Sonic the hedgehog producer Tim Miller talks about Ugly Sonic’s infamous design. Released in 2020, Sonic the hedgehog is based on the platformer video game series of the same name, focusing on the titular creature with super speed and electrical abilities. In the film, Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, teams up with the city sheriff (James Marsden) to stop the evil scientist Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey). The film became the sixth highest-grossing film of 2020, spawning two sequels (one of which is currently in production) as well as an upcoming spin-off Knuckles movie, which is a long way from the overwhelmingly negative response to the first. trailer.
When the titular character first appeared in the 2019 trailer, the internet was quick to ridicule the beloved creature’s design. His tiny, beady eyes and disturbingly realistic human teeth, in particular, have been criticized by fans of the iconic character’s original video game look. Due to the widespread backlash, Sonic the hedgehog was delayed by Paramount for several months when director Jeff Fowler and his VFX team tweaked the character design. As Ugly Sonic lives on in internet memes, the updated design was well received and the Sonic the hedgehog movies have earned a devoted following.
During a performance on gang crew, Miller spoke the Sonic the hedgehog design controversy. The producer detailed what went wrong with the original design, citing the usual animation rules and the complications of putting an animated character in a live-action human world as the reasons for Ugly Sonic’s existence. Check out what Miller had to say below:
“The real deal is the design. Jeff [Fowler] is an animator, and I hired him right after college. So he was with Blur for, I don’t know, 15 years. And he’s a character animator, that’s his first and most important thing. When he attacked the design problem, he saw it as an animator. He thinks, I must have a character who can look like he has a pair of shoes from a kid’s room. I must have hands that can open doors and pick up human objects. A character with no teeth is a problem for animators, and those eyes that are in the default design aren’t something that really comes close. It was really hard to do.
On the other hand, you have a brand that everyone knows, and everyone likes to look at this character, but he has to fit into this real world. And there are many examples of which there is a translation. So he does it, and of course chaos ensues. So then I went to Jeff and I said, ‘This is what you have to do: You have to go out, and you have to say, I fucked the fans, you have to say mea culpa, I hear you, we’ll fix this,’ and Jeff said, ‘I’ve already done it.’ He didn’t wait for the company machine to deliver a message, which I think would have been totally wrong. He just did it. It was the smartest thing he could have done. I know it’s crazy to say this, but I was very proud of him.”
How much has Sonic’s design changed?
Miller’s support of his creative team and director is heartwarming given the vitriol that inspired Ugly Sonic after that fateful trailer release. By giving Fowler a chance to improve on the design and handle his response to the character’s fans, the producer helped pave the way for the now-beloved portrayal of the speedster audiences have seen in both films thus far. Miller’s references to what went wrong in the original design are the exact features improved in the final design. Sonic’s eyes, in particular, were made bigger and more cartoonish, closer to the shape of the video game design, as were his teeth, which are thankfully less visible in the new design. The character’s color has also been made slightly brighter, and his hands and fingers are larger and more clearly covered with the character’s signature gloves. All in all, Sonic’s design changed significantly to make him look less realistic and more like the video game character, greatly benefiting the movie.
The attention that Paramount and the film’s creative team showed Sonic fans paid off, allowing the film to launch an enviable franchise. Sonic the hedgehog 2‘s box office broke records in its opening weekend to become the highest-grossing video game movie in the US Sonic the hedgehog 3 and a Knuckles (Idris Elba) spin-off on the way, audience excitement remains high, allowing Paramount to build an expansive video game franchise and succeed when many other studios have failed. Going forward, aspiring video game adapters would do well to take a note of Fowler and his team and listen to fans of the source material.
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Source: Gang crew