By Luka Tskhadaia
Sonic the Hedgehog saw its theatrical release on Feb. 14 and already made history.
Even though the film came out less than a week ago, it has grossed $57 million in the United States and over $40 million internationally. This marked a new record for video game adaptations’ highest box office rankings, beating Pokemon Detective Pikachu.
The live-action adventure of the fastest blue hedgehog in the universe is made under the roof of the Paramount Pictures studio. Jeff Fowler’s new take on the beloved Sega character previously received backlash from fans around the world for the way the character was originally drawn. The trailer released back in October wasn’t appreciated by the Sonic X franchise lovers, as the hero’s appearance seemed too unfamiliar and weird to them. Luckily, this project took the critique with wise consideration and remade the hedgehog’s look to fit the ideals of his admirers.
It’s no surprise the team working on the movie decided to listen to the fans’ opinion. Video games, especially the ones that have multiple generations of players, are notoriously hard to bring to life. Whether it’s a cartoon, a TV show or a film, that’s a one risky business. First of all, the gaming community that is the essential part of fans you don’t want to let down while making the adaptation is colossally huge. Secondly, the gaming community is often very detail-oriented and deeply attached to the plots and characters of their beloved games.
We’ve seen examples like Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Witcher (2019), Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019), Mortal Kombat (1995) and countless other video games that got turned into live-action films or TV series. Some of them are better than others but essentially all of them prove that pleasing the fans is a complex goal.
Rokashi Edwards, a freelance writer and narrative designer for video games, holds the Sonic franchise very dear to their heart. In fact, Edwards became the first person in Toronto to book tickets for the Scotiabank Theatre’s premiere screening of the film.
When speaking about the advantages of Sonic the Hedgehog, Edwards pointed out the comedy aspect of it.
“The humour is very on the nose and current, with people talking in Internet memes’ language, which is implemented in Sonic’s character. Whoever who is even remotely a Sonic fan will have a good time watching this,” says Edwards.
As mentioned before, some of the video games’ screen adaptations do well and others fail. Edwards shared a point of view regarding why it is so hard to turn a game into a film, what might be missing.
“The production companies should take the best of context from the games and give them a proper portrayal in the films and TV shows. In The Witcher, for example, Netflix kept Geralt’s ‘quiet but has a lot to say’ personality trait. As for the adaptation of Detective Pikachu, they included dozens of Pokemon creatures and interaction of characters with them. The environment seems bigger with this amount of characters and you feel like you can explore it.”
Sonic the Hedgehog‘s plot is the story of an unfortunate event – an alien hedgehog named Sonic has to leave his home planet because it’s not safe anymore. That’s how he comes to Earth and adopts our lifestyle as he navigates life in a small town in America. His adventure begins once his existence becomes not so secret anymore.
Moviegoers at Cineplex Queensway were fascinated by the film. One of the comments was especially detailed and thorough. Joshua Kim, 24, shared his thoughts right after he walked out of the cinema hall.
“I’ve been playing Sonic on my Sega when I was little and watched the cartoon series. I still rewatch it from time to time, it gives a warm nostalgic feeling. The film was nice, I wouldn’t want to spoil anything but the villain in the film will be unrecognizable to many viewers if they don’t know the whole story behind this character. I loved the easter eggs and references to games, the appearance of another character during the end of the film. Needless to say, the graphics and blue lightnings that appear when he [Sonic] is speeding up is very good to look at and… clean, in a sense. The graphics team was a team of perfectionists, that’s for sure,” said Kim.
Sonic the Hedgehog is out everywhere and available in theatres across Canada.