Writer: Leela H.
Visual: Thilak U.
Editor: Norbu D.
Six months ago, Paramount Pictures released the trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Public response was enormous, but unfortunately for Paramount it was mainly backlash. There were several internet posts which gained millions of upvotes on Reddit, youtube, and twitter—most of which were extremely negative as fans showed their disgust of Sonic’s realistic animation style. In fact, “ugly” Sonic eventually became part of a popular meme.
However unlike other studios, like HBO with the Game of Thrones petition, have done in the past, Paramount decided to accept fans’ criticism of the animation style, and improve upon it. Last week Paramount released a brand new movie trailer with the redesigned Sonic; a redesign which has allegedly cost them millions of dollars. In my opinion this is a win for fans of the Sonic franchise and I believe that Paramount should be supported for their decision rather than criticized for compromising artistic integrity by making animators redesign their characters.
Movie studios have many sources of revenue, such as merchandise and sponsored ad revenue, but the fact remains that without viewers to go out and see movies, movie studios would not exist. Audiences are the reason that studios make a profit, and therefore studios should make the effort to cater to their them. Afterall, as much as society may want movies to be a purely artistic medium, the fact is that the movie business is just like any other business and their job is to make their movies profitable. Furthermore, since the redesigned trailer was released, there have been a shocking number of fans amazed by the fact that a studio actually listened to their critique. This massive change suggests that Paramount Pictures really does care about its consumers and the franchise fanbase.
Moreover, while it is important to maintain artistic integrity and ensure that the original ideas and design of the creators are respected, it is important to note the distinction between the writing and thematic structure of the film and its art style. While the change in animation style of one of the characters in Sonic is a big difference, it is a cosmetic difference and an improvement, which is evidenced by the fact that the trailer remained relatively similar. The one major difference being Sonic’s appearance; whereas the dialogue, plot, and thematic value of the movie remain largely unchanged.
The change in animation style of the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie is good. Not only did Paramount effectively prove they cared about their audiences opinions, getting them positive PR, but by only changing the animation style of one character they minimized serious damage to artistic integrity.