Remind Me SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 opens April 8th
In early 2020, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG proved that a video game movie could be a success by combining elements of the 16-bit franchise on which it was based with new elements, and a hilarious all-star cast. And while Ben Schwartz’s take on the blue speedster was great and should be celebrated at every turn, it was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Sonic’s longtime nemesis Dr. Robotnik that stole the show and made it feel so good to root for someone who was just so dang bad.
With SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 set to open in AMC Theatres around the country on Friday, April 8, now seems like a perfect time to revisit the diabolical Dr. Robotnik and dive into all the reasons Jim Carrey’s portrayal was just so perfect. Let’s take a look at the dashing and chaos emerald obsessive big bad.
Jim Carrey’s Take On The Absurdity Of Dr. Robotnik
There have been some absurd video game villains over the years, with names like Bowser (“Super Mario Bros.”), King K. Rool (“Donkey Kong Country”), and Dr. Neo Cortex (“Crash Bandicoot”) all coming to mind. But the video game antagonist who seems to specialize in absurdity with over-the-top plans and questionable fashion choices is none other than Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik, who has been making Sonic the Hedgehog’s life miserable for over 30 years now. And Jim Carrey captured that masterfully with his scene-stealing performance in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG.
Honestly, it is hard to imagine anyone but Jim Carrey pulling off a feat like this in a live-action movie, and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG is better off because of him. Watch the movie and you’ll see traces of those zany characters from ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE, THE MASK, and even THE CABLE GUY in Carrey’s portrayal of Dr. Robotnik. I mean, the Dr. Robotnik dance scene, which is a masterclass in absurdity, feels like those old clips of Carrey’s stand-up routine where he would rapidfire impressions of Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, and other famous celebrities.
His Portrayal Of The Character’s Darker Side
Even though Jim Carrey is one of the best parts of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and provides for some of the movie’s funniest moments, he is still a psychotic scientist who wants one thing and one thing only: to find Sonic and use his seemingly infinite energy to power his army of machines. There are times throughout the movie where the fun is wiped from Dr. Robotnik’s face to expose a mad scientist who will stop at nothing and not think twice about hurting someone if they get in his way, like James Marsden’s Tom Wachowski who makes the mistake of getting between the robotics expert and supersonic speedster.
This is very similar to Jim Carrey’s portrayal of The Riddler in BATMAN BEGINS in that both characters are portrayed as hyper-intelligent scientists who at first seem like harmless tinkerers only to be revealed to be sinister control freaks with severe narcism and limitless rage once provoked. And this balance between the sinister and absurd sides of the character helps make Dr. Robotnik an interesting character.
Dr. Robotnik’s Drawn-Out Tangents
What would an over-the-top megalomaniacal scientist be without long drawn-out tangents meant to verbally tear down his inferiors while also making him feel better about himself? Well, luckily Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik gives us that not just once in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG but multiple times throughout the movie. We see it for the first time when Dr. Robotnik arrives in Green Hills, Montana, and goes on a rant about the “disparity” between his intelligence and that of an army officer being “too vast to quantify.”
We see this again later on in the movie when Dr. Robotnik confronts Tom Wachowski while searching for Sonic, a scene in which the scientist speeds up and slows down his speech patterns in an extended tangent that both puts down the small town sheriff about “playing in a jug band” while also making the egotistical madman feel better about himself. This interaction is followed up by an equally amazing rant after Tom and Sonic escape where in one breath Dr. Robotnik explains his backstory and how he got back at a school bully years earlier.
The Way In Which Dr. Robotnik Lost All Touch With Reality
The downward spiral of Dr. Robotnik is honestly one of the best parts of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and one aspect of the movie I love exploring with each rewatch. When we first meet the character he is a brilliant yet socially-inept scientist with some kind of superiority complex that makes him verbally assault anyone in his path. But once he finds Sonic’s quill and becomes obsessed with the power it beholds, he begins the not-so-slow march towards insanity. Over the course of the movie, Dr. Robotnik’s demeanor changes, his attire takes a bizarre turn, and his mustache becomes more in line with the video game version of the character.
This feels a lot like Jim Carrey’s characters in THE CABLE GUY and BATMAN BEGINS in the sense that all three lose what little touch they had left with reality by the time everything is said and done. This all leads to that amazing ending sequence where it is revealed Dr. Robotnik is not only still alive on a distant planet but still in possession of Sonic’s quill and his obsession with the wise-cracking hero.
Jim Carrey Looked Amazing As Dr. Robotnik
I will be the first to admit I wasn’t initially the biggest fan of Jim Carrey’s look in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG when I first saw trailers a few years back, but after watching the movie a few times since it was released I have come to love the film’s portrayal of Dr. Robotnik, especially as the character begins to shed what humanity is left in him and takes on a look similar to the original video games. And we get there through great character development that comes along the way.
By the end of the movie when Dr. Robotnik is shaving his head, has the unkempt mustache, and is wearing those iconic goggles, the character looks just like the version we first met in the first Sonic game in 1991.
Judging by the trailers so far, it looks like we’ll see more of this crazier side of Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik when SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 opens in AMC Theatres Friday, April 8.
Remind Me SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 opens April 8th