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Movie Guru: ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ is for Sonic fans and Jim Carrey fans – here’s what to expect if you’re neither of those

Jim Carey's big screen return as Dr. Robotnik is surprisingly very good.
© Paramount Pictures

There are two groups of people who will be very interested in “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

If you’re already a big fan of the titular character, the new movie offers a fun couple of hours that doesn’t try to re-invent the immensely popular video game. If you’re one of those people who misses seeing Jim Carrey become absolutely unhinged onscreen, “Sonic” gives you a fantastically large dose of heartfelt scenery chewing. If you’re someone who happens to fall under both categories, this is probably the happiest you’ll be at the movie theater this month.

But that doesn’t mean everyone else will end up seeing a terrible movie. “Sonic” has the fast-paced silliness of a cartoon episode. The character re-design means the movie is pleasant to look at, the high-speed one-liners mean you’ll chuckle at least a few times, and the speed – I mean, it’s Sonic – means you won’t get bored. There are better movies, but there are also worse ones.

The plot involves Sonic being transported to our dimension and eventually meeting up with a small-town police officer played by James Marsden. The two soon run afoul of Jim Carey’s Dr. Robotnik, Sonic’s classic mad-scientist nemesis. There are some nice Easter Eggs for fans of the games, including a cameo from a beloved supporting character, and two different credits scenes.

Though it’s definitely written for Sonic fans, audience members who only have a passing knowledge of the character won’t be lost. The movie follows the classic trope of “alien and human team up to avoid the scientist trying to experiment on the alien.” It’s written to be family-friendly even for younger kids. It doesn’t have as much depth as half of the stuff currently airing on the various cartoon channels, but it would still feel at home on Cartoon Network, for example.

This is especially true because of Ben Schwartz, who voices Sonic the Hedgehog. Younger fans will recognize him as either Dewey Duck from the “Ducktales” reboot or Leonardo from “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” He brings a sense of both mischievousness and innocence to the character, making it that much easier to bond to him.

Jim Carrey is a much bigger surprise, however. Back on the big screen for the first time in years, Carrey has once again transformed into the lighthearted lunatic his fans remember from the old days. It’s fun to see him back in fighting shape, particularly since the movie makes him stay firmly in family-friendly mode. I never thought I’d say this, but I kind of missed him.

You won’t really say the same about the movie once you’ve left the theater. Still, you’ll have more fun than you expected when you’re there.

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’

Rated PG for action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language

Written by: Patrick Casey and Josh Miller

With characters by: Yuji Naka, Naoto Ohshima and Hirokazu Yasuhara

Directed by: Jeff Fowler

Starring: Ben Schwartz, Tika Sumpter, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Lee Majdoub, Adam Pally, Neal McDonough, Frank C. Turner, Natasha Rothwell and more

Grade: Two stars out of four

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at themovieguruslc@gmail.com.


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