11 surreal ways the Sonic movie is and isn’t like the games

After all of that hullabaloo over live-action Sonic’s looks (Is Sonic swole now? Does he have hedgehog eyes?), the first full trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog has finally arrived. Once you get over your initial shock (he’s not swole, but he does look like a small man in a blue bodysuit, and he does have two human-ish eyes), you may wonder: how does this all stack up against the actual Sonic games?

Needless to say, there are some significant differences between the two mediums. Below, we’ve compiled a list of key differences and similarities between the live-action Sonic movie and the video games, as well as posing a few questions we’d like answered.

Look at those furry arms!
Look at those furry arms!
Paramount

Live-action Sonic has blue arms

The Sonic we know and love does not have blue arms. I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but our hero basically wears a sleeveless blue onesie; his arms are … flesh-colored, like the area around his mouth, rather than being covered in blue fur. I know this sounds bad, but for those of you unfamiliar with game Sonic, just trust me when I say it’s better. I mean, live-action Sonic also has human body proportions, human teeth, and two distinct eyes rather than just one big swoopy one.

Check out those red kicks!
Check out those red kicks!
Paramount

Sonic’s red shoes are still intact

Sonic still has his classic red kicks.

But this is live-action Sonic we’re talking about here, and every answer only leads to five more questions. In this case, those questions are:

  1. Why does he have a whole pile of other old tennis shoes in his cave home?
  2. If he’s just been wearing shoes out because he runs so fast, what’s the expectation for the red ones to survive?
  3. Does he even need to be wearing shoes?
  4. Where is he getting these shoes from?
  5. Is this his Earth look, or his alien planet style (see below)?

Sonic is an alien now

As we all know, Sonic is from Nebraska, and he and his mother and five sisters live peacefully together under a hedge. No, really.

You can take or leave that Sega-approved backstory — maybe he’s just a speedy boy! — but this is the first time that it’s explicitly been posited that Sonic is from an entirely different planet. “It looks like I’m going to have to save your planet,” he says. Your planet. Not his planet. So why is he here? Did he even come here on purpose?

For further evidence of his extraterrestrial status, look no further than the final shot of the trailer, which is of Robotnik (!) in a mushroom-heavy environment one can only presume is Mushroom Hill Zone. Speaking of which …

I am (he is) the Eggman.
I am (he is) the Eggman.
Paramount

Mushroom Hill Zone exists in the live-action movie

The very last shot of the trailer feels almost Max Max-ian, with a sweaty Robotnik traipsing through a field of gargantuan mushrooms. It’s not looking as lush as it does in the games, but, in fairness, nothing in the live-action trailer that’s been drawn from the games does.

The sequence also definitely isn’t set on Earth given how photorealistic everything else on Earth is, which means we may be treated to a look at Sonic’s home planet.

The updated Robotnik.
The updated Robotnik.
Paramount

Dr. Robotnik’s classic look is on its way

In case the first image of Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik had you worried that he wouldn’t be sporting the classic Eggman look, the trailer’s got you covered. Though it seems like Robotnik will be rocking a more contemporary villainous look for the bulk of the film, the tried and true Robotnik costume will make an appearance, too.

Notably, nobody refers to Robotnik as Eggman in the trailer — maybe it’s a nickname reserved for his post-Mushroom Hill Zone self?

Sonic on the road.
Sonic on the road.
Paramount

We don’t know if you know this, but Sonic the Hedgehog was developed for the Sega Genesis

In case you forgot that the original Sonic the Hedgehog game was developed for the Sega Genesis, the trailer includes a handy joke to remind you. “Every hero has a genesis.” I mean, sure.

James Marsden taking a gander at a blue quill.
James Marsden taking a gander at a blue quill.
Paramount

Sonic’s quills are magic (or just have “gotta go fast” residue)

Both Sheriff Wachowski (James Marsden) and Robotnik encounter Sonic quills, which are either magical or are still just coursing with energy after falling from the fastest animal (alien) on the planet. There’s a sort of blue lightning surrounding them, which actually zaps Robotnik when he tries licking one.

One slightly upsetting aspect of Sonic being “real” is that we have to contend with the idea of him shedding. Like Detective Pikachu, the fact that he’s been rendered into a 3D environment means that he is no longer smooth, and his quills can apparently come off.

The point in Detective Pikachu’s favor is that the filmmakers leaned into how a photorealistic cartoon creature can be kinda gross. Sonic the Hedgehog definitely could have gone a greater distance, à la The Lion King remake.

A blue hedgehog.
Artist’s rendering.
Polygon

What’s wrong with a blue actual hedgehog? Nothing. Just one woman’s opinion.

Rings around the Paramount logo.
Rings around the Paramount logo.
Paramount

Gotta catch (er, collect) ’em all

The rings that are ubiquitous throughout the Sonic games as the collectible of choice are back, this time surrounding the Paramount logo. The noise they make when you hit them is audible just as they complete the circle, in a nice nod to the source material.

City escape, via ring.
City escape, via ring.
Paramount

Rings are also portals

It seems like rings will also be serving a larger purpose in the movie besides being fan service, as Sonic is seen flinging a ring that then turns into a portal, saving James Marsden and Tika Sumpter from falling to their deaths. He’s like a fast Doctor Strange!

Rings have been portals before — they mark the ends of levels, transporting you (well, Sonic) away when you jump through them — but this is the first time they’re really been in action like this.

Sonic, looking surprised.
Look, this is all as much of a shock to me as it is to you, buddy.
Paramount

Sonic can be stopped

It had never really occurred to me that Sonic could be tranquilized until this very moment. Something about the fact that he goes so fast made me think he’d be impervious to that sort of thing, but I guess not. In the trailer, Marsden shoots Sonic with a tranquilizer dart — and it works! How this changes the debate on alien physiology (or how it makes sense when Sonic later handily dodges a million military-grade missiles), I don’t know.

Source: Polygon.com

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