Movie Preview: “Sonic The Hedgehog” A “Gangster’s Paradise” or Another Video Game Movie Bomb?

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

After many years in development, a live-action film adaptation of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” video game series will be released February 14, 2020. Originally set for release under Sony Pictures, the film is now set to be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

The film’s plot is a loose adaptation of the video game series: the titular Sonic the Hedgehog (voice of Ben Schwartz, TV’s “Parks and Recreation”) must stop Dr. Ivo Eggman (Jim Carrey) from wreaking havoc with an army of killer robots. He reluctantly teams up with a human police officer (James Marsden, “X-Men” series) in order to use a series of golden power rings to stop Eggman and elude a faction of paranoid military officers.

While not the worst kind of creative liberties taken with a beloved video game, the project has been the subject of highly divisive reactions from fans; reaching a fever pitch after the first trailer was released on YouTube. Much of the criticism has fallen on the common story beats the film follows, as well as a visual aesthetic that only bears a small link to the video game series. The production values recall the likes of the infamous 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” movie as well as the live-action “Scooby-Doo” films that saw release in the early 2000s.

Though Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Dr. Eggman has been viewed as one bright spot, the title character has been one of the main targets for criticism and mockery. The more humanized body type and uncanny facial expressions were roundly panned as straying too far from the original concept; with the character only being recognizable as Sonic from his blue hair and red running shoes.

More game-accurate designs for Sonic previously appeared in the “Wreck-it Ralph” films and “Ready Player One”, and the widespread backlash has caused the filmmakers to announce the character will be redesigned as a result of the angered feedback from many fans. “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” cinematographer John Mathieson and “Sonic” series creator Yuji Naka are among the more prominent detractors of the film’s visual style.

Even if it remains to be seen how the movie itself will fare, it’s clear that the live-action film adaptation of “Sonic the Hedgehog” will have much to overcome before its theatrical release. Unless the film can move past these setbacks, however; it might be less of a “gangster’s paradise” and more like another video game movie bomb.

Story by Steven Pryor

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