The good news is that, thanks to hard-working animators, Sonic the Hedgehog no longer looks like nightmare fuel. The bad news? Well, now it doesn't really have any reason to exist. As an adaptation of a video game, it's certainly clearing the low bar set by virtually every one of its predecessors. But it's not truly special enough to transcend that and become something worth recommending.
This character was once popular enough to have not one but two animated series running during my childhood, but do kids today care about a speedy blue hedgehog, especially since Sega's share of the video game market has gone down significantly in the last 25 years? That remains to be seen, and thus it's hard to know exactly who this movie is for. There aren't enough jokes or nostalgic moments for their parents to enjoy either.
Ben Schwartz voices Sonic, a refugee from another planet, hiding out in a quiet Montana town. He of course runs fast, occasionally stopping to creep on sheriff Tom (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter, given less than nothing to do). When he causes a power surge and catches the attention of the U.S. military and Dr. Robotnik (a wonderfully unhinged Jim Carrey), he turns to Tom for help, going on the run and headed toward San Francisco. The road trip stuff is the best part of the film, even if the new friends have a completely contrived disagreement as they near their destination.
There's also some enjoyment to be had when the film feels like a throwback to '90s kids movies, which often had jokes and plot threads that were definitely not for kids. Sonic the Hedgehog features bits about breastfeeding, the surveillance state, and government incompetence, as well as one rowdy bar fight. But these delightful moments are few and far between.
Sonic the Hedgehog certainly earns some points, but it's not enough to level up.