We now have the first look at the new Sonic The Hedgehog movie being released by Paramount. The film brings the famed SEGA video game character to life in a live action family film with tons of jokes, explosions and wacky effects. Sonic is voiced by Ben Schwartz, most known for his character Jean Ralphio in Parks & Recreation, alongside well known actors James Marsden and Jim Carrey. The trailer sets up the plot similarly to the upcoming Pokemon: Detective Pikachu with the cop coming home to find an animated buddy in his space. The two are freaked out by the interaction and band together to achieve a common goal using their combined talents. The movie seems to have quite a bit of future tech and gadgets from the game series. The animation is not too bad either. The film as a whole, however, looks to be another dud in the books for gamer films. This seems to be another step towards Hollywood attempting to squeeze films out of video game properties.
So, why is it that major studios shoot for these mix of animated and live film concepts if they have such a shotty record? Films like these have been prominent since the days of Space Jam. However, studios have recently taken this realistic animation approach with video game properties. The consensus seems to be the financial safety of a project based in the lore of an already existing fandom. There is a safe bet that fans of the property will buy tickets regardless of the movie’s quality. Thus assuring some form of moderate success to keep less than great franchises like the Angry Birds films alive. Warner Bros. currently has a Minecraft film in production. One would assume a similar tactic is being used in this instance.
The next question, then, is why be happy with a moderate success rather than going all the way on a unique and risky project? Film studios greenlight hundreds of pictures and understand the pitfalls in the business. Some may not take off in the box office and be a pretty sizeable loss for the studio. What gives companies like Paramount the ability to put out a risky film like A Quiet Place without knowing how it will perform, is doing films that can guarantee at least a medial line of income made back. This is how unanticipated reboots, sequels and lackluster live action films come to pass. The reception of Sonic The Hedgehog is about 50/50 if the online response is to be referenced. Video game and comic book fans of the property are pretty much a lock, however. Then, there is the chance that parents take their kids to see it because it is about a speedy, blue cartoon guy.
Jim Carrey takes on the role of the evil Dr. Robotnik. It is always nice to see Jim Carrey peak his wise and strange head back into big budget Hollywood, but it does seem like a step backwards for him. On the heels of some unique performances in films like Kick-Ass 2 and Dark Crimes he seemed to be in a different headspace about his career. This was around a time where he was questioning life’s flow and people’s social normaties in a way that shed a very different light on his public persona. This was heightened by the 2017 Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The film chronicled the bizarre and troubling method acting that Carrey immersed himself in while playing Andy Kaufman in the biopic Man on the Moon. This new look at Carrey as a genius method actor with a finger on the pulse of humanity led to his starring in the almost satirically biographical Kidding show on Showtime. All signs pointed to a different and unique future for him going forward until the Sonic The Hedgehog trailer. Whether it be a comforting return to old formats or simply a financial opportunity too great to pass up, the fact remains we get a flash back to the silly days of Jim Carrey’s weird character acting in family films.
Sonic The Hedgehog releases this November and hopes to capture the hearts of every person with a dusty old DreamCast in their mom’s attic.
Did you enjoy the trailer? What is your favorite Jim Carrey role?