This morning, Paramount released the first trailer for its live-action film adaptation of the video game character Sonic the Hedgehog. But the star of the show was not the iconic, super-fast blue mammal. It was Jim Carrey, whose zany performance looks like a mash-up of all his goofiest comedy roles from the 1990s.
Carrey got his start in 1990 on the sketch comedy series In Living Color. After that, he quickly became one of America’s most popular comedic actors, starring in The Ace Ventura series, Dumb and Dumber, The Mask, The Cable Guy, Liar Liar, and as the villain the Riddler in Batman Forever—all between 1994 and 1997. Since then, he has proven he can do dramatic roles too (he’s especially good in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and more recently in the Showtime series Kidding), but he has never really been able to shed his association with slapstick, gross-out humor.
In Sonic the Hedgehog, however, Carrey fully embraces his old comedic identity. He plays Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik, a mad scientist who becomes Sonic’s archenemy. The character’s defining traits in the video game series are his egg-shaped body, large mustache, and pince-nez glasses.
Behold, the return of 1990s Carrey:
Enjoy his Hunter-Thompson-meets-Terry-Gilliam aesthetic:
Bask in his incomparably wacky grooming:
As for the rest of the trailer—and the titular character—viewers were less impressed. Quartz tech editor Mike Murphy likened it to another video-game adaptation, Super Mario Bros., considered today to be one of the worst movies ever made.
Much of the criticism has surrounded Sonic’s creature design. He is both furry and weirdly, unsettlingly muscular—a combination created specifically to haunt your nightmares. Some also expressed disgust at Sonic’s human-like teeth. Sonic is voiced and motion-captured by actor Ben Schwartz, while all other characters in the film are real people. Executive producer Tim Miller told IGN last year that in order to integrate an animated Sonic into our real world, he had to look like that.
Just like the truly cursed image of the genie in Disney’s upcoming live-action Aladdin film, Sonic the Hedgehog suggests that some cartoon characters should probably stay as cartoons. But at least 1990s-era Jim Carrey is there to keep us distracted.