If there is one thing that is guaranteed to bust the collective nut of the gaming community, it’s a gritty adaptation of their favorite geeky franchise. For instance, when Joseph Kahn directed Power/Rangers (and then pretentiously declared it “my take on the fan film“) everyone had a shit fit. And of course there will never be any end to the slew of unoriginal Mario “satires” that flood YouTube and depict the plumber brothers as tripping on drugs or in some other seedy situation. Even mainstream media like Adult Swim’s endlessly lame sketch show Robot Chicken rely on Mario parodies for like half their material.
So what’s the newest edgy-wedgy work of art to capitalize on the nostalgia of the internet’s horde of gamers? It’s this short film by Chris Lee and Paul Storrie called The Hedgehog. I won’t give the whole thing away, but the basic premise is that a sanic fanboi that’s too old to be dressing up as a blue hedgehog notices a man that might very well be a look into his own future.
Some gamers are criticizing the work as being anti-gamer and of portraying fans of games as unhealthily obsessive, especially in light of the creators’ own comments on the film’s meaning. Others are lauding it as an accurate and empathetic look into the life of alienated youth. Personally I’m in neither camp, instead seeing the film’s meaning as something along the lines of “it’s unhealthy to allow any hobby to push out other aspects of a full life”, which is benign enough. And as to the short’s aesthetic and artistic merits, for me it’s a bit of a shrug and a “seen it before”. Maybe I’ve just seen Gummo too many times.