I like movies. I watch a lot of them. But I also like video games. I both like playing as well as watching others play them. Since you’re on this site, there’s a good chance you like those two things as well. So, if you’re like me, I bet you’ve been very disappointed with movie adaptations of video game properties. It just seems like the folks making films don’t get why video games are entertaining as they like to make so many unnecessary changes to the plots.
It almost seems like it’s mandated that they have to overcomplicate the plots found in video games. Is it really so hard to make a slow paced horror film where a group of policemen and women are trapped in a mansion and they have to face a horde of zombies? Why did they have to make the Resident Evil franchise some weird action packed film that strips out the horror and replaces it with over-the-top stunts and special effect, like having Alice, who doesn’t even appear in the games perform a flying spin kick to a leaping, zombified dog?
But things have started to get better, slowly but surely. At the very least, film versions of our favorite video games have started making concerted efforts to at least follow the original plots as told in those games that we played. Assassin’s Creed may not have been a fantastic film by any stretch of the imagination. But they did try to follow the plot. The computer animated CGI Warcraft movie tried to cram as many video game plot points in the movie and, well, the film’s story buckled under the weight. But at least they tried!
Then we have the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog film.
Most people are focused on the nightmare inducing look of this CGI abomination that is supposed to be the fastest thing alive. I fell into that trap myself early on, but after watching the trailer again and ignoring how terrible SEGA’s mascot looks (it was much more difficult than you would think!), there’s something much worse than Sonic’s design. In fact, I would say that the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie is going to set back video game movies a whole lot!
First off, the plot seems so… generic. Not that there’s anything wrong with generic, mind you. There are a lot of movies and television series that are generic as all hell. But Sonic the Hedgehog is generic and doesn’t try to take any risks. From the trailer, the plot seems to be that Sonic and Dr. Robotnic/Eggman find their way to the “real world.” Of course, Dr. Robotnic/Eggman will try to rule the world and even tricks the government to thinking that Sonic is an enemy. It’s going to be up to Sonic and his new human ally to save the world.
Haven’t I seen this before? Oh, hell yeah! I’ve seen this in Rocky and Bullwinkle and the Smurfs! And those movies were terrible! You know how I know they’re bad movies? Because I watched them when I was a kid and even then, I wasn’t impressed! Why would I want to watch that? What I wanted to watch was an animated film featuring, oh, I don’t know, Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Smurfs! I didn’t care for the antics of the human character, most specifically, they’re new found ally in the “real world” because I didn’t know them!
There are some movies that do the “sucked into the real world” trope right, though. Space Jam comes to mind. Yes, it’s a dumb film and I knew the Mon-Stars would never be featured again. Yet the movie drew me in because I know who Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and most of the other NBA stars (I forget who the tall white guy is. Sorry, fans of that tall, white guy) and I cared for what was going to happen to them. They also felt like they belonged in the story as the story affected them. Another movie that gets it right is Enchanted. Why? Because, although it’s live-action, they’re still following the typical Disney Princess tropes and poking fun at it.
More importantly, both Space Jam and Enchanted took some risks and changed things around. Instead of the Looney Tunes being sucked into our world, it was Michael Jordan who got sucked into theirs. In Enchanted, everyone had a story arc to follow. The Princess didn’t want to be a damsel in distress so she took things into her own hands… while still performing a stunning musical number now and again. Why she isn’t a legit Disney Princess, I’ll never know!
Of course, there is still a chance that the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog will break the mold and do something different as well. But, from what I’ve seen in the trailer so far, that’s unlikely. They’re going to do something extremely safe and make it a kid friendly movie… which is actually kind of weird since the people who grew up playing Sonic the Hedgehog are most probably adults now!
There’s nothing wrong with targeting the children demographic with a video game movie. But I don’t think that exactly works for Sonic the Hedgehog. From what I understand, one of the reasons why Sonic was a big hit was SEGA’s branding. Yes, the games were cool but SEGA marketed themselves to be the “cool” video game console of the time. There was the entire “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” slogan and the sleek black design of the SEGA Genesis to set it apart from Nintendo’s rather reserved look. Also, SEGA published some rather, shall we say, “colorful” games for the time on its systems. You can play the superior version of Mortal Kombat on the Super Nintendo… but you won’t get the pixelated and bloody Fatality finishing moves! You can only get that on SEGA’s console… because “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” indeed!
The Sonic the Hedgehog looks so childish, so unlike the “radical” image that SEGA pushed during its heyday. The trailer doesn’t make him come off as cool. Even that scene with the missiles coming at him and it seems like time stopped because he’s so fast looks groan-worthy and something only a kid would find funny.
There is one thing that I saw in the trailer that I liked. That thing is Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik/Eggman. However, that’s not because he’s doing a pitch perfect impression of the video game character. I mean, in the video game, he’s a perpetually angry fat guy who yells a lot. Jim Carrey’s version of Dr. Robotnik/Eggman is him doing Jim Carrey. And I mean the old/classic Jim Carrey as seen in Ace Ventura, Liar Liar and The Mask! Say what you will about his overacting, it’s still funny to me!
But that’s kind of the problem. I will only watch the Sonic the Hedgehog movie because I want to see Jim Carrey’s antics. I have no care for Sonic because he doesn’t have the charm from the video games nor the plot because it looks like, as Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik/Eggman says, it’s “basic.” And this is a problem, not just with the movie, but for all video game movies. Once again, they’re making a film based on a video game and tossing out the plot and the story out for a rehash of yesteryear. We’re returning to the age when they didn’t give a crap about making a good video game movie and just sticking an old script and kicking out the plot which fans actually care deeply about. The movie could’ve been all about Dr. Robotnik/Eggman doing what he does best, which is capturing little creatures and collecting gems while Sonic does his job by using his uncanny speed to overcome all obstacles to free his friends.
What makes this even more terrible is that Sonic the Hedgehog could’ve been another film that took video game movies seriously and tried to make the genre better. Instead, we’re going to have another bad video game movie. That sucks.
On a side note, I’m glad they’re going to fix Sonic’s look. Because it’s current look will probably give little kids nightmares!
Will you go see the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie? Let me know in the comments section below!