Opinion: Could Sonic The Hedgehog be the first great video game movie? Don’t hold your breath…

By Edward Howard.

Lately, the trailer for the Sonic The Hedgehog movie has been released (which you can view here), of which is based on the very successful and culturally important eponymous video game series of the same name, of which is set to be released on Boxing Day 2019 in the United Kingdom. So, is this finally going to be the great video game movie that breaks the long-dreaded curse of terrible films based on such material?

Well… don’t hold your breath. If the trailer is anything to go by, it looks like we should be more in worry than hope when it comes to the latest adventures of the blue hedgehog on the silver screen. And no, this isn’t about solely the design, of which has been rightly criticised by many people for not correctly resembling the character they’re adapting well at all(even if the lengths that the producers went to pandering to fans on this issue makes me slightly nervous about the mob mentality of a good chunk of film fans these days – the Nolanites anyone?). The movie, by the trailer’s indications at least, has far bigger problems than the specific design of one character or another.

My feelings towards the trailer can be summed up as thus: a movie based on a popular 90s video game franchise that everybody loves? Jim Carrey taking up a major role? Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio of all songs being the background music? Is this a dreadful 1990s movie that has subsequently been forgotten by society at large because of how bad and unremarkable it was? No. Rather embarrassingly, it’s a film of which is going to be released in 2019 and looks extremely dead on arrival. These features, in particular, make the film look already dated by nearly three decades now, and while I understand that 90s nostalgia is all the rage these days, there is surely a limit to this sort of stuff.

Those features are not the only aspects of which make this upcoming movie look terribly dated. Given its reliance on a plotline which seems to centre on the typical fish out of water story, whereby in this case a character either from a fictional world or otherwise tries to make it in the real world with his slackee side character (often of who isn’t very bright for the sake of cheap and usually unfunny comedy), seems to be very reminiscent (in a bad way) of the various other terrible 2000s and early 2010s movies with this same plot (the like of 2004’s Fat Albert and 2011’s Hop spring to mind). The fact that they rely on actors who had their heyday in the 2000s and now look out of place (like Jim Carrey and James Marsden) emphasises this point further. It’s undoubtedly the poorest fit for any video game movie since Capcom tried to make their Street Fighter series more realistic and Batman Begins-lite in 2009’s Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li. Well, that or their allowing of director Paul W. S. Anderson to dumb down Resident Evil from an innovative survival horror video game series to a dumb action series in his eponymous film series.

And while I did mention that I’d hate to nitpick about designs of characters, what on earth is Jim Carrey doing as Dr Robotnik/Eggman in this trailer? Up until the last few seconds of the trailer, where the character actually bothers to look like the character he’s meant to be, he looks less like Dr. Eggman, and more like a bizarre cross between Inspector Clouseau and Enoch Powell at best, and at worst, it looks like Carrey is attempting to recall the days when he was playing the Riddler in Batman Forever. Well, I guess that’s better than advocating socialism on Bill Maher’s show, being potentially imprisoned for crimes related to the suicide of his ex-girlfriend, or being a sad has-been whose over-the-top antics were arguably (at least for people like myself) never that funny to begin with.

And it’s not like those involved in the making of the film inspire much in confidence either. The producer Neal H. Moritz is proudly boosted by the marketing as the producer of The Fast And The Furious (that among another slock) and his director and writers are no-names and first-timers, indicating that they were only hired as they would do the studio’s vapid bidding.

Now, I’d hate to be completely negative, but this trailer inspires anything but confidence. I would love for a video game movie to be great; the only half-decent one was 1995’s Mortal Kombat and even then it’s only entertaining as 90s cheese, as much as Commando was so as 80s cheese. Other attempts have tanked badly to point whereby naming the various failures is next to pointless, and even films that are inspired by video games (like 2010’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and 2011’s Sucker Punch) have been equally as average and disappointing in their own ways.

I’d love for a video game movie to be great and break the cycle at long last. It’s especially because in this case, it relates to a property that I have particularly fond memories of (Sonic Heroes FTW), as I’m certain many of you do too. However, it’s clear from both the promotional material so far and the controversy it’s inspired, that Sonic The Hedgehog isn’t it, and by the looks of things is going to be so bad that rubbish Sonic creepypasta short stories (like the infamous Sonic.exe)are going to be the likes of Citizen Kane next to it.

I would love to be wrong. But who knows?

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Opinion: Could Sonic The Hedgehog be the first great video game movie? Don’t hold your breath…