Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most iconic video game characters out there. Debuting in 1991 on the SEGA Genesis, Sonic offered speedy gameplay alongside careful platforming. Since then, the games have seen success and failure, but a love for the character has remained constant. Next year, Paramount Pictures will release the first Hollywood adaption of the character. The film received plenty of negative reception when the first trailer went live, with the chief criticism being the title character's design. It was so badly received that in a unprecedented move, director Jeff Fowler announced Sonic would be redesigned.
This week, Paramount released a new trailer for the film, highlighting the updated design. It is definitely an improvement, and identical to the games. Fans are cheering across the internet, and rightfully so. It isn't everyday a studio listens to feedback and delays a film three months. However, while Sonic does look great now, the film still doesn't. It can be easy to forget with the updated design, but Sonic the Hedgehog still looks like a mediocre film at best.
Nobody expects a grim Sonic movie or a darker tone like in the Shadow the Hedgehog game. But, the lighthearted tone and atmosphere of Paramount's movie is not welcome due to the humor. Show anyone the new trailer, and you will be hard-pressed to find someone bursting out laughing at any of the scenes. The yelling, armpit, and "Nailed it" scenes are all very mediocre.
Sonic the Hedgehog looks like a half-comedy, and that half is not looking promising. There's a problem when the supposed humorous scenes fail to deliver even a smirk. It's generic, and uninspired. Replace Sonic with an original CGI animal character, and reception of the trailer would be very different.
Here's the thing about Jim Carrey's Dr. Robotnik: there's actually a few highlights based on what has been shown. The final scene in the original trailer where he looks a lot like the video game villain is great. But, it's obvious the direction is going for a more over-the-top portrayal. This could have benefits, but as seen with the awkward dance sequence, the performance is looking more laughable than engaging. Dr. Eggman of course can be a somewhat silly character in the games, but he's never as crazy over-the-top as the footage indicates. There was a notable Sonic fan film that portrayed Robotnik as a serious character, and that is much more interesting than Carrey's portrayal so far.
Uninspired Script And Performances
When it all comes down to it, a primary problem with Sonic the Hedgehog is the script. James Marsden is portraying the human protagonist, and what can be said about him so far? Obviously Sonic is the main draw, but it's probable Marsden is going to be in the film a lot. Based on the footage, his character appears to be generic and not well-acted coupled with a mediocre script. The performances in Sonic the Hedgehog look like something out of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
As for Sonic himself, the way he's being portrayed is as if no one has actually played a Sonic game, and are going off what they think the character is like. Sonic has always been fast and cheerful, but also pretty laid-back. He has never been portrayed in the games as the hyperactive child-like character seen in Paramount's film. To some viewers, Sonic may come across as overbearing, based on the trailer. The scene about the rubber band ball comes to mind. Sonic's portrayal in the trailer does little to entice newcomers to check out the film.
Hopefully Better Than It Looks
Sonic the Hedgehog could be a fun little movie, but not much else based on what has been shown thus far. The humor is mediocre and dated. Jim Carrey's over-the-top performance as Robotnik may have some highlights, but its emphasis on zany scenes and crazy dialogue appears to be getting in the way of good writing. Sonic himself may look great, but that doesn't translate to a good movie. The uninformed may ask why a Sonic film needs good writing. The answer to such a foolish question is this: Good writing is essential in any movie, and no one should settle for less. It's also easy to forget, but a number of Sonic games have engaging storylines with emotional value. As it stands, Sonic the Hedgehog looks like another mediocre video game movie.