A Slow Race to The Big Screen for a Supersonic Hedgehog

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Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Sonic the Hedgehog, originally bound to release in November of 2019, was redesigned for three months before hitting the theater on Valentine’s Day...

Luiza Decenzi, Managing Editor

For nearly 30 years, Sonic the Hedgehog has sped through a variety of designed universes and became a beloved video game character almost as fast as he can run. On February 14th, 2020 Sega, a multinational video game developer, released the latest adaptation of the character.

This creation, roughly developed by screenwriter Richard Jefferies, was lingering in the works since shortly after the video game was released, but was cancelled in the 1990s. After a many turnarounds from 2013 to 2017, the movie rights flowed from Sony to Paramount Pictures, who later released the original trailer in 2019, only to be delayed by an overwhelming negative reaction to the character’s design.

The plot follows Sonic exploring Earth with sheriff Tom Wachowski, who he calls “The Donut Lord,”  while trying to escape from Dr. Robotnik, also known as “the Eggman”, Sonic’s antagonist in the video games.

Due to the large controversy that led to a complete redesign of his character, I wasn’t expecting much going into the movie. Afterall, if you can’t even stay true to the basic appearance of the character, how can you write an entire screenplay that follows his story? Turns out that by the end, I was positively surprised by the outcome.

In one word, the movie is bittersweet. There was a predictable and unoriginal element, but it never seemed forced. Each character was given at least a moment to shine and with that approach, the script flowed smoothly. Dr. Robotnik exceeded expectations. His character, who should be the very definition of the “villain stereotype”, delivered in such a satirical manner that it almost criticized how most movies portray the “bad guy” and gave an edge to his persona.

The CGI mixed with live action did give me some doubts. On one hand, it left to be desired. It captured the contrast of Sonic and much of what he touched, like a baseball bat, to the real world. To better follow the theme, a much better production would have made everything but Sonic much more realistic, in order to highlight that Sonic, alone, was in a different world. However, the incorporation between the two is a difficult task for any director, and should still be applauded for not being a complete failure. Through the ups and downs of “The Donut Lord” and Sonic’s adventures, one couldn’t help but to smile at the well delivered simplistic plot of their friendship. The comedy, in a lot of ways wasn’t prolonged or the main goal. The short delivered lines released some of the tension from darker themes of the movie and created an enjoyable break from the formulaic plot.

All in all, Sonic the Hedgehog surpassed anything I would have predicted. In small details, the movie honors the video game while creating something entirely new. Although I can’t say this is the best or most interesting movie I have ever watched, it’s a cliche, cheesy, and feel-good production that captivates a younger audience and appeals to a sense of nostalgia for older ones.