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Comparing the Two Different 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Cartoons from 1993

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Jun 11, 2014 | 1:24pm EDT

Sonic the HedgehogSega

It seems that Hollywood’s recent penchant for nostalgia has finally paid off for video game fans. Sony and Marza Animation Planet announced on Tuesday that a Sonic the Hedgehog feature film will be racing into theaters sometime soon. According to Entertainment Weekly, a live action/CGI hybrid film – think The Smurfs, but without Neil Patrick Harris – is in the works, and Upright Citizens Brigade alums Evan Susser and Van Robichaux have been tasked with writing the script. 

Since the project is still in its earliest stages, not much is known about what the plot will entail or what kind of tone the film will have, although it has been revealed that Dr. Robotnik/Eggman will be the villain of the piece, naturally. Between the numerous video games, comic books, and animated series, Susser and Robichaux will have plenty of sources to draw on, but the best place to look for inspiration would be Sonic’s two iconic cartoons: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog. However, though both shows have attracted a cult following, they’re drastically different in tone and substance. So, which one will make the best feature film? We’ve weighed the options:

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

Premise: The shows follows Sonic and his good friend Tails on their madcap adventures as they attempt to stop Dr. Robotnik and his robot minions Scratch, Grounder, and Coconuts from taking over the island of Mobius.  
Tone: Goofy, weird, lacking in anything like continuity and filled with catch-phrases and random gags. Basically, it’s everything you’d expect from a typical Saturday morning cartoon.
Theme Song: It’s fun and up-beat, and even a little catchy, but the lack of lyrics definitely hurt it.

Best Part: It’s really funny. Sure, there are strange jokes about chili dogs and an overabundance of catchphrases, but the zany humor of the show holds up, even if you’re no longer watching it in your pajamas with a bowl of cereal. Never underestimate the power of a well-timed sight gag or a transparent disguise that none of the characters can see through. Plus, Sonic is voiced by Jaleel White.
Worst Part: It makes no sense whatsoever. The jokes are bizarre and sometimes completely nonsensical, and there’s an entire episode that warns against hiding in dryers. It was a show clearly designed to appeal to the short attentions spans of children, and so it attempts to pack as much insanity into every moment at the expense of things like logic.  
How This Would Work As a Movie: The madcap humor and goofy nature of the show would definitely appeal to children, and even though it’s usually pretty bizarre, the humor should help keep parents entertained as well. However, Susser and Robichaux would need to give the plots a lot more substance in order to keep the film from feeling like an extended series of unrelated jokes. The adventures are fun, but they’re all goofy and unrelated, so the writers would need to find a way to raise the stakes for a film as well.

Sonic the Hedgehog a.k.a Sonic SatAM

Premise: After Dr. Robotnik and his assistant Snively have taken over the planet Mobius in the 33rd century with an army of robot soldiers, Sonic and his gang of Freedom Fighters band together to fight back against Robotnik’s enslavement of the planet and attempt to rescue his uncle, Sir Charles Hedgehog.
Tone: It’s a serious, dark show that does away with the wacky adventures of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog in favor of a long-running plot. Basically, it’s the kind of exciting adventure show that you would have watched every day after school.
Theme Song: It’s catchy and exciting, but ultimately doesn’t stand up to the great cartoon theme songs of the day.

Best Part: The plot. Centering a children’s cartoon – which aired amid the candy-colored, madcap insanity of Saturday morning cartoons – on a post-apocalyptic fight against a dictator who has enslaved a planet is ambitious. It was such an intricately-plotted show that it impacted almost every part of the Sonic universe, and inspired a decades-long run of comic books. Also, Sonic is again voiced by Jaleel White.
Worst Part: It’s dense. While the plot gives the adventures some high stakes and keeps things exciting, the detailed universe can be difficult for smaller kids to follow, and it leaves less room for jokes and weirdness.
How This Would Work As A Movie: Thanks to its long-lasting legacy, the Freedom Fighters would be the perfect subject matter for a full-length film, and it would provide plenty of blockbuster action and adventure to attract both children and adults. However, a lot of the elements could get pretty dark when translated to the big screen, which could keep smaller kids and their families away from the theater, and so Susser and Robichaux would need to add a bit more humor to this version of Mobius in order to add some levity and keep things from getting too complicated.

Winner: Sonic the Hedgehog/Sonic SatAM 
Though the plot is a lot darker and more intense than you'd expect from a Saturday morning cartoon, the fact that it has a plot means there's a lot more for Susser and Robichaux to draw from, which should make for a better movie. As long as they throw a few jokes in there to keep things from getting too heavy, it should all work out - and we happen to know just the show for an endless supply of Sonic the Hedgehog jokes. 

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