NEW YORK (CNS) — Not that the intended core audience of children is likely to notice, but many of the adults who take them will find that there’s something oddly mechanical and even maladroit about “Sonic the Hedgehog” (Paramount).
The story, based on the titular Sega video game character (voice of Ben Schwartz), relies on the hyperactive animal’s lightning velocity and ability to duck hazards tossed in his way by mad scientist Dr. Robotnick (Jim Carrey), who wants to use Sonic for experiments.
Onto this mix of animation and live-action has been larded considerable sentiment in the form of a subplot involving Sonic’s improbable yearning to belong to a real human family.
As in the original, Sonic is equipped with a satchel of gold rings that enable him to magically transport to different venues and even planets. Thus, at the beginning of the story, he places himself in rural Green Hills, Montana, where he can hide out from the danger of his homeworld.
Sonic, who in this format resembles a tall plush toy, enjoys the quiet, idyllic lifestyle, but he’s lonely. He befriends the local sheriff, Tom (James Marsden), only to become crestfallen when he learns that Tom has accepted a new job as a San Francisco police officer, where he can begin a new life with his fiancee, Maddie (Tika Sumpter).
Through a mishap, Sonic ends up sending his bag of rings to a skyscraper rooftop in the City by the Bay. He can zoom there and back in mere seconds, of course, but prefers the companionship of a long road trip in Tom’s pickup truck. Along the way to a predictable happy ending, he incites a bar fight and is chased by Dr. Robotnick and his flotilla of drones and weaponry.
Director Jeff Fowler and screenwriters Patrick Casey and Josh Miller haven’t given the title character much to do other than speed around — sometimes so fast, he appears to slow down time. This doesn’t exactly constitute original comedy gold, but children should find some level of fascination.
The film contains intense action sequences and a single scatological reference. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
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