It’s almost time: The video game character Sonic, the blue hedgehog with super-speed, will finally hit the big screen on February 14, or Valentine’s Day to be exact. As fans cannot wait for the release to come faster, Atlantic Records dropped ‘Speed Me Up’, an original song for the movie, performed by a rap team of Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty, and Sueco the Child.
The rhythmic drums throughout the song create a sensation to run, fitting Sonic’s trademark character and supported by the lyrics in the hook: “So I run / Keep me up / Creep on me, they speak on me / They slow down when they bring me up…” The rap-quartet, while all four are known as individual performers, work perfectly as a team together, splitting up their energy with each other and bringing different rap techniques so that their individuality is showcased by forming a commonality.
Moreover, elements of hip-hop and electronic music give the song a nice flow. It’s not pushing itself, but rather gives an atmospheric feel that would work very well on the big screen, and, most notably, fits into the Sonic video game universe – translating easily into Sonic’s classic platform games that are known for their high-speed chases and loopings. In addition, some famous sound effects of the classic game (like the sound it makes when Sonic is catching one of his many rings) is put in in ‘Speed Me Up’ as well. To top it off, the four rappers like to put some references of the game series in their lyrics, with Lil Yachty mentioning Sonic’s trusty friend Miles “Tails” Prower, a yellow fox with two tails that he can use to rotate himself into the air (“Best friend named Tails / Balance runnin’ on whales / I can never fail”). Wiz Khalifa, on the other hand, is rapping that his ‘knuckles are bleeding’, a nod to Knuckles the Echidna, a red echidna in the Sonic series, known for his spiky gloves. The song itself gets catchier in repeat.
The official music video was released on January 24 and starts off with Wiz holding the cartridge of the very first Sonic game, blowing the back of the game (a popular method to quickly ‘fix’ a cartridge that’s not working properly, blowing away the dust). He puts the game into the Sega Genesis console and gets sucked into the 16-bit world of Sonic, turning into a pixeled character himself. Lil Yachty, Ty Dolla $ign and Sueco the Child follow up right after, also as pixel versions in a classic Sonic game, speeding away to ditch Eggman’s evil machines, while also imitating scenes from the upcoming movie, as seen in the movie trailer. The whole soundtrack will be released on February 14, the same day of the movie release. Rapper Riff Raff will contribute to the soundtrack too, and also has a role in the film. The film score is composed by Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, who previously composed for ‘Deadpool’, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, and ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’. He is also a noticeable DJ and made famous remixes for artists like Elvis Presley, Beastie Boys, Michael Bublé, Britney Spears, and many others.
Sonic the Hedgehog made his debut in the self-titled 2D platformer video game released in 1991 for the console Sega Genesis. The character was conceived as a mascot for game developer Sega to compete with Nintendo’s Mario, and the game series is since then Sega’s flagship franchise and on the list of bestselling video game franchises. Technically, the very first movie of Sonic the Hedgehog was a direct-to-video animated two-parter that was released in 1996. The upcoming movie, however, will be the first live-action adaption on the big screen. It was originally scheduled to be released on November 8, 2019, but was pushed back after heavy criticism of Sonic’s original design for the movie seen in the first trailer released on April 30, 2019, having a humanoid appearance different from his game-looks, with even Sega and the original creators not being happy. The negative response was taken seriously by the filmmakers, and director Jeff Fowler announced a redesign on Twitter on May 2, 2019. The delay and redesign of Sonic cost film studio Paramount around an estimated $5 million but received praise from fans and critics when the second trailer with Sonic’s new design was released on November 12, 2019. The movie hits theaters on February 14 and stars Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, Jim Carrey as Sonic’s nemesis Doctor Ivo Robotnik (aka Eggman), with James Marsden and Tika Sumpter co-starring as well. You can check out the trailer below: