Yes I was rather surprised about this. It’s fair to say that – when it comes to Sonic the Hedgehog – any announcement regarding an upcoming project is likely to incite a fair amount of venom. And I apologise for saying that, fellow Sonic fans – but it’s kind of true. Don’t feel bad. Like, I’m a lifelong Doctor Who fan, but I still seem to spend half my life criticising it (you can’t have lightning in the time vortex!!)
Anyway, the team behind the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie released the first teaser image yesterday via IGN, and it’s fair to say that the reaction wasn’t… overwhelmingly positive. Judge for yourself…
The biggest point of contention seems to be the fact that the producers have given our blue hero an unexpected coat of fur. So if, like me, you’re still experiencing post traumatic stress symptoms from the horror that was Sonic Unleashed (2008) then there’s a good chance that this latest graphic will send you tumbling back into a dark place (the game’s plot revolved around Sonic being turned into a sort of werewolf, with a gameplay experience that was both laborious and infuriating.) Now, the fact that Sonic the Hedgehog has never otherwise had a cuddly coat seems to have passed the design team by. And why not! Let’s give Nathan Drake a coat of fur as well. (That might be a good follow-up article actually: ‘Who else can we add fur to…?’)
“It would be weird and it would feel like he was running around nude if he was some sort of otter-like thing,” says executive producer Tim Miller. “It was always, for us, fur, and we never considered anything different. It’s part of what integrates him into the real world and makes him a real creature.” Hmmmm.
But truthfully, I am slightly exaggerating my outrage at this design choice; it doesn’t bother me that much. I mean, I think it’s fundamentally wrong for Sonic, but it’s not going to scupper my enjoyment of the movie. The most important asset of any film is the script, and it’s the thought of the script alone that gives me sleepless nights. Because even if you have the best writer in the world – who is the absolute master of their craft – they are never, ever going to be able to fall back on their creative instincts when it comes to a movie project on this scale. There will be so many people with a vested interest in how the Sonic movie turns out that certain decisions will fly simply because other ‘interested parties’ insist on them. And perhaps the fur is an example of this…?
Moreover, I think you can see from the poster that this is already a film that’s not quite sure of what it wants to be – I feel pulled in about four different directions. On the one hand, the logo and trainers seem to tell me that this is a cool new movie for da kids. The fur tells me that it’s looking to win a slice of Pixar’s audience. The smoke and the electricity are ostensibly begging for acceptance from Marvel fans worldwide. And the strapline – remarkably – appears to be flirting with devotees of The Fast and the Furious franchise. This blows my mind. Presumably, some marketing team at Sonic HQ worked out that men and women of a certain age have a nostalgic fondness for Sonic the Hedgehog, and that those same men and women watch The Fast and the Furious movies, and that both those franchises are linked by the iconography of speed (I can almost smell the PowerPoint presentation.) And whilst that logic makes perfect sense on a corporate slideshow, I’m not convinced it’s going to wash with reality. I think this is a misfire and the team should have focused more on winning the hearts of children. Show a child this image and they’ll never sleep again.
Oops, I’m being cynical and negative again. On the positive side – this is a teaser image, and I am sufficiently teased. I want to see more. But to answer this post’s headline: no, Sonic the Hedgehog shouldn’t have fur. Lara Croft shouldn’t have fur. Arthur Morgan shouldn’t have fur. No more fur. Enough with the fur.
How do you feel about Sonic’s new coat, and the teaser image in general? Leave your thoughts in the comments below…