Sonic the Hedgehog Should Have Stayed On HIS Worldby Brandon Zachary
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Sonic the Hedgehog, in theaters now.
The Sonic the Hedgehog movie largely eschews most of the traditional trappings of Sonic stories. Instead, it brings the blue hedgehog to the big screen in an adventure set largely in a mundane, human world. That's surprising, considering how big and bright the film could have been if it had only focused on any version of the Sonic home world.
THE OTHER WORLDS OF SONIC
The Sonic franchise has taken place on different worlds across various forms of media. That's how the character's creators explain the strange, anthropomorphic animals. The video games take place on a version of Earth where creatures like the Enchida have been at work protecting mystical elements for thousands of years. Like the movie Detective Pikachu, the world has largely adapted to the rare (but not unheard of) animals.
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In Sonic X, Sonic and his friends all hail from a world completely separate from Earth. This meant more of the unique aspects of Sonic appeared throughout that series. But while the film version of Sonic's world has no real connection to Earth, the two places have a deeper connection in Sonic X. That version of Earth was once one with Sonic's world, but the places were split into two dimensions. Creatures like Sonic ended up on one world, while humanity grew uninterrupted on Earth. Over the course of Sonic X, Sonic and his allies have to work together to keep the worlds from fully merging again, eventually making their way back to Earth.
The wildest versions of Sonic lore take place on Mobius, which has been a setting across various shows and comics. In a number of Sonic animated series (such as Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog) as well as the Archie Comics continuity, the world was known as Mobius and was ravaged by Doctor Robotnik. In the comics' continuity, the world was once Earth, but after accidentally dissecting an alien ambassador, humanity was largely wiped out in a war against invaders from space. Although some pockets of humanity survived in isolation, the rest were wiped out by "gene bombs" that restored much of the natural world. Over thousands of years life evolved once more, this time in the form of creatures like Sonic, Tails and their friends. All of these versions of the Sonic universe have a unique visual flair that is lacking in the largely mundane world of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Sonic the Hedgehog opens with a very young Sonic being raised on an alien world. It's somewhat similar to the Green Hills Zone, a common location in the video game version of Sonic continuity. However, the character's quickly whisked away to Earth by Longclaw, an owl who gives him rings that can teleport him anywhere in the universe. These rings deposit him in the state of Montana, a decidedly unflashy part of the United States that lacks much of the visual flair of most of the Sonic media.
Watching Sonic run across a typical highway isn't all that exciting in comparison to watching him run through crumbling ancient ruins. The problem even extends into the climax, in which Robotnik chases Sonic across the entire world thanks to the teleporting rings. Sonic is pursued through many of the world's monuments, but the sequence never has the same vibrancy as the best moments of the games. Sonic the Hedgehog is a largely bland film that chooses to keep the superfast character off to the side and in a car for most of its second act. The movie could have stood out far more if the action had taken place on Sonic's homeworld.
Opening Feb. 14, director Jeff Fowler's Sonic the Hedgehog stars Ben Schwartz as Sonic and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik, with James Marsden, Neal McDonald, Tika Sumpter, Adam Pally and Natasha Rothwell.
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