Before I sat down to write this, I made something to eat.
Rather, I heated something up in the microwave. The meal
was manufactured by a large company, ConAgra to be precise.
The people at ConAgra made investments into demographics,
nutritional values, flavor profiles and more before they
used machines to dump pre-portioned foodstuffs into plastic
bowls and sealed shut. I didn’t buy this product, my wife
did for me. She is familiar with what I like, and made an
informed decision based on the efforts of the people at
ConAgra to convey that they have not just what I need, but
that I want.
Last year, when images leaked of the upcoming live-action
computer-generated-buddy-film based on a mega-franchise
video-game chracter SONIC: THE HEDGEHOG: THE MOVIE,
the internet was exposed to the raw efforts of marketing
teams, artists and designers, producers and executives
desperately trying to adapt yet-another aged pop-culture
icon into a modern mass-marketable motion picture.
Needless to say, they weren’t pleased. And this was just
based off the teaser poster that featured a pair of
blue-furred teenage boy legs hanging off the golden-gate
bridge. “Real world crossover”, tweeters groaned.
“Hyper-realistic”, bloggers droned. “GOT GO FAST”
tweens memed. There seemed to be absolutely no desire
from the community for yet-another big-screen
mashup of nerdy shit from the 90’s. Everything is
getting a movie, a continuation of “MARVEL FEVER” and
Disney’s attempts to commercialize every property
within it’s ever-growing stockpile of B-F list
holdovers acquired in it’s never-ending IP pursuit.
Eventually, the public was offered the first official
preview of the blue cartoon hedgehog’s, that they had been
secretly jerking off to for the past 3 decades, big
Hollywood makeover. If you recall, that didn’t go well at all.
Sonic’s transformation from tiny Japanese cartoon animal
into an Uncanny Nightmare Valley combination of what
looked like a Deep Fake of Monsters Inc and footage of
Thumb Wars left studios battered and humiliated. In an
unprecedented move, the studio recalled the film and
put thousands of digital artists to work to redesign
and re-animate all the scenes with the character.
The film was delayed from its original release date
of November 8 to February 14, 2020 as a result, and
cost an additional $5 million.
As the response to Sonic’s overhaul to a real-world setting
was originally thought to be disregarded by theater goers
according the Viacom-owned studio Paramount’s executives.
According to 2018 IGN article, SEGA had also expressed
dismay about Sonic’s eyes as the film was in production.
So here were several multi-billion dollar companies
attempting to repackage a tired, old product that nobody
NEEDED yet would WANT to pay money to see. However,
when the internet collectively vomited on the product,
something suggested by animators at the studio would
happen, the big-wigs ended up calling in professionals
that were familiar and had worked previously to develop
the brand to join on.
Of course, they had to do this because there was no way
that they could allow a property this big to fail as hard
as it was expected to. Obviously deals and arrangements
had already been made for potential sequels and merchandise.
If this movie flopped, who would be interested in the
next two movies (minimal) we are expecting to come?
The studios wanted people to want to see this movie,
now the studio needed people to want to see this movie.
But another interesting argument came around, that
even if we did not WANT to see this movie, we NEEDED to.
The idea was to send a message, to Hollywood and IP holders
alike in regards to our discerning tastes and the often-revolting
reactions we have to yet another remixing of dated references.
Video game fans have long awaited movie adaptations to properties,
as the media just seems right “both things you watch on screens”.
Where video-games are immersive, and designed for you to interact
with for long periods of time, Movies have to fit all that in
shorter timeframes and often with bigger budgets that must pay out.
For this reason, movies are dictated through marketing teams,
focus groups, consumer analysis to appeal to as many people
as possible and that often means dropping or altering concepts
of the host-property drastically (see 1991’s Super Mario Bros: The Movie)
Finally, it seemed that the suits were listening and have started
to realize that by just adapting something popular into a movie
didn’t mean anyone would be interested in it. Worse, they were
going to crucify it and repeatedly label the studios as hacks
and out-of-touch moguls.
Studios have long-thought of themselves like food manufacturers,
that they were producing something that we needed. Before cable
television, this may have well been a service they had fulfilled.
