Sonic Movies, Baseball, and Found Family Dynamics

*** SPOILER WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS PLOT DETAILS AND SCREENSHOTS FROM THE END OF SONIC 2 ***

When I went into the first Sonic movie more than two years ago, I wasn’t expecting much. I was incredibly cynical about the whole affair, in fact. “Sure,” I thought, “they made the design better. But plenty of terrible movies can still look nice.” Then, the Paramount and SEGA logos rolled, and the movie spent the next 13 minutes winning me over, before one moment finally sealed it. It demonstrated this movie was going to be more than pop culture references and Jim Carrey being Jim Carrey. This was a movie about a lonely kid that, shockingly, had a heart. Here, SEGA’s cool blue mascot was in a bad place, and desperately needed to find a way to move forward.

By the end of it he did, and it all started at a baseball field.

After giving the audience a tour of his adopted home, Green Hills, Sonic goes to a baseball game. A team wins, and they celebrate together, something Sonic is clearly envious of. Later, after nightfall, Sonic takes to the field and uses his speed to pretend to be an entire team. As a scene, there is a lot to like here: it features a creative use of Sonic’s speed, it shows what he’s capable of, and it also gives more screen time to establishing his character. The personalities Sonic gives his “teammates” are cute, and Ben Schwartz does a superb job bringing the whole thing to life. But then Sonic hits the ball, fails to catch it, “wins” the game by a hair, readies himself for the same sort of adulation he saw earlier only to experience…nothing. Because he’s alone.

For a moment, his cheerful façade cracks, and Sonic does something he never does in the games: he loses his cool. Overwhelmed by his loneliness, he unleashes all his pent-up frustrations by running laps around the field. This leads to a power outage across the entire Pacific Northwest, which naturally gets the attention of the US government and leads to Sonic getting discovered. More importantly, it also starts Sonic on a two-movie-long journey to finally experience what he saw on that field.

Two years later, Sonic was playing baseball again, but this time he wasn’t alone. He had an entire family to play with, celebrate with, and go off for ice cream with. As a scene, it acts as a very effective bookend to Sonic’s journey to end his loneliness and find his place in the world. Years after losing one family, he’s found another.

The through line these scenes book end ultimately make up the emotional core of these otherwise fairly trivial popcorn flicks, which makes them probably the most important ones of the entire film series so far. As cool as any of the action sequences are, and as effective as the characterization is for Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails, it would all mean next-to-nothing without that emotional core. Enjoyable movies aren’t built on action, pop culture jokes, weird Jim Carrey antics and Olive Garden gift cards. They are built on character, more specifically making audiences care about those characters.

Caring about Sonic and wanting to see him find that family he so desperately needs gives those action scenes weight. They make the bad jokes and Jim Carrey antics bearable. They make Sonic feel like a character and not a walking collection of dated references, and they give him a means to connect to characters like Tom, Tails, and Knuckles, creating the most effective and impactful scenes across both movies.

Of course, plenty of movies do the “found family” thing better, with Pixar’s Luca and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy executing it more effectively. The concept is also nothing new for Sonic as a franchise. Tails is Sonic’s little brother in the games, and the Freedom Fighters are basically Sonic’s surrogate family in both SatAM and Archie. Regardless, if someone had told me a few years ago that I’d get a little emotional at a scene in a Sonic movie where Sonic called a human “dad,” I’d call you a damn liar.

These movies had everything going against them from the beginning. From out of touch executives, to the terrible track record of video game adaptations, to how regularly terrible movies with cartoon animal sidekicks usually are! And yet, somehow, Sonic was able to find box office, audience, and (modest) critical success. Twice. Some will put the credit on the redesign and “listening to fans,” but the actual reason is much more fundamental: the movie’s writers were smart enough to give the characters heart, rooted in a game of baseball, that sprang forth into the most successful video game film franchise of all time.

As we move forward into a wider cinematic universe, I can only hope the Sonic Movie Universe’s creatives don’t lose sight of this. That heart is something that must be built upon and expanded, in order to keep audiences invested in these characters and their adventures.

Sonic 2 Movie’s Plot Summary Released

SPOILER WARNING: If you don’t want to know anything about the Sonic 2 movie plot, stop reading now! Don’t complain in the comments! You have been warned!

A plot summary for the next Sonic movie has been released by the United States Copyright Office, and it puts some of the things we’ve seen in perspective. Check it out below:

After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is ready for more freedom, and Tom and Maddie agree to leave him home while they go on vacation. But, no sooner are they gone, when Dr. Robotnik comes back, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search for an emerald that has the power to both build and destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands. Being directed by Jeff Fowler, and starring Jim Carrey, James Marsden, and Ben Schwartz.

So, in many ways, this sounds like a stripped down adaptation of Sonic 2 and 3, combined. Knuckles is still working with Robotnik, Tails is now partnered with Sonic, and a chaos emerald is the focal point of the plot.

