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Sega’s mascot Sonic The Hedgehog is finally getting his own movie, and it’s safe to say there are quite a few folks worried about it. Granted, it sounds like things are on the right track with Ben Schwartz voicing Sonic and Jim Carrey portraying Dr. Robotnik, but it takes more than great casting to make a good video game movie. If it didn’t, Doom may be remembered as a masterpiece, and it’s almost universally not.
So what makes a great video game movie? There’s no explicit formula, but it’s fair to say sticking to the source material more often than not will make people happy. That’s a bit complicated considering the Sonic franchise has changed quite a bit since its first game, and not always in ways consumers have appreciated. In spite of that, should the movie contain these types of references to the franchise, Sonic The Hedgehog fans will be satisfied.
Music From The Sega Genesis Era
The early Sonic The Hedgehog games feature some of the best videogame music of the '90s. Green Hill Zone, Emerald Hill Zone, basically all the "Zones" from the first and second games have iconic songs the movie should include. Whether it’s a phone ringtone, a song on the radio or an orchestral track doesn’t matter. We may get something even better as the prolific Junkie XL could craft quite the homage to Sonic's tracks.
Of all the things the Sonic The Hedgehog movie should include from the video games, this is definitely the most important. It’s fair to assume many ticket holders will show up for the nostalgia factor, and what better way than to hit them with the ear-worms they jammed out to while playing their Sega Genesis and blasting through bottles of Kool-aid Jammers? Did we get older, or was there always never enough juice in those things?
Sonic The Hedgehog may be the most important character of the franchise, but he's not the only one folks love. There's his sidekick Tails, who's been with Sonic since Sonic The Hedgehog 2, and other iconic characters like Knuckles and Amy. That just scratches the surface of this universe really, and doesn't even get into the Chao, Blaze or the gun-wielding anti-hero Shadow The Hedgehog. If Shadow doesn't get introduced, how can we have a gritty spin off?
I kid, mainly, although it will be a bit weird if Sonic The Hedgehog only has Sonic as the sole speedy thing rushing around. So far, there's been no mention of any other of Sonic's friends, so this may just be a solo adventure where friends could come into the picture in latter installments. Or, this could be a case where the film pulls a Super Mario Bros. and make bastardizations of the iconic characters. We just don't know yet!
Sonic didn't speak in his first set of video game adventures, but his television show and games that followed have made him out to be a bit of a smart-ass. Not so much that he's some massive douchebag, but kind of in a way that feels very reminiscent of Bart Simpson. If Sonic The Hedgehog wants to stay true to Sonic's character, there needs to be some overconfidence and smart-ass behavior incorporated.
It appears there will be some of that, at least if one interprets comments by Jim Carrey about the film that way. He assured there will be some edgy moments that appeal to all audiences, although was speaking primarily to his character. He also mentioned the family group the movie is catered to, which speaks to the PG rating. Honestly, that's a good wheelhouse for the character, and he can have that "edge" without it being too cringe-inducing.
Massive And Elaborate Robots
Dr. Ivo Robotnik is known for robots and fights Sonic with them throughout the franchise. The creations he pilots may not be the best quality, but they're certainly big, elaborate and fun to look at. Typically Sonic can destroy these with a handful of jumps, or via some weak spot on the robot. He has the design methods of Star Wars: Rogue One's Galen Erso, except he's not secretly wishing Sonic destroys his evil machines.
The ideal creation is some robot that has Robotnik chilling in a glass dome and some form of retractable drills. Robotnik really loves the massive drills, almost as much as he loves loading up every machine with an escape pod that always keeps him out of Sonic's clutches once the fight is over. If one mega robot shows up with either or both of these attributes, I know I'll be a happy camper.
Gold rings are perhaps the only thing as synonymous with Sonic The Hedgehog than the character himself. They're the game's form of health, and Sonic collects them throughout levels in order to stay alive after being hit. Should he be hit without any rings on him, he loses a life. Will Sonic The Hedgehog pay homage to this vital game mechanic in some way?
If it does, I'm reasonably certain it won't be shown in a way in which Sonic is collecting a bunch of rings randomly floating around. Perhaps rings are the currency of this world, and we'll see them in some micro form being exchanged for goods. If that were the case, it'd be cool to see Sonic obsessively collect these and then lose them all when he takes a big hit.
Cute And Furry Animals
The casual video gamer may not have known or cared why there were so many cute and furry little animals locked away at the end of each classic Sonic The Hedgehog game, but knowing why explains a lot of the tension between Sonic and Dr. Robotnik. Dr. Robotnik uses the little animals to fuel his robots he creates, which is why they also pop out of enemies when Sonic smashes them.
We have no idea of whether or not that plot thread will be used in Sonic The Hedgehog, but it would be the traditional way to establish Dr. Robotnik as a villain in the movie. After all, who is going to side with a guy enslaving adorable animals within machines for energy? It's actually way more twisted than the games led on the longer one thinks about it, so hopefully the movie uses this plot point in some way.
Sonic The Hedgehog is due to release Friday, November 8. Those interested in the movie can feel free to share their suggestions for what should be in the movie below, or chime in on how they think this movie will be received by audiences.