‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ reviews: After its CGI makeover, is it a ‘complete delight’ or ‘forgettable’?

The power of visual effects: CGI characters in movie trailers launched memes and drew ridicule last year in both “Cats” and “Sonic the Hedgehog.” The latter, inspired by the video game of the same name, was delayed in order to revise its title character’s design, but it finally opened on Friday, February 14. So what do critics think of the finished product?

Well, compared to “Cats” it’s a resounding success, though that doesn’t mean it’s a critics’ darling. As of this writing it has a MetaCritic score of 47 based on 35 reviews counted thus far: 13 positive, 15 somewhat mixed, and 7 outright negative. That’s not such a bad spread considering that video game movies are often considered outright failures. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, the film actually has a positive freshness rating of 65% based on 99 reviews counted, 35 of which give it a thumbs down.

Rotten Tomatoes rates reviews as simply positive or negative, as opposed to MetaCritic, which uses a nuanced sliding scale from 0 to 100. The fact that the RT score is higher indicates that many critics lean towards the positive, but that even the positive reviews tend to be pretty mixed. The RT critics’ consensus says, “Fittingly fleet and frequently fun, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ is a video game-inspired adventure the whole family can enjoy — and a fine excuse for Jim Carrey to tap into the manic energy that launched his career.”

Indeed, the film is being praised for its “smart humor” and “snappy dialogue.” It’s a “complete delight” full of “great family-friendly fun.” Carrey is “almost worth the price of admission by himself” and the villainous Dr. Robotnik. And Ben Schwartz, voicing the title character, “brings just the right amount of childlike energy.” Then again, it’s also being described as “uninventive,” some of the jokes “just don’t work,” and “the finished product is, by and large, forgettable.” Still, considering the reception “Cats” got, it could’ve been a lot worse.

Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow movie fans here in our forums.

Yolanda Machado (The Wrap): “Count me as one of the chorus of people who, when the ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie was announced, rolled my eyes and exclaimed, ‘No one asked for this!’ And yet, here I sit completely eating my words, because that movie with the weird VFX re-do that inspired some rather harsh memes turns out to be a complete delight, offering some really great family-friendly fun.”

Kristen Page-Kirby (Washington Post): “‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ may have one moment of flatulence, but this hybrid of live-action and CGI animation gets away with it, otherwise bypassing the all-too-common cheap laughs for a story that’s loaded with smart humor, snappy dialogue and the big blue heart beating at its center.”

Molly Freeman (ScreenRant): “‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ offers a kid-friendly adventure movie based on the classic Sega property that tells a solidly enjoyable, if uninventive story … However, there are times when [Sonic and Tom] don’t necessarily click and the jokes just don’t work, but it’s largely down to the script, which could have used a little punching up, especially on some of the one-liners.”

Amon Warmann (Empire): “While the new look is a big improvement, the finished product is, by and large, forgettable. It’s all the more frustrating given that its hero and villain are note perfect. Schwartz brings just the right amount of childlike energy to Sonic to make his fast-talking tendencies endearing instead of irritating, and Carrey is almost worth the price of admission by himself as the moustache-twirling Robotnik.”

Be sure to vote today for our Gold Derby decade awards featuring the best of the best from 2010 to 2019. You can keep changing your ballot as often as you like until the event closes on February 21. All 1,500 candidates you’ll see across 22 categories were nominees at either the Oscars, annual Gold Derby Film Awards or both. And join in the fun debate over these contenders taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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