On Tuesday, Paramount unveiled the first official trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog, the long-gestured live-action film adaptation of Sega’s beloved video game creation. On social media, it caused a commotion. And the fan response was far from flattering.
Fans have been hesitant about this Sonic movie ever since it was first announced. And the movie’s weird first poster — which featured the character hidden in shadows, but sporting a pair of very beefy legs — was received with more trepidation than anticipation. Sure enough, what they got from this trailer wasn’t great. And people didn’t take kindly to the changes made to Sonic’s iconic design.
Video game lovers worldwide revolted at the sight of Movie Sonic, while even casual movie fans were left puzzled by the anthropomorphic blue hedgehog’s look and its unfamiliarity. This new Sonic the Hedgehog movie is the culmination of years of fandom and wavering appreciation for the video game series. As a result, this new Sonic design felt personally insulting to their their long-standing fandom, and the fans voiced their distain online loudly.
But in a surprise turn of events, director Jeff Fowler announced publicly to Sonic fans that he would make it up to them by changing the look of Movie Sonic before it debuted in theaters this November. Whether you consider it constructive criticism or damage control, Jeff Fowler is taking the negative word-of-mouth to heart, and Paramount and Sega want to win fans over again. With that, here are seven changes that could (and should) be made to make the animated speedster a little more likable to the fans.
Change Sonic’s Eyes
It’s often said that the eyes are the window into one’s soul. If that’s true, then people drew the curtains on Sonic, refusing into glance into his pixelated perspective. In the games, Sonic has one distinctively interloping eye.
While it would be hard to make that look realistic, it does disappoint fans of the long-running video game series to see Sonic with two little beady, well-parted eyes staring back at them. It’s one of those things that instantly makes this design wrong to people. If there’s one thing that should be changed, it’s making the eyes bigger and more reflective of the well-accustomed, well-established character design of the video game persona.
No Human Teeth
It sounds weird to say (or, rather, type out), but Sonic the Hedgehog shouldn’t have human-style teeth. One of the main reasons why many people were immediately off-put by the reworked design of Movie Sonic is because every time the character opened his tiny CG-ed mouth, fans bore witness to those strange little choppers.
At best, they were weird. At their worst, they were utterly terrifying. And they instantly turned some viewers away from appreciating this new character design. It’s a hard fix, to be sure, but something that’s even a little less… life-like would be preferable.
Extend The Head
Simply put: Movie Sonic’s head is a little too small. In addition to the number of issues with his face and figure, his noggin could use a size adjustment or two. Of all the things listed so far, Movie Sonic’s head size is probably the closest to accurate when it comes to how it looks in the original games and cartoons.
But it’s still a smidge too small. Inflate his ego a bit and make his head a few sizes larger. As someone with a small head myself, I realize this might be a bit of a sensitive topic. But if the animators have the means to change it, they should definitely fix it.
Rework The Torso
In some of the games, Sonic the Hedgehog is rather barrel-chested. His stomach sorta rounds out compared to the rest of his features, and it looks like Sonic is a little too thin in this trailer. If they want to make him look a little more in-line with the character’s design in the games, Movie Sonic could afford to run to a McDonald’s or two to beef up his size.
Right now, he’s looking a little too skinny. Side note: this one is up-for-date since Sonic’s figure in some games is skinner than others. So, if he remains skinny, it’s not the end of the world, but if he wants to look closer to some of the past designs, it might help to beef him up just a touch.
Widen The Hands
While Sonic is often using his feet to jog great distances, one of the character’s most distinctive features remains his oversized hands. Often standing out with his distinctive white gloves, his hands are a key feature to his general design. And the weirdly smaller fists that were seen in the trailer don’t quite cut it, frankly.
It seems like it would be a pretty minor tweak, from what I can gather, but it’d definitely be beneficial. At the very least, it would certainly help to have a firmer, ahem, grasp of the character. But also, don’t get out of hand! Let’s move on from my corny jokes.
Fix The Legs
Considering how Sonic is super-runner and all, one of the most crucial elements of Sonic the Hedgehog is his legs. His quads have been a source of controversy from the get-go when it comes to his film personification. As mentioned earlier, his beefy-looking limbs in the poster left many people completely puzzled. And when it came to his look in the trailer, while it wasn’t quite as jarring as that first poster reveal, it still wasn’t quite right.
In the video games, Sonic’s legs are long and thin. In comparison, his legs in this trailer looked nothing like what we’re used to seeing from the character. It would definitely help to change the runner’s lower half.
In the video games, Sonic’s footwear is pretty solid and compact. They need to be. He’s constantly running, after all, and this speed-loving hedgehog needs a pair of kicks that are pretty durable. Particularly during his usual high-energy sprints. In the trailer we saw, however, he appears to be wearing a fairly plain pair of sneakers. Those would not come in handy when he’s running at over 700 miles an hour.
In the broad scheme of things, this is a minor nitpick. But if they’re changing things, it’s worth considering. Sonic shouldn’t be running around in subpar shoes. And please, for the love of God, avoid the temptation to give him product placement-friendly footgear in lieu of these tennis shoes. Though, if the film’s budget is gonna balloon through these last-minute changes, I understand if you need the extra cash.
Will any of these changes be made? Only time will tell. But one thing was made evident here: the fans were not the least bit happy about Sonic’s new look, and the filmmaker responded in kind, promising to fix Sonic the Hedgehog before the film’s November 8 release date. We’ll have to wait and see if he is true to his word.