‘Sonic the Hedgehog’: Running away from creativity

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Paramount/Sega/via AP

'Sonic the Hedgehog' is a movie for children, but it feels like it's written by children too.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” is a kids movie. That doesn’t excuse it from being bad. It’s not the fun kind of bad either. It’s inoffensive and boring. It’s impersonal, formulaic and unfunny. It’s what happens when a movie is made only by executives and not actual creatives. The best part of the movie was the 15 seconds when we thought Sonic was dead. 

Speeding through the most interesting part of the movie, Green Hill Zone and the prologue, Sonic is quickly established as an intergalactic orphan who runs really fast. The movie centers around Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and his new buddy, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), trying to get Sonic off Earth and to safety. They are chased by Dr. Robotonic (Jim Carrey), who is nearly insufferable. It doesn’t matter how much fun Jim Carrey had playing him; it’s better when he’s not on screen. The pair of heroes gets into some high jinks and learn a corny lesson about friendship that feels even less earned than any money the studio executives make from this movie. 

Maybe I’m being too harsh, but this movie has no right to exist. Studio executives have learned that kids are so stupid that no effort needs to be made in making films for them. With enough colorful characters and god-awful jokes, your opening weekend can rake in $57 million in ticket sales. Movies for kids don’t need to be bad — see “The Lego Movie” or “Detective Pikachu” — but unfortunately they seem increasingly awful. It’s easy for people not to care what garbage kids are watching, but it’s a shame that no one making them has a shred of creative integrity. Instead, they’re made by executives with a bunch of boilerplate dialogue and painful pop-culture references. (Sonic does the floss dance. Twice.)

Marsden does a lot of work, doing a watchable job interacting with a non-existent blue rodent, but it’s not really that interesting. His character arc doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but it’s not unbearable. Try as he might, Marsden can’t even come close to saving the movie from Carrey, an uninspired plot and lame pop-culture references. 

Carrey’s performance is actively aggravating, and the moment he’s on screen, the movie becomes infinitely worse. Carrey seemed to be trying to recapture his ‘90s success by channeling his energy from Ace Ventura, but his performance does that movie a disservice. 

The most interesting thing about “Sonic the Hedgehog” was the fact that the man sitting next to me in the theater smelled good. Other than that, the movie was painful to watch, and it seemed to never end.