Early last year the Internet kind of broke again. This time an American-influenced, Japanese created video game star, Sonic the Hedgehog garnered Internet reactions and a wave of memes centered on the first pictures of the new Sonic the Hedgehog Movie. Early impressions of the character design were so dividing that even the original creators felt it was indeed “bad”. Surprisingly, producers of Sonic the Hedgehog have already teased a sequel that’s rapidly gaining traction thanks to respectable box office openings. The little blue speed demon is here, even if its arrival was a little dysfunctional.
Everyone who cared sensed the biggest complaints were around the design of Sonic looking less like the one from SEGA. The one who gallivanted through thick gold health rings, leading his compatriot Miles “Tales” Prower on a quest to capture the Chaos Emeralds. In retrospect, the one SEGA fans grew up with.
Suddenly trailers emerged, sending fans down a rabbit hole of negativity and backlash. When it came to Sonic, execs at Paramount made drastic boardroom calls to save it from an incoming computer-generated nightmare. Opting for an expensive biodynamic upgrade meant the film’s release was eventually held back. James Marsden and Jim Carrey had officially joined the non-animated cast back in May 2018.
Fast forward to November 2019, a second trailer featuring a much smaller and cuter Sonic emerges. The blue hedgehog looks terrific. His teeth: less human-like whilst his eyes are bigger & more cartoonish. A home run for both Paramount and SEGA.
So whilst Internet fan culture continues to grow. We know that in their response to something they’re passionate about, they do not hold back. This makes computer-animated/live-action films a slippery slope considering many of the adaptations are from games and movies in the ‘90s golden era.
Powerhouses like Will Smith in the form of Genie, are fair game here. At the foot of this slope sits Andy Serkis, a huge player in all things CGI. If you’re a standout, Serkis is willing to share the spoils, as calls for an Oscar covering motion capture performances have already gathered momentum.
The lure of using computer-generated imagery will always be around for VFX-heavy blockbusters; just how far it grows is uncertain. Right now we’re in an near instant-feedback age where audiences are able to voice concerns whilst producers and department heads can either ignore them or instantly get on Twitter to let all know that their cries have been heard and pledge to “ make Sonic just right”. They’ll even delete the first trailer for you. What a time to be alive indeed. Although it’s taken this long for someone to make the big-screen adaptation. We’re really glad SONIC THE HEDGEHOG is finally here.
As for early reviews, Sonic sits at 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not bad SONIC. Not bad at all. Sonic the Hedgehog stars: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter. Rated PG-13
About the Author
Having memberships at all video rental stores as a child led Kurt to a lifelong love of movies. Kurt’s work as a film critic and creative arts journalist has been published in both print and online publications. Among them, the legendary One Small Seed magazine, Geek Node and The Vent. Following a short break from the writing world, he currently free-lances as a filmmaker between Cape Town and Johannesburg.