Time flies when you’re having fun and Sonic The Hedgehog (2020) makes its ninety-nine minutes fly by.

Despite its troubled (and very publicly delayed) journey to the big screen, “Sonic The Hedgehog” has lost none of its momentum as it races in multiplexes with a lot of heart, humour and a rolling-back-the-years performance by Jim Carrey.

Forced to flee his home as a child, Sonic arrives on Earth and makes a life for himself, staying hidden (for the most part) and enjoying the wide-open spaces of Montana. But when he accidentally causes a state-wide blackout, the US Government send their top man – Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to investigate. Sonic’s only hope is the local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) and a madcap cross-country race to San Francisco to retrieve Sonic’s bag of magical portal rings so he can escape the clutches of the mad scientist.

Appropriately, “Sonic The Hedgehog” starts at a brisk pace and never slows down, clipping along through its refreshingly simple story with a breezy and likeable buddy comedy as Marsden once again demonstrates his innate ability to establish an authentic rapport with a CGI sidekick. Whether in the writing or in the editing suite, there’s not much time wasted on side plots and it keeps things nice and simple while its eponymous blue hero or its star name antagonist do their thing. Carey is on superb form here, bringing all of his chaotic nineties energy to bear on the role of the evil Dr Robotnik and striking just the right note of camp menace to make the whole absurd adventure work.

There’s not much about the movie that’s particularly innovative or original – many of the set pieces owe a great deal to the Quicksilver sequences of “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” and “X-Men: Apocalypse” but it makes up for its lack of originality by doing what it does extremely well. It’s a slick, polished piece of entertainment which feels both contemporary and like a long-lost classic of the 1990s, with its small-town main street-set final battle a particularly throwback touch.

I’m no Sonic aficionado, so I probably missed a whole load of Easter Eggs and references in the movie (although I did laugh when ‘Sanic’ made a brief appearance) but there’s no need to know much about the video games to enjoy this appealing family adventure. With the weather the way it is, “Sonic The Hedgehog” offers a ray of sunshine for the half-term holidays.

7/10

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