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The video game film genre has always been a tricky one to get right, and historically there have been some real clangers. However, this hasn’t stopped Sega from cracking on regardless and announcing a new Sonic the Hedgehog movie.
President and CEO of Sega Sammy Holdings Inc Hajime Satomi told The Worldfolio: “Sega Sammy Group is currently planning with Sony Pictures to create a live-action and animation hybrid ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie scheduled for release in 2018.”
Hopefully enough time and thought will go into paying homage to the nostalgia fans have for the Sonic franchise. However, Satomi’s description of a ‘live-action and animation hybrid’ hints forebodingly at an Alvin and the Chipmunks style children’s film, which will have little appeal to the people who played Sonic through the 90s.
With Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed both due for release later this year, it seems film adaptations of games are on the rise. But there will undoubtedly be questions as to whether Sonic is the right brand for film. Whilst there is a lot of optimism surrounding Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed, the games these films stem from occupy distinctly more cinematic territory compared with the simplistic world of Sonic.
Pre-21st century, video game films have mostly been notorious failures. Super Mario Bros (1993), Street Fighter (1994) and Double Dragon (1994) were all torturous at best. Even with leaps in technology and CG, the 21stcentury has brought us underwhelming films like Doom (2005) and Max Payne (2008). Certainly, there have been some successful adaptations of games, but they are far outweighed by unsuccessful attempts.
Clever writing could adapt the simple world of Sonic into something which stands out from past failures. However, will it then resemble the world of the original games at all? Or will it just be one of those films with a brand attached like an extra, unessential limb to try and haul in fans of the franchise? We’ll have to wait two years to find out.