‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Review: A Sega Adaptation Hedges Its Bets

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Review: A Sega Adaptation Hedges Its Bets

Maybe it’s never too late to tweak a movie — or to try. In December, after “Cats” had opened, the beleaguered musical encountered fresh derision when word spread that Universal was shipping theaters a new version with improved effects.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” didn’t undergo tinkering beyond the 11th hour, but until now, this videogame-to-screen adaptation was best known for having its release delayed to address fans’ reactions to the trailer — specifically, to the way Sonic looked, which suggested that photorealism has its limits when the subject is a spiny blue mammal from space.

Sonic now resembles a cartoon hedgehog instead of a spray-painted marmot. But if anything was done to de-genericize the script, it hasn’t helped. Not that the Sega games — in which the fleet-footed hero zips around doing flips and collecting gold coins (which here encircle the Paramount mountain) — gave the director, Jeff Fowler, much to work with.

Hiding out in a small Montana town, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) leads a solitary existence, using his turbocharged tootsies to give a lift to a traumatized turtle and to play all the positions on a baseball field at once. He fondly spies on the sheriff (James Marsden) and his wife (Tika Sumpter) while they watch “Speed.”

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.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Rated PG. Spiky hedgehog in divey bar. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

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