Originally written by Scoot Allen for Screen Rant
When Paramount Pictures and director Jeff Fowler released the first trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog adaptation, fans were apprehensive given the few leaks of the character we had already seen. So when the trailer revealed a Sonic character design that looked like the mutated monkey kid from the first Jumanji, reactions ranged from disappointment to fury.
What was really surprising then was when the studio decided to redesign the character based on the negative fan reaction and delay the movie to give the VFX teams time to do it right. And when the new Sonic the Hedgehog trailer finally revealed Sonic's redesign, the sentiment changed as much as the character model itself.
Let's take a deeper look at every change made with the Sonic redesign that makes us actually excited for the upcoming adaptation.
10. LESS TEETH
One of the biggest problems with the original look of Sonic was undoubtedly his nightmare-inducing mouth, and more specifically, the oddly-shaped human teeth. Not only was it odd to see Sonic's human-looking mouth on the giant animal-ish face (a character described as a an alien in the trailer), but the teeth looked unnatural and eerie.
The redesign has widened the mouth and lessened the impression of human lips, and while Sonic still has teeth, they are much smaller and less pronounced in the trailer. We can all sleep a little better at night knowing old Sonic's inhuman mouth will never be seen on the big screen.
9. BIGGER EYES
It's safe to say that the old Sonic design was a little too human for fans, which might have seemed like a good idea in the pitch meeting but came off as unnerving in the first trailer. Sonic's small eyes were only vaguely human, but they differed quite a bit from the original look of the character.
Sonic's eye size has been dramatically increased in the redesign, almost to the point where it looks like he has one eye with two brightly-colored pupils. The larger eyes not only bring the character more in line with his video game appearance, but it also makes Sonic appear much friendlier.
8. FACE DETAILS
Sonic's mouth and eyes weren't the only part of his face that was redesigned, as the whole head was given a bit of a tweak to bring the character more in line with his original video game appearance too. The general head shape was rounded and increased in size slightly to fit more proportionately with his new body.
The lower half of Sonic's face was softened and rounded off in the cheek area, and his nose was also given a complete redesign. While the original version resembled the actual nose of a hedgehog, his new nose is smaller and rounded, with much less visible nostrils, which seems like a small detail but proves to be a huge change.
7. ADDED GLOVES
The first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog was full of odd moments that made a few fans cringe, but none were as cringe-worthy as seeing old Sonic's gloveless, white, and hairy hand closing the tape deck of a stereo. Every single version of the character has worn white gloves, so the absence in the live-action version was an unusual decision, especially given that they kept the character's coloring but just made it hair instead.
The redesign rectifies that and gives the character his iconic puffy white gloves, a notable part of what makes this version of the character so much better. We would be happy to give this Sonic a high five instead of wanting to burn our hands with cleansing fire afterward.
6. NEW KICKS
We've been discussing Sonic's appearance a lot, but it's also important to note that the character is a speedster, which makes his footwear important beyond the aesthetic. The first design of Sonic kept the red color of the shoes but replaced their usual look with a generic running sneaker. Again, they had no gloves for this alien but gave him normal shoes...
As with most of the redesign's changes, Sonic's shoes were altered to better replicate his video game appearance, and his shoes have returned to the red and white striped design with the white cuff on his ankle. It may seem like a minor detail, but fans of Sonic's comic adventures know how important Sonic's shoes are to his speed.
5. TEXTURED HAIR
As we've seen from both trailers now, Sonic's hair actually plays a bit of a role in the larger film, with both James Marsden and Jim Carrey's characters finding energized hairs left behind by Sonic. In the initial design, Sonic's hair was very defined with individual hairs standing out and catching the light.
With Sonic's $5 million redesign, the hair has been softened along with his facial features, allowing it to blend in more and only highlight on the fringes of his ears and his iconic mane. The biggest change in the hair is seen on the lighter colored parts of his lower face, which has had almost all of the visible hair removed.
4. ALTERED COLORING
We can also easily see a few color alterations with the Sonic redesign. The first Sonic movie design featured a lighter shade of blue fur that highlighted Sonic's body definition a bit more, and his lighter patches were more of an off-white that blended in with the other fur.
Sonic's new look features a darker shade of his blue across his body, and his lighter patches have been darkened quite a bit into more of a beige. This coloring definitely helps make the character feel more like his old video game self and even helps ground the character in the tones of the film instead of separating him as it did before.
3. LESS MUSCULAR
One of the earliest complaints about the first Sonic reveal was the fact that Sonic appeared to be more muscular than his video game counterpart, which makes sense when we consider the realistic angle the design took on their first pass. Sonic was a runner, and therefore it was likely he would be in shape and muscular.
However, it continued to make the character appear far too unnaturally human, and like most of his facial features, his body definition has been softened again, with his torso becoming more rounded and less streamlined. This design change has further distanced the new Sonic from his original human-like appearance.
2. SHORTER STATURE
Sonic's size has always been debatable as he has changed his stature a bit over the years throughout the various games and consoles. While his torso and body size generally remains the same, his legs and arms have often been lengthened to increase the character's size in relation to the other characters who began to appear in his world.
The first Sonic design featured longer legs, however, they lost the feel of the extreme runner's look the video game portrayed due to the film's use of a lengthy streamlined body. With the redesign's rounder body and shortened torso, the long legs keep the character around the same height while proportioning his body much better.
1. MORE CARTOONISH
As we've mentioned a few times throughout our look at the Sonic the Hedgehog redesign, one of the biggest problems with the first Sonic adaptation to live-action was the attempt to make the character more realistic, distancing it from the video games it's based on. This resulted in a childlike Sonic that was more at home in a horror film than a kid's video game adaptation.
As we saw with Detective Pikachu, it's possible to bring animated characters into live-action without an extreme distortion of their appearance, and the new Sonic thankfully favors a more cartoonish appearance. The end result gives the new trailer a much more enjoyable Who Framed Roger Rabbit? feel instead of the less exciting Garfield.