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Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic The Hedgehog- Kang Masseo (Flickr)

Sonic and the curse of video game movies

Did you watch the first trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie? I bet you wish you hadn’t. Last week, Paramount had released the trailer which has since reached more than 1.3 million views and has been met with almost universal ridicule and criticism, and it isn’t hard to see why.

For those unfamiliar with Sonic the Hedgehog, it is a hugely popular video game franchise, created in 1991 by Sega, who had hoped that their anthropomorphic hedgehog would match the success of their rival, Nintendo’s Mario series. While Sonic is almost as iconic as Mario, the quality of the Sonic the Hedgehog games have been…inconsistent.

Still, Sonic receiving a big-budget live-action movie adaptation wasn’t a complete surprise, but the reveal of Sonic’s character design for the movie was met with a lukewarm response at best. Why does he look so furry? Why does he have white hands as opposed to his famous Mickey Mouse-style gloves? Why are his eyes so small? These were but a few of the concerns that fans had. Little did we know that things could get worse with the trailer release.

With Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ playing in the background (for some reason…), the trailer not only shows us the true horror of Sonic’s redesign, but also shows just how jarring a human-sized blue hedgehog looks alongside actual human beings. The movie appears to have nothing to do with the original game series aside from a few characters.

If you’ve been watching video game movies for a while now, you were probably expecting this. Movies based on video games have a reputation of being terrible. There have been many attempts but very little success. Adapting a video game into a movie is inherently difficult; after all, you’re losing the interactivity and substantial run-time of the video game when you convert it into a movie. Also, it doesn’t help that the directors, screenwriters and script editors of these movies don’t seem to have much of an understanding of the original games.

Alas, it seems that the Sonic the Hedgehog movie is yet another misfire. You could argue that it should have been expected, but 2018 saw Tomb Raider and Rampage receive some, though not overwhelming, positive reception. The director, Jeff Fowler, has now promised that Sonic’s character design will be changed, but the flaws in this movie appear deeper than mere aesthetics.

It’s a shame that this disaster had to happen to Sonic as he is already something of a meme within the gaming community due to the series’ varying quality over the last thirty years. After all, one of his most absurd adventures features him falling in love with a human princess who stands at twice his height, in another he has to break out of prison and there’s that weird one in which he turns into a ‘were-hog’ (some monstrous cross between a werewolf and a hedgehog).

After looking at the previous game concepts, maybe this movie doesn’t seem so ridiculous after all.

About Rachel Hughes

Rachel Hughes is a third year History student at the University of Reading.

One comment

  1. sarah.maqbool@outlook.com'

    Well said, to be honest video games make terrible movies for 1 main reason and that’s because it simply doesn’t work from a 3rd person narrative. It flips everything upside down and leaves big gaping holes that are filled in poorly.

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