Sonic the Hedgehog movie: Critics put the brakes on

image source, Paramount Pictures
image captionSonic the Hedgehog is on the run from the US government

The reviews are in for the new-and-improved Sonic the Hedgehog movie, and the critics have been getting their (human) teeth stuck in.

The trailer was out last May, but Sonic went back to the drawing board after fans reacted badly to how he looked.

Variety said he "has been redesigned to satisfy fans, but no-one figured out how to make him as fun as he is fast".

And IndieWire declared that "fixing Sonic's terrifying face hasn't made this movie any less of a nightmare".

image source, Paramount Pictures
image captionJim Carrey's Dr Robotnik is described as "more fun and far more animated" than Sonic

Jim Carrey plays Dr Robotnik, who - as well as the US government - is chasing the supersonic Sega hedgehog, portrayed in voice and facial motion capture by Ben Schwartz.

The Guardian gave the film two stars, noting how "dastardly Jim Carrey gives Sonic the blues".

The paper's critic Steve Rose wrote: "Carrey's moustache-twirling villain is more fun and far more animated than the charmless hero in this derivative caper."

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The Telegraph was similarly unenthused. "The video game speed freak [is] slowed down to a drab, joyless crawl," wrote Robbie Collin.

Before he was a movie star, Sonic first appeared as a thrill-seeking Sega video game character in the early-90s.

The New York Times concluded that the "Sega adaptation hedges its bets". Ben Kenigsberg wrote: "Improvements to Sonic's appearance haven't done much for a generic script."

image source, Paramount Pictures
image captionSonic's teeth before (right) and after

The film finds sheriff Tom Wachowski - portrayed by James Mardsen - befriend Sonic and aid him in his quest to stop Robotnik's world domination.

Some found heart-warming elements to enjoy. "Sonic the Hedgehog is really a buddy comedy about Tom and Sonic," wrote Gamespot's Phil Hornshaw. "And it's at its best when it leans into that dynamic."

He added: "Schwartz is a perfect choice for this version of Sonic, who's a little irreverent and intensely tuned in to American pop culture somehow, but also earnest and upbeat."

"He's too cute not to love," pleaded Dami Lee in The Verge - but with a caveat.

"The new Sonic is so adorable that it almost makes up for a pretty generic plot and a human cast that play the roles of 'heroic' and 'bad' so straight, they could be extras in The Good Place."

Finally, Total Film's writer was pleasantly surprised the movie "exceeds the low expectations it started out with".

"Whether Sonic has the box-office mileage to make it that far remains to be seen, but on the basis of this better-than-expected first instalment, further fast times wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing," wrote Jordan Farley from their Games Radar section.

Sonic the Hedgehog is out on Friday.

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