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.
If the success of The Social Network and Moneyball have proved anything, it's that the only thing Hollywood loves more than an underdog story is one that's based on a best-selling book and deals with an American pastime, like social media or baseball. Or video games, which is the new subject of the upcoming film Console Wars. The movie will tell the story of the battle for supremacy in the 1990s between Nintendo and Sega. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have been tapped to write and direct an adaptation of Blake J. Harris' book, which will follow Tom Kalinske, the man who helped transform Sega from a failing arcade company into a video game juggernaut, and helped the company take on Nintendo when it was at the peak of its success. Although the pair is mostly known for their comedy work, Rogen and Goldberg have enough geek cred to give them an edge on this story. Since they've already written a foreword for the book, it seems as if they know their subject pretty well. Plus, the Nintendo/Sega wars seem like the kind of story that would benefit from some irreverent goofiness. After all, most of these video games are pretty weird when you think about them.
Of course, Rogen and Goldberg's film won't be the first time in which Nintendo and Sega have faced off on screen. Over the years, both companies have seen their most successful franchises be adapted into movies, television series and Saturday morning cartoons, and sometimes even become a pop culture phenomenon. In honor of Console Wars, we've taken a look at the good, the bad, and the unnecessary in order to determine which company reigns supreme when it comes to big and small screen adaptations. Although, any time Nintendo wants to stop making Pokèmon movies is fine by us.
Games Turned Into Movies: Worldwide — Super Mario Bros., Pokémon: The First Movie, Pokémon: The Movie 2000, Pokémon 3: The Movie, Pokémon 4Ever, Pokémon Heroes, Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker, Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys, Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai, Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior, Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life, Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions, Pokémon the Movie: Black and White, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice, Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened; Japan only — Super Mario Bros.: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach! and Animal Crossing Games Turned Into TV Shows: The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Captain N: The Game Master, Donkey King Country, Kirby: Right Back At Ya!, The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Super Mario WorldHighest Grossing Movie: Pokémon: The First Movie, which made over $163 million worldwideFranchise with the Most Incarnations: Pokémon, with 16 theatrically released movies, three television movies, and one ever-expanding anime series. Best Adaptation: Pokémon. Hey, they made 20 of them for a reason!Worst Adaptation: Super Mario Bros., the 1993 live-action adaptation starring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi that nobody asked for. Adaptation That Was Better Than the Actual Game: Captain N: The Game Master, which combined all of the best characters from the Super Mario games with a wish-fulfillment plot that allowed the hero to get sucked into the video games he was playing.Game Character Who Never Got a Chance to Shine: Fox McCloud, star of StarFox. He leads a group of anthropomorphic animals who fly planes and protect their planet from evil aliens. It's practically tailor-made for Saturday morning cartoons!Saturday Morning Staple: Pokémon. Don't lie, you know you watched it every week. Movie Only Released in Japan That We Wished We Could See: Animal Crossing, if only to see how they managed to create a plot out of a game that has none. Something You Accepted as a Kid, But is Really Weird Looking Back: The live-action credits of The Super Mario Bros. Show, which featured a dancing WWE wrestler dressed as Mario.Most Memeable Adaptation: "Well, excuuuuuuuuuuse me, Princess!"
Games Turned Into Movies: Worldwide — Like A Dragon, House of the Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Sakura Wars: The Movie, Like a Dragon: Prologue; Japan only — Bayonetta: Bloody FateGames Turned Into TV Shows: The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Earthworm Jim, Sakura Wars, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Underground, Sonic X, Virtua FighterHighest Grossing Movie: Unfortunately, it appears to be House of the Dead, which grossed just under $14 million. Franchise with the Most Incarnations: Sonic the Hedgehog, with one movie and four television series. Best Adaptation: Sonic the Hedgehog, the 1993 series that ran on ABC on Saturday mornings. Well, okay, maybe not the best, but definitely the most iconic. Worst Adaptation: House of the Dead. It was directed by Uwe Boll, which should tell you all you need to know. Adaptation That Was Better Than the Actual Game: Earthworm Jim, a weird, surreal, hilarious television show that took all of the absurdity of the video games to the next level. Game Character Who Never Got a Chance to Shine: Bug from Bug!, a Hollywood star whose girlfriend is kidnapped just before he stars in the biggest film of his life. It might not have been the most exciting game, but between the action, the suspense and the Hollywood glamour, it would have made a great television show. Saturday Morning Staple: Earthworm Jim. The perfect accompaniment to a bowl of sugary cereal. Movie Only Released in Japan That We Wished We Could See: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate. It's the only Sega adaptation that hasn't been released in North America, and is said to be one of the best ones. Something You Accepted as a Kid, But Is Really Weird Looking Back: Pretty much everything about Earthworm Jim, if we're being honest.
Clearly, Nintendo wins the real world battle, but we'll see who takes the title in Rogen and Goldberg's film.
A series based on the Genesis video game, "Sonic the Hedgehog." Sonic and his friend Tails are constantly on the run around the planet Mobius, pursued by the evil Dr. Robotnik and his incompetent robot henchmen, Scratch and Grounder. Sonic and Tails continually turn the tables on Robotnik and cause his outlandish traps to backfire in his face.