In a quick turnaround worthy of the mutated blue hedgehog himself, it looks like the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie has been saved, with the horrific, unsettlingly toothy Sonic design (which was so derided Paramount delayed the film to fix it) replaced by something closer to the videogame character’s classic appearance.
Already fans are much happier with the new trailer, to the extent that you can’t help but feel Paramount did themselves a favour by getting it so wrong in the first place.
I know everyone is posting this image, but it really is the best single-shot comparison.
The first one looks like a high-end uncanny valley nightmare of poor decisions.
The second just looks like Sonic. Nothing is distracting or off putting. He looks like a fun cartoon. pic.twitter.com/G2NmwLGIbo
— オニーカ G BLU-RAY (@ChuuniOniika) November 12, 2019
Think about it – if this new trailer, filled with wacky Jim Carrey antics, awkward CGI/human interaction and a wisecracking animal lead voice by Jean-Ralphio off of Parks and Rec had come out in a vacuum, it’s easy to imagine that it might have been greeted with an indifferent shrug, or some gentle ribbing about its status as a sub-par Detective Pikachu.
But now, after we’ve seen a much worse version of this film? Well, by comparison the new take looks like a silver screen classic, a piece of cinema that Martin Scorcese might slip into his films of the year list.
Yes, this is better press than the studio could have ever hoped for if they’d just got it right the first time – and already, some fans are wondering if this was all part of their plan in the first place.
That’s right. ‘Sonic truthers’ are now a thing.
okay first of all? the new design for the sonic the hedgehog movie looks super great. amazing work done by the artists and animators.
but secondly . . . y'all know i had to jump in with my conspiracy theory. think about it, there's no such thing as bad press… pic.twitter.com/y3gvWIAWf5
— D'Angelo Wallace (@dangelno) November 12, 2019
The marketing team for the Sonic Movie intentionally had a bad preview made a year ago to gain the viewers’ trust once they “remade” Somic’s character rig.
Thus creating hype for the new movie for their “improvements” in the whole movie “remake”
— Blazen The Dragon (@BlazenTheDragon) November 12, 2019
Conspiracy: they made the first Sonic trailer intentionally look bad so the internet would get mad and do free marketing for them. Now they just “fixed” it and are letting people praise them. pic.twitter.com/adCil7NJXg
— DH (@ShawonOff) November 12, 2019
Kim’s Conspiracy theory based on no evidence whatsoever! Sonic was always going to look like this, but they released a fake derp Sonic trailer first to do a viral and generate interest. And memes. Cos face it, you’re a lot more interested now, right? MEMES https://t.co/LADnyUiMXG
— Kim (@nanosounds) November 12, 2019
I'm sticking to the conspiracy theory that the initial run of Sonic teasers was just a REALLY good marketing stunt. The proof is in the compositing. The quality of compositing in the new trailers is SO much better that I'm convinced the old ones were meant to look like shit.
— Chief Sheath (Zig) (@ZigZaggyZagg) November 12, 2019
For my money (or gold rings), this conspiracy theory doesn’t really stack up – spending millions on trailers, merchandise and posters that would have to be scrapped, expensively shifting a release date and advertising your incompetence to the world might not be worth the chance of people being pleasantly surprised by your second attempt – but perhaps there’s a lesson we can learn from the Sonic debacle anyway.
To those of you who still think that the first Sonic design was a fake, remember, Paramount approved this: pic.twitter.com/baJd8UsVXm
— JW Cartoonist COMMISSION SALE (6 slots left!) (@JW_Cartoonist) November 13, 2019
Clearly, from now on we should all release a terrible, universally derided version of whatever we’re trying to accomplish first, before apologising and bringing out another version that, no matter how mediocre, looks like gold by comparison.
Imagine how much less disappointed fans might have been with Game of Thrones’ final season if we’d first seen a trailer where Jon Snow was inexplicably recast as a dead-eyed CGI creation (well, maybe that wouldn’t have been so different), or the dragons broke into a rap duet halfway through the action? By comparison, what HBO eventually did put out would have seemed all the better.
Which is why, following the inevitable backlash, I’ll be happy to bow to the will of my many fans and rerelease this article with properly considered arguments, hilarious jokes and well-written prose several months from now. I thank you for your patience.
Sonic the Hedgehog is released on Valentine’s Day 2020