Paramount Pictures thinks “blue mammal with one giant eyeball who runs really fast” is a fine foundation for a live-action movie.

I’m usually not one to exasperatedly sigh and declare that “Hollywood has officially run out of ideas” when a remake or adaptation gets announced. Movie-making is an expensive business with a youthful target audience, so there’s definitely a logic to reusing ideas that worked in the past at a time when a lot of teens and young adults were too young to experience or remember the originals.

Still, even to me, the idea of a live-action, American-made Sonic the Hedgehog movie seems weird. The positive response to the recent retro throwback Sonic Mania notwithstanding, it’s been decades since Sega’s mascot had a bona fide hit, and movies based on video games have an incredibly spotty track record. So when Sony, the studio originally attached to the project, decided to backpedal on its commitment, it felt like a smart call. But with Sony no longer interested, Paramount Pictures has now claimed the rights to the live-action Sonic film.

Serving as producer will be Neal H. Mortiz, producer of all eight films in the The Fast and the Furious franchise, and Tim Miller, director of Deadpool, will fill an executive producer role. Sitting in the director’s chair will be Jeff Fowler, who’s never helmed a feature film before, but does have experience in four-legged mammal-based storytelling, having directed the Academy Award-nominated animated short Gopher Broke in 2004. No actors have been cast at this time.

As with any video-game-to-movie project, one of the biggest questions is whether there’s enough narrative meat on the gameplay’s bones to craft a non-interactive story out of. That was a huge hurdle that the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie crashed into back in 1993, and things aren’t likely to be much easier for the Sonic movie, something hammered home by the franchise’s “plot” description from The Hollywood Reporter:

“Sonic the Hedgehog centers on Sonic and his friends, such as Tails and Knuckles, who run around collecting items and points as they attempt to foil the global domination plans of Doctor Eggman Robotnik.”

Another cause for concern: Paramount says the movie’s visuals will be a mix of live-action and CGI, and unless every single actor is wearing an animal costume, that means that Sonic will be sharing his screen time with human characters. While some of the Sonic games do see the hedgehog interacting with Homo sapiens, those entries are among the most reviled in the series, and so a similar storytelling approach doesn’t bode well for the upcoming film.

Looking at things in a more optimistic light, Mortiz has helped make the The Fast and the Furious franchise a bigger success than anyone had originally imagined it could be, and Miller’s hit was also a surprising hit, so maybe lightening will strike thrice…or maybe Paramount will end up doing what Sony did and decide to run from the movie at Sonic-level speeds before actually making it.

Sources: Jin, The Hollywood Reporter
Top image: Wikipedia/Atlasowa

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he figures that, financially, the safest bet for a live-action Sonic movie would probably be a modest-budget furry film.