Next year is going to be a big one for everyone's favorite hedgehog. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie is underway, with plenty of casting news these last few months. James Marsden and Tika Sumpter will star, and Jim Carrey was recently comfirmed to be playing Dr. Robotnik, aka, Doctor Eggman. Now, the lead character, Sonic himself, has found his voice actor. Variety reported that Ben Schwartz would be voicing the iconic character. Schwartz confirmed this on his Twitter account.
I. LOVE. 90S. BLUE. ICONIC. CHARACTERS. I am beyond excited about this movie. It’s gonna be amazing. I have been training by running, wagging my finger and impatiently tapping my foot. GOTTA GO FAST! https://t.co/SOYqgnf3ym— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) August 9, 2018
Schwartz is no stranger to voicing animated characters. He is currently the voice of Dewey in DuckTales, and Leonardo in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Although many are probably disappointed that Roger Craig Smith (Sonic's current game voice) was not selected, it will be interesting to see what Schwartz' style will be. His portrayal of Dewey and Leonardo does give the impression that he can do a distinctive voice for Sonic.
Jeff Fowler is directing the feature. The film will be a combination of live-action and CGI. Interestingly, Jim Carrey confirmed at the TCA (as reported by Deadline) that Eggman would be realized as a live-action character. This is not a shock because Eggman has not always been portrayed as slightly exaggerated. He had a more human look in the 2006 game, Sonic the Hedgehog. The fan-made Sonic Spec Film from Blue Core Studios featured a realistic portrayal of Robotnik, one that was both effective and menacing. Will Carrey's portrayal of the doctor prove to be compelling, like the actor's character of Truman of The Truman Show, or campy, like the Riddler in Batman Forever?
As for the plot, not much is known. At the 10th annual PGA, Paramount CEO and Chairman, Jim Gianopulos, did reveal the "hook" that sold him on the movie, as reported by Deadline. It provides an interesting look of what to expect from the story, and Sonic's personality.
Jim Gianopulos: "He’s a juvenile delinquent on the adventures in a pretty straight rural environment with a local policeman. It was instantly engaging and it was good enough where you could see where it’s going,"
The best storylines from the games came from the Adventure era. The games from Sonic Adventure to Sonic 06 had compelling plots, with great characterization and action. They were taken seriously, and games like Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes are remembered today for their fun, engaging stories. The 2019 film, so far, looks to have a light cast. (Knuckles, and even Tails, have not been confirmed to appear.)
If it really is just Sonic, Eggman, and the other human characters, it wouldn't be a stretch to expect the plot to be on the lighter side. This is not a bad thing - if handled right. At the very least, hopefully the film can distance itself from the distaste that many live-action/CGI hybrid films have generated. Who knows, maybe the Sonic film will be the first critically acclaimed video game movie.
Sonic the Hedgehog will be released on November 15th, 2019.
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