plugging the latest Selena Gomez song.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a way better film than it had any right to be, thanks in most part to the delicate line that it treads between catering to attention-deficit pre-pubescent and their nostalgic parents. It's disconcerting enough to imagine that 90s kids who grew up playing the Sonic video games — the first one was released in 1991 — are probably old enough have children, but even more so when you picture them watching this film together.
And to this end, debutant director Jeff Fowler has released the Kraken, so to speak, and brought Jim Carrey out of whatever career funk he seems to have been in for the last few years.
Watch the trailer of 'Sonic the Hedgehog' here
His performance as Dr Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog is a jolt of 90s nostalgia. As the years have gone by, room for films such as this has reduced, but Carrey has always committed fully to roles that others might consider beneath them. Even the very similar Pokemon: Detective Pikachu took a rather serious approach to adapting its ridiculous source material. But Sonic embraces its old-school charms.
It tells the story of an extraterrestrial blue hedgehog who is sent to Earth in a final act of courage by his guardian, Longclaw the Owl, to protect him from villainous critters looking to harvest his superpowers. "But with great power," Sonic learns from Longclaw, "comes great power-hungry bad guys."
Dr Robotnik is one of them. After sensing a burst of unexplained energy, the US Department of Defence calls upon Robotnik — a man who is said to have been behind a coup in Pakistan — to investigate. His search brings him to a small town sheriff named Tom, played by James Marsden
Unbeknownst to Tom, Sonic has been closely observing him for several years, and has developed a one-sided friendship with him. It's very cute, but also a bit sad. When Sonic senses Robotnik catching onto him, he turns to Tom, the only decent human he knows, for help.
Their odd-couple energy is consistently watchable, despite the rather stilted writing that often takes away Sonic voice actor Ben Schwartz's ability to ad-lib. But there is little room to improvise in CG-heavy films such as Sonic, where literally every shot involving a computer-generated character is mapped out virtually before the cameras have even rolled.