2019, in my opinion, has become the year of surprises in film: a Downton Abbey movie is set to be released, a live-action Pokemon film exists and has temporarily eradicated the curse of the video game-film genre, and a live-action/CGI Sonic the Hedgehog movie that was supposed to release later this year, but has since been pushed back to the beginning of 2020.
I’m very late to the party with this, however, this is because it has taken me a while to articulate my thoughts on the ‘Sonic’ trailer, as well as the film itself. While I like the original game trilogy, and ‘Sonic Mania’ (a remaster released for consoles in 2018), I wouldn’t consider myself a fan. But even I am aware that the franchise needs a good confidence boost after the critical disasters of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. And I doubt the film is going to be that much-needed boost.
So Let’s Talk About The ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Movie Trailer
So, confession time: I am genuinely looking forward to this. I actually like plotlines where a fictional character is placed in the real world; I like seeing how they’d interact with their new environment. However, I can admit that this hasn’t always worked. And I can further admit that I don’t think this was the best direction to go in. But, this is the type of film that has been given to us, and I’m looking forward to watching something that’ll hopefully keep me entertained.
I do have some thoughts on the trailer though.
So, the trailer begins and we are introduced to the anthropomorphic hedgehog via a song…Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’.
Why was this song picked?
After 2014’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, trailers now seem to pick popular songs as a backing track to the visuals. However, this is probably the most confusing song pick; a song like ‘Born to be Wild’ by Steppenwolf or even Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ would’ve worked better. Yes, it would’ve been on-the-nose, but at least it would’ve suited the main character.
The main consensus is that, while the film may look bad, at least Jim Carrey will be a highlight. Carrey plays Sonic’s arch-nemesis Dr Robotnik, a crazy scientist who is asked to eliminate Sonic. Playing a weird and crazy character like Robotnik gives Carrey a chance to return to his comedic acting skills of the 90’s and, honestly I think that style of acting would work here. The film premise, and the idea behind Sonic, is so peculiar that it won’t stick out.
An aspect of the film that I am looking forward to is the action sequences. The portrayal of Sonic’s speed abilities will mean there will be some unique sequences, including one that’s shown in the trailer where a truck is taken down by the speeding hedgehog. It’s also a great looking effect.
One question I do have after watching the trailer is: who is the target audience? The cheesy humour is reminiscent of some of the more recent games and clearly targeted towards children. On the other hand, one of the film’s taglines is ‘Every Hero Has A Genesis’, symbolizing the Sega Genesis, which was released in 1989 (known as the Mega Drive when it was released outside North America in 1990). This is a blatant attempt at attracting older fans; the tone is a little uneven.
Sonic’s Design and Jeff Fowler’s Response
The biggest complaint that emerged after the trailer premiered on 30th April was Sonic’s CGI design; it didn’t resemble the blue hedgehog! The film seemed to take the approach of what Sonic would realistically look like, rather than what his video game design would look like in the real world. Surprisingly the fans’ criticism were heard as, four days later, director Jeff Fowler tweeted that the character would be given a complete redesign. He concluded that ‘everyone at Paramount and Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be’. Because of this redesign, the film’s release date has been delayed from November 2019 to 14th February 2020.
Thank you for the support. And the criticism. The message is loud and clear… you aren't happy with the design & you want changes. It's going to happen. Everyone at Paramount & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be… #sonicmovie #gottafixfast ?✌️
— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 2, 2019
— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 24, 2019
This is a rare decision for a big production company to make, and one that I respect. While I don’t consider myself a fan, I would like to see the character stay true to the source material, and I would recommend they take another look at the original Mega Drive design. The changes that I would suggest are:
- Sonic should be wearing gloves, instead of white fur covering his hands.
- His eyes should be bigger and more of a unieye than two small eyes.
- His legs should be shorter, and a little thicker.
- Instead of red sneakers, Sonic’s shoes should be the same as the ones in the video game.
While I’m happy that Paramount have listened to fans, I do hope they take the feedback on-board. The film overall may have left a sour taste in people’s mouths, but I’m looking forward to seeing ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ and just want to be entertained.