That chaos emeralds are even being introduced is pretty huge, and them only introducing one is about the only thing I asked for in my article a few months ago that this movie appears to have. It’s not much, but I’ll take it!

Another interesting thing about this article is that it appears to be writing Tom and Maddie out of the central plot, though it’s probably fairly likely we’ll get at least a few scenes of them on vacation (presumably in Hawaii), if not a substantial B-plot. CGI is expensive, after all, it can’t be in every shot!

Via US Copyright Office Website

Sonic Forces Launch Trailer Released Containing Major End Game Spoilers

The North American version of the Sonic Forces launch trailer was officially released by SEGA today. Unfortunately, unlike the Italian version we reported on a few weeks ago, this trailer contains some serious spoilers. Not just unannounced levels like the Sonic Mania, but actual footage of the game’s final boss and ending cutscenes.

So if you’ve been trying to dodge spoilers since the game was leaked last week, you might want to avoid the trailer. If not, you can check the trailer out below:

Sonic Forces Leaks Early


Did you enjoy all that spoiler-dodging in the wake of the Sonic Mania leaks? Well, we’ve got good news for you: you get to do it again with Sonic Forces!

At least several copies of the Switch version of the game have been sold early by as-yet unknown retailers. Unfortunately, while the person who posted the images in the above tweet has refused to leak anything, others haven’t been so restrained. Sonic Forces streams are reportedly already popping up, though SEGA is taking them down.

Just like with Sonic Mania, we won’t be reporting on the impending wave of spoilers from these streams. If you want to avoid them, you may want to stay off social media and message boards until you’ve played the game yourself.

Sonic Forces will release be released for the Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC on November 7.

Sonic Mania Street Date Broken: Game Is Leaking

Well… This isn’t good.

Earlier today, a number of users on Reddit noticed that some Gamestop and Best Buy stores in the US had the Sonic Mania Collector’s Edition in stock. Whilst some stores were refusing to sell the game, others have in fact sold the game to customers. Continue reading Sonic Mania Street Date Broken: Game Is Leaking

Runners’ Data Reveals New Characters and More

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New playable characters (and other resources) for Sonic Runners have been revealed within the game’s data, thanks to some our our more tech savvy members on our board, the SSMB.

Back when the game was initially announced, several characters were revealed for the game. Aside from the main trio we were also shown renders of Amy, Shadow, Rouge, Vector, Espio and Charmy. However, the list of playable characters evidently expands much further than that!

Within the game’s files, models for characters unseen in trailers were shown – including Blaze, Silver, Omega, Metal Sonic… and what could be the most important reveal, Big the Cat!

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Currently, the only available characters within the game are Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, with Amy also available – if of course, you manage to invite ten Facebook friends and get them to download the title. The rest of the cast seemingly has no unlock criteria yet, and will likely come in future updates.

This isn’t the end of what’s been found in the game’s files however. There’s also images of characters from Secret Rings, Black Knight, Lost World and Adventure (Froggy!). It seems that Runners isn’t holding back on celebrating the many different games the hedgehog starred in and the characters that appeared there.

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And finally, more gems have shown themselves, showing alternative version of existing characters, though we’re not exactly sure how they came to be… it seems that Espio has got himself a metal coating, and somebody made Shadow and Omega pretty angry.

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A very creepy Metal Eggman has also been found.

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This story is continuing to develop as more resources are unearthed, so keep an eye on our Twitter for updates! Credit to finding these goes to Woun and Mefiresu over on the SSMB forums.

Beware Spoilers! Sonic Lost World’s Street Date Broken!

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We’re getting reports that Sonic Lost World for the Wii U has been leaked onto youtube, there are several videos popping up from Spanish accounts which suggest that a retailer may have broken the release date for the game.

One of the accounts doesn’t appear to be affiliated with any major media/press site outside of a Facebook fan page.  As of now, theres nothing to suggest that this is an official embargo or authorised release which suggests that the game has had it’s street date broken.

At this point in time we’re not going to be posting leaked material on the front page of TSS since I imagine a few of you will be a bit annoyed if we did that. However, it is being discussed on our forums, so if you can’t wait a few days, head there. So far the leaked material includes the entire openning cut scene, the first few stages, and several unseen cutscenes and plot elements.

You have been warned… Warrrrned…. …. waaaarrrrrnnneed… *fades into the darkness like the crazy guy from an 80’s slasher movie*

Spoilers await you at this link.

Beware Spoilers! ASRT’s Street Date Broken!

UH OH CHONGO!

Oh my days! Oh my Days! Look! A store is charging forty big ones for Singularity! I know it’s a good game but it’s quite old and the online is… oh… you’re more interested about that game with the hedgehog in the car right?

Your eyes are not deceiving you, some naughty retailers have broken the release date for ASRT and are now selling it in store. As a result many of the surprises that the game had in store are slowly being posted online.

Click the link to read more

Continue reading Beware Spoilers! ASRT’s Street Date Broken!