If you saw Sonic among other video game characters in Disney 2012 animated film Wreck-It Ralph, you probably thought that will be the first and last time the Blue Blur would appear on the big screen, right? Wrong!
Sega Sammy has announced Wednesday, Feb. 10 that they are indeed working with Sony Pictures to produce a live-action/CGI-animated hybrid Sonic the Hedgehog movie to be released in…2018.
There were some Internet whispers about a Sonic film being produced by Sony a couple years ago, with some speculating that if the movie is being made at all, it would be released either this year or in 2017. Some fans, like myself, were elated to hear the news of Sonic scoring his own big-screen gig, and some got impatient when Sega Sammy said it would be completed by 2018. I consider myself to be on the border of excited and impatient. Excited because, like the majority of the Sonic fanbase (which I’ve been a part for 12 years and counting), I have been waiting for a Sonic film, or movie industry chatter of it, to see the light of day; and impatient because two years is too long for us to see the final cut in theaters. Then again, the original Sonic Adventure took 18 months to develop.
I’m also skeptical about the quality of the new Sonic film for two reasons. First, one of the laws of the gaming community dictates that films based on video games do not adhere to source material, therefore we shouldn’t waste our money on film adaptations of such games. To wit, the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie (1993). In this film, Mario and Luigi’s (Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo, respectively) plumbing business is being financially ousted by a major construction company in Brooklyn, Princess Daisy studies archaeology at NYU, and Bowser (or King Koopa) attempts to merge the dinosaur-civilized dimension with the human world 65 million years after a meteorite split the universe in two–a story that is the polar opposite of the canon’s plot. I saw some parts of the movie as a kid but not the whole thing, so I saved myself from an incessant head-banging session after hearing from the core Mario fans themselves how badly the movie performed. In 2007, both the late Hoskins and Leguizamo stated in an interview with The Guardian and the autobiography Pimps, Hos, Playas and the Rest of my Hollywood Friends, respectively, that the Super Mario Bros. movie was the worst film they ventured into as actors.
Secondly, live-action/CGI hybrid films suffered a 20-year history of harsh panning from film critics, who deemed Space Jam, Osmosis Jones, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and The Smurfs as extremely pale compared to the first live-action/CGI hybrid Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Space Jam was stellar because Michael Jordan was cast to play alongside the Looney Tunes in a intergalactic basketball game against aliens who usurped the talents of Jordan’s NBA peers, but I guess the critics attacked the other films mentioned above for implementing the same formula the 1996 Warner Bros. classic created: cast famous celebrities as either the voices of the cartoon characters or as co-stars with their favorite characters. You can guess which film did either-or.
I hope that whoever is directing the new Sonic movie is so loyal to the franchise he’ll follow the source material and keep the personalities of the Sonic characters intact. Whether the director will base the movie on the games, the comics, or even both remains to be seen. As for which actors will co-star with Sonic and Company…well, I’m expecting they will celebrities who have been Sonic fans since either ’91 or ’98. The game series’s voice-acting cast should remain as they are unless either Jaleel White or Ryan Drummond are called upon to reprise their role of Sonic.
For the next two years, let’s give Sega Sammy and Sony Pictures our best wishes on Sonic’s cinematic endeavor.