He’s the most famous hedgehog in the world, but he’s not exactly up against much competition. Sonic is about to hit the big screen. Well, not just yet, but a film based on Sonic the Hedgehog has been announced.
“There are limitless stories to tell with a character like Sonic the Hedgehog and a built-in international fan base,” said Hannah Minghella of Sony-owned Columbia Pictures. “Along with our wonderful creative partners at Marza, we’re looking to capture everything that generations of fans know and love about Sonic while also growing his audience wider than ever before.”
Minghella’s quote is interesting there. “There are limitless stories to tell with a character like Sonic the Hedgehog and a built-in international fan base.” It suggests that having a “built-in international fan base” automatically means that there is a story to tell. But surely it doesn’t work like that. Just because something works in one medium, doesn’t mean it will work in another. It’s been three years since the Angry Birds film was announced, and it’s another two years before it’s scheduled to hit cinemas.
Five years seems like a long time in production, and perhaps part of that is due to the challenge of taking a game and turning it into a film, because in doing so, you’re removing the one thing that everyone loved about it in the first place – the game play. No-one downloaded Angry Birds because they were interested in the complexity of the birds vs pigs struggle; people play it because it’s fun to fling birds into pigs. No-one plays Sonic the Hedgehog because they care about the feud between him and Dr Robotnik; they play it because it’s cool when he runs really fast and whizzes around and then jumps on a spring and you’re in control.
But of course, you won’t be in control when you’re watching the film.
Perhaps the solution would be to introduce cheat codes. Pressing Up, Down, Left, Right, A and Start on the title screen as Sonic was loading on the Sega Megadrive would give you a level select option. Other codes in other games make you invincible, give you unlimited weapons or unlock special characters. Maybe films should do this. Pressing a sequence of buttons on your remote could turn a Richard Curtis romcom into a David Lynch nightmare. A different sequence could add a laugh track to a tearjerker, or Bernard Hermann strings to Pixar adventure.
That, at least, would be more engaging than 120 minutes of CGI blue hedgehog.