Entertainment helps distract us, and helps us relieve ourtension
and frustration. We enjoy escapism. But when everyone has a
magic mirror full of hardcore pornography and tetris clones
in their pocket, no one neccesarily needs to go a theater
or watch a big movie. That’s why so much of the current
cinematic atmosphere is chocked full of franchises that
appeal to children and teenagers, as thats more ticket sales
considering that any kid would be exicted to see a movie
based on a character they admire, and of course Mommy’s
ticket isn’t free either. But we don’t have to let little
Susie cry until we go to see the Care Bears Movie a third time
because now we live in a world where she can oversaturate
on any given property as much as she wants at home. Apps,
streaming videos, toys and home games. So would people
even give Sonic a chance? For once, the audience’s opinions
had begun to be heard, similar to opinions I heard when the
first Iron Man movie came out “If you’re going to adapt it,
make it good. Because it’s all been done before, and we didn’t
like it.” The audience was sending ultimatums, and it seems
like it worked.
The film would go on to make $306 Million in the Box Office,
against a $95 million budget, 2020’s 2nd highest grossing movie,
and beating Detective Pikachu’s record for highest opening film
based on a video game. Based on expectations of 2020’s theater
world, it’s unlikely it will shift down much lower. So now,
the franchise seems to be secure and it teases for sequels already
in development, although nothing has been announced.
So the question remains, “Do we NEED to see Sonic the Hedgehog The Movie?”
A review of this film seems to be rather worthless. Anyone even
remotely familiar with the franchise or just the titular character
should expect how the movie should go.
The film opens with a vignette of babby sonic living on another planet full of murderous talking animals.
A talking owl reminds Sonic that “with great power comes great responsibility”, before
Sonic is hurled through a giant glowing cock ring to planet Erf. Here, Sonic lives
in secret before he is inevitably discovered by charcter WHITE MAN, who causes Sonic to drop his
big brown sack into a gloryhole made by a fallen magic cockring. The portal opens to where cockrings
always point, San Francisco. THE GUBMENT shows up investing a bizarre EMP in the area, caused by Sonic.
Smartest man in the world, Dr. Theodore Roosevelt Robotnik
is called in to study the disturbance. WHITE MAN takes Sonic to BLACK WIFE (WHO’S A VETERINARIAN), where she
cannot believe what is happening, and is told off by her sister SASSY BLACK LADY. WHITE MAN takes
Sonic to SAN FRAN where Robotnik reveals his army of robots, and then they fight. In the end,
we learn FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, and WHITE MAN and Sonic send Robotnik through a gloryhole to the
Mushroom Kingdom, where he goes insane. TAILS shows up after the credits to remind you that
you are a weakling.
That’s really it, a few special-effects sequences (which features a very-well choreographed and wonderfully executed
slow-motion biker-bar fight) and some throw away jokes fill this 99 minute slab of commercials.
It’s about as good as a movie about Sonic the Hedgehog could be, at least taking place on Earth.
There’s no reason anyone, even hardcore fans, should have felt neccessity to see the movie.
But did we really need to see it regardless? In my opinion, no.
Doktor Faux’s Score:
Cartoon character comes to the real-world, hijinks ensue.
Sonic is made to be somewhat of a tragic character, orphaned
and living along in the woods. Despite his incredible power,
he does not unlock his true potential until people that care
for him encourage him, and also gift him some new PUMA slip-ons.
With friends, you can do anything. Even push them off buildings.
It’s a buddy film featuring a friendly cop and a Roger Rabbit.
Sonic knows that he’s different, because he’s aware that he is
not on his home world. People respond to seeing him in interesting
ways, from cool and collected to understandably frightened.
They’re running from an incredibly overpowered villain, who despite
being the smartest man on the planet, can’t devise a plan not
used in 1950’s B-Movies.
Diversity is key! White Man, who is a cop, is married to Black Woman, who is a doctor.
Sassy Black Lady is mean to White Man. Jim Carrey is Doctor Robotnik, did I mention
that? It’s alot like watching Ace Ventura after he got a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Despite utilzing Yamaha synthesizers and Mega Drive sound chips, the music
sounds like any other movie music. Scott Pilgrim made better use of
chiptune and breakblock beats.
The movie looks good. Despite the rushed redesign, characters are well-lit
and the scenery makes sense. There are lots of chase scenes in this movie,
and while not as crazy as some featured in other movies like TMNT or Transformers,
are handled well and convey direction and continuity. The slow-motion scenes
(where we see things as perceived by Sonic) are very amusing, but special effects
shots do not a movie make.
FINAL SCORE: 1.6 (D-)