Sonic the Hedgehog is racing back into theaters on February 14, 2020, and the review embargo has lifted for the Blue Blur’s latest adventure.
While many claim it to be a bit unimaginative, critics have praised Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik and how it allows him to channel some of his greatest performances from the ’90s. Also, there are a ton of Easter Eggs and things to find for those fans of the franchise, while also offering a fun, family adventure for all.
IGN’s own 7-score review of Sonic the Hedgehog by Akeen Lawanson says that “While this family-friendly action-comedy suffers from a simplistic story and leans too heavily on tired visual cliches, Sonic the Hedgehog is nevertheless boosted by solid performances from Ben Schwartz as Sonic and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. Their ongoing cat-and-mouse game is entertaining, and passionate fans of the Sega franchise should appreciate all the nods to Sonic’s history.”
Here’s our roundup of the first critic reviews for Sonic the Hedgehog.
The Hollywood Reporter
“While Fowler keeps the story moving efficiently, Marsden’s easy geniality prevents the simple narrative from feeling rote. Carrey gets a moment or two to cut loose — an evil-genius happy-dance in his lab will likely be mimicked by young viewers on the way out of the theater. But the actor’s adult fans may hope he’s not as ready to commit to a sequel as closing scenes suggest. Better to cast about looking for the next strange vehicle, like Kidding, than to clown around for a generation of viewers who weren’t born when Ace Ventura came out. Leave it to the made-of-pixels hedgehog to keep racing around the same track year after year and pretending it’s new.” – John DeFore (Source)
The New York Times
“Indeed, other than product placement, the movie’s primary goal seems to be delivering 1990s nostalgia. To that end, Jim Carrey gives his most spry, “Ace Ventura”-like performance in years as the know-it-all villain, Dr. Robotnik. Only his physical and verbal contortions (“I was spitting out formulas while you were spitting up formula”) make the film feel remotely animated.” – Ben Kenigsberg (Source)
“A review like this one should probably come with a disclaimer: For all the borderline tedium I felt at “Sonic the Hedgehog,” I do realize this is a picture made for 8-year-olds. And they’ll probably like it just fine. Yet I would also call the overly kiddified tone of the movie a mistake. The protesters who rallied for the changes in Sonic’s design by treating it as a line-in-the-sand issue, thereby demonstrating at least one reason why Donald Trump will probably be re-elected (we now have a generation that thinks this is a cause), were not 8-year-olds. As a movie hero, Sonic could (and should) have been hipper and sharper, less megaplex arrested. Even as they fixed his face, the filmmakers strove so hard to make him “likable” that they never figured out a way to make him cool.” – Owen Gleiberman (Source)
GameSpot – 8/10
“As video game adaptations go, Sonic the Hedgehog is among the stronger ones. It’s smart enough to stand on its own, making use of longstanding aspects of Sega’s supersonic mascot and his franchise, while making sure that what really shines through are its characters. That restraint goes a long way to making Sonic the Hedgehog a light, funny movie, and while it definitely skews young, longtime Sonic fans should have just as much fun finally seeing the Blue Blur on the big screen.” – Phil Hornshaw (Source)
New York Post – 3/4 Stars
“Carrey is back in peak comedic form playing the villainous Dr. Robotnik in “Sonic the Hedgehog,” a pleasant new family film based on the old Sega video game. If the title makes you wince, know the movie is a lot better than it deserves to be. You’ll actually care about what happens to the prickly blue dude, even if you never cared about getting to zone seven. – Johnny Oleksinski (Source)
The Washington Post – 3/4 Stars
“There are a couple of misses: It’s probably time to retire the Queen song “Don’t Stop Me Now” as the Official Tune of Action Montages. And we could do with one fewer Sonic-is-so-fast-that-everyone-else-looks-frozen-in-place scene. Fans of the video games will find a host of allusions, but there’s plenty to please any moviegoer who can’t tell a Sega from a Switch. In the end, “Sonic” is quippy without being mean, and sweet without being sappy, making this a trip that’s well worth taking.” – Kristen Page-Kirby (Source)
Collider – C
“Sadly, the rest of Sonic the Hedgehog doesn’t share the manic energy that Sonic and Robotnik bring to the picture. They’re off in something that’s sillier and goofier, but the overall movie demands that they play by the beats of a standard buddy picture/road trip comedy. That formula is fine for what it is, and it gets the job done here, but I wish the filmmakers had taken a bigger, more imaginative swing than settling for just using the Sonic IP, stuffing him into a one-size-fits-all narrative, and calling it a day.” – Matt Goldberg (Source)
“The entire cast knows what film they’re in, providing the perfect blend of energy and charm needed to sell this wacky story about a little blue alien hedgehog. But I couldn’t contain my glee at watching Jim Carrey operate in peak early-’90s form. Robotnik is definitely a villain, but you can spot elements of “Ace Ventura” and “The Mask” whipped into this tech-savvy, egotistical, psychopath. There’s a dance sequence to “Where Evil Grows” that shows off Carrey’s genius.” – Yolanda Machado (Source)
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USA Today – 2/4 Stars
“It’s like Sonic got stuck somewhere between hand-drawn “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” territory and the photorealistic “Lion King” animals, though there are some eye-popping sequences with him doing his speed-demon thing, especially a chase between Sonic and Robotnik that hits various international landmarks and uses the Great Wall of China as a racetrack. The film is fine, familiar fare for gamers and children: Sonic sprints, Carrey mugs, but the creative juices run out quickly.” – Brian Truitt (Source)
CinemaBlend – 3.5/5 Stars
“Rather than throwing the audience into an inter-dimensional adventure straight away, the buddy comedy that Ben Schwartz and James Marsden engage in, with Jim Carrey chasing them at every turn, feels like a classic blockbuster adventure rather than a hard edged “extreme” version that’s trying so hard to play to the kids. This video game movie does what others don’t. Playing in a sandbox that wears its heart on its sleeve, but isn’t afraid to go big and goofy, this is a starter film that has its eyes on the future, but doesn’t forget to do the job right in the here and now.” – Mike Reyes (Source)
“The bottom line is not every piece of intellectual property really has the heft to merit such big-screen treatment, and if there was a way to build a viable cinematic franchise around the game, this doesn’t feel like it. Sonic the Hedgehog might move like a bolt of lightning once his feet start flying, but even with the orthodontia done to correct his chompers, the movie bearing his name still goes nowhere, fast.” – Brian Lowry (Source)
The Guardian – 2/5 Stars
“Sonic the Hedgehog’s big Hollywood entrance was swiftly followed by undignified retreat last year, when the first trailer for this movie prompted online reactions of ridicule, puzzlement and horror at its CGI star’s unsettlingly creepy appearance. The cast of Cats were adorably cuddly by comparison. Now, after a quick redesign, the speedy video-game character is back: less weird-looking, more overtly cartoonish, ready to tear out of the uncanny valley and into our hearts. By the looks of it, though, they should have spent longer in the workshop. Few but diehard fans and young children will be charmed by this predictable, derivative caper.” – Steve Rose (Source)
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