I wish I could have somehow captured my facial reaction the first time I saw the leaked poster for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Almost everything about it was a deviation from what fans have grown accustomed to in getting to know the Blue Blur all of these years. The hair, the legs, the body—just about everything—was wrong with Sonic’s design.
Today, Sega and Paramount acknowledged that they’ve heard the criticism loud and clear. So much so, in fact, that they are going to take on the grueling task of completely overhauling Sonic’s design in the entire movie. And that’s no easy task.
I’m actually heavily in favor of this move. I’m not even the biggest fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, but I do think his legacy is deserving of a fix, especially for such a large-scale design debacle.
Hollywood gonna Hollywood
I’m usually against the whole internet mob mentality, in particular when it comes to gaming. Just because you’ve screamed the loudest IN ALL CAPS from behind your keyboard doesn’t mean a company should change their interpretation or designs of a certain product.
In many cases, yes, this is warranted when the content is offensive or insensitive. However, the vocal majority can do a lot of damage when it comes to the media that they consume. And when things don’t go their way, it leaves people to scream louder. When it comes to the case of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, I think it was very much warranted.
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
There have been many instances over the years where I had hoped Hollywood would have put the brakes on things. I mean, you can look at various examples of how the movie industry watered down titles, poured disgusting amounts of money into bland CGI projects, or even rode the hype coattails only to exemplify its misunderstanding of video games as a medium.
Better late than never
I think one of the reasons that this has been such a big deal is that most people want to see the Sonic franchise receive the treatment it deserves. Besides Mario and Crash Bandicoot, there are very few long-standing, immediately recognizable icons in the video game industry. (Sorry, Pac-Man.)
Even for me, I want to see Sonic succeed. I want to see Sega get the “W.” Games like Sonic Mania proved that there is still a core group of fans out there who appreciate the roots from where it all started, even bringing on a new generation of Sonic fans that never got to experience him in all his 16-bit glory.
At the end of the day, I think it was a good move for Sega and Paramount Pictures to hold themselves accountable for handling the franchise delicately. This isn’t the 1990 or 2000s anymore. The technology is readily available to create a big screen adaptation without sacrificing specific design qualities that take away from the source material. I mean, if fans can do it, surely the big Hollywood bucks can, too.
In this case, the source material is something that is very near and dear to a lot of people. The vocal minority turned into the vocal majority, and it looks like the studio behind the movie will get another shot to provide the fan service that most people were expecting in the first place.
For the other side of this debate, check out Andrew Gonzalez’s article about why the Sonic redesign is dangerous for the film industry! Then let us know in the comments where you fall on this debate.
With all the information that we now have for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, here’s another look that things might turn out for the best after all.