Back in April, the internet looked upon the first trailer to Paramount’s live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie and despaired. The speedy blue hedgehog of their childhoods had been realised in 3D as a lanky, dead-eyed muppet, who for some reason had eerily human-like teeth.
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Fan response was pretty immediate, with the trailer gaining hundreds of thousands of dislikes on Youtube. Anyone who grew up in the nineties was quick to question why the protagonist of Sega’s best-selling video game titles had been so heavily adapted and ‘humanised’, his doll-like proportions and small eyes seen as an attempt to make a pixelated character more ‘edgy’ and relatable. See what I mean in the photo below – the Sonic of April, 2019 clearly does not have a soul. Stop it. Stop looking at me.
But now, in this near-shot-by-shot comparison of the old trailer and a recently released revised trailer, we see a new Sonic, below.
Wow – not bad!
Driven solely by hostile fan response, director Jeff Fowler and his animation team have completely redesigned Sonic to look more faithful to his original aesthetic, and somehow, the entire re-released trailer comes off better for it. The new Sonic design is more exaggerated, expressive, and likeable, and that goes for the trailer, too, which seems more energised and child-friendly than the more sarcastic, “grown up” trailer we got in April.
That poorly received trailer, soundtracked to Gangsta’s Paradise for maximum edginess, caused Fowler and co to bump the film’s release date from November to February 2020, with the promise that Paramount would “make Sonic just right”.
Let’s be real here – this movie is a calculated cash grab for nostalgia in the same vein as this year’s Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, with a screenplay written by three different people and a cast of slumming comedy performers. And even the revamped trailer is basically just Sonic’s voice actor Ben Schwartz providing ten or so different iterations of the sole joke, ‘Sonic is Fast’. But with this revamped, more family-friendly character design and a scenery-chewing performance from Jim Carrey, who hasn’t been in a role like this since like 2002, the movie seems to be attracting some more positive buzz.
Now, all we have is the brighter, zippier new Sonic the Hedgehog; the uncanny valley version of the movie has been deleted from Youtube, like some ousted Soviet leader blacked out of party photos by the new regime. Never forget ugly Sonic.