When it was announced that there was going to be a film based on Sonic the Hedgehog, that cocksure spiny mammal that so delighted kids of the 90s with his blistering video games, I wasn’t exactly awash with optimism.
Poor old Sonic has been through the wringer since his 1990s heyday, starring in some insipid games and even more bewildering animated series. Save for a couple of highlights, there has been a growing feeling that maybe it’s time to put poor old Sonic out of his misery.
Of course, that isn’t likely to happen. After all Sonic is an 800 million selling superstar, despite his travails, and there is still some of that Sega magic left in there somewhere. So here we are, with a new movie --starring Jim Carrey and James Marsden, no less-- looking to propel our fleet-footed pal back into the limelight. The first trailer certainly did that.
In many ways, it is a work of extraordinary genius. A trailer so appalling, incongruous and baffling that it is guaranteed to give the watcher a headache. It has been plucked from my nightmares, soundtracked by Gangsta’s Paradise, for some reason, and given a full set of human teeth. I’ve watched it five times.
Gosh, where to start. Why does Sonic look like both a bewilderingly proportioned CGI monstrosity and a bloke in a cheap suit? Why is there sub Michael Bay’s Transformers military brouhaha? Why is there a casual joke about child abduction? Why those teeth? Just: why?
I realise that as a 35 year old bloke, I am not the target audience here. Or at least I shouldn’t be; quiet in the back. But I like my nostalgia as much as the next nerd. And it’s not as if I’m averse to weirdly humanised video game characters in movies as a concept. Detective Pikachu looks terrific. This Sonic, however, is quite extraordinary. I’m not sure if it’s self-aware or not.
If there is a serious note to be made here (probably not, admittedly), it does seem a shame that, given the clearly hefty budget, there hasn’t seemed to be an attempt to bring a genuinely iconic character to a new audience with style. At least a style other than the backwards-cap edginess that went out of date about two decades ago. I showed my six-year-old son the trailer who seemed just as bewildered as I was.
If there is a saving grace, then perhaps it will come in the form of Jim Carrey; chewing the scenery in full 90s-Carrey-style as villain Dr. Robotnik. He looks great. The rest of it is looking like putting Sonic as a front-runner in the competitive field of worst video game movie adaptation of all time. I can’t wait to see it.