There’s a serious problem with video games being turned into movies. Has anyone noticed that they never work? Yet for some reason these adaptations keep being made, despite the fact that games simply aren’t suited for this type of medium.
You see, video games are interactive entertainment, whereas movies are not. Movies are about stories, and video games (for the most part) are not. So when a video game gets turned into a movie, you lose the interactive element, the part that makes the game entertaining, and you gain hours worth of new story: the boring part. Very few people play a game for the story – especially with something like Sonic the Hedgehog, which has a simple “plot”, if it can even be called that, and instead focuses (as it should) on running around different themed levels and collecting points. The layout of a game, however, does not and cannot work for a movie – so instead of challenging themselves, the filmmakers decide to simply throw out everything that made the game special to fans, except for a few sound effects and minuscule hints, while focusing their attention on crafting a generic story that can be called Sonic the Hedgehog if it loosely employs some of the game’s characters and logo.
It doesn’t work like that, though, and they know it. Trying to give Sonic a new plot so that it can appeal to mainstream audiences is a faulty strategy – it’s an affront to the fans, and it’s unlikely to capture much attention from the general public considering that another movie featuring a human teaming up with a feisty animal sidekick is already about to hit theaters – that being Detective Pikachu, which actually knows how to make the inaccessibly deep Pokemon mythology easy for audiences to understand and enjoy, at least based on the overwhelmingly positive reactions to that movie’s trailers. Meanwhile Sonic finds itself in an unenviable position where its official trailer has, as of this writing, 47 thousand likes on YouTube – and 47 thousand dislikes.
There’s really not that much to say about the trailer itself, because it looks even more one-dimensional than the original game. Sonic the Hedgehog somehow ends up in the modern world (because, why not?), and teams up with James Marsden to defeat Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey, how low you’ve sunk). Sonic looks and sounds like a cheap knock-off Pikachu – but much less adorable, much less unique, and much less relateable. In an attempt to make the 1990’s Sega game accessible to modern audiences, Paramount has committed a huge mistake.
And so we’re left wondering how this video-game/movie chimera could have been avoided, if the film had hearkened back to its roots as a somewhat cheesy and simplistic game that didn’t take itself too seriously: they could have even used old-fashioned pixelated special effects to capture that style, or sent James Marsden into a Sega console so we could see him work his way out through the game. But, seriously, changing the Paramount stars to gold rings is the best they can do?
Trailer Rating: 4/10