You could almost hear the sigh of relief from the Sega fan base. The new Sonic the Hedgehog movie trailer, which Paramount released this morning, is a giant improvement over the old one. Our spiky hero no longer looks like a nightmarish experiment. The human teeth have been removed. He has big doe eyes, not the sinister looking eyes of the original trailer. The new design genuinely captures a lot of what original character designer Naoto Ohshima set out to achieve a cool but cuddly mascot, infusing Japanese kawaii sensibilities with American attitude. His fur is bright, representing the Sega blue of the company’s classic arcade games. He is no longer absolutely terrifying, an important achievement for a family film. The movie itself looks entertaining, also another bonus we weren’t expecting. We laughed out loud when Sonic tries playing darts and sprays a whole bar with mis thrown projectiles.
There are far more references to the games this time as well, from the loop the loop scenery at the beginning to the rush of familiar sound effects and soundtrack melodies. While the original trailer didn’t tell us what in the world was going on and why Sonic was suddenly on our version of Earth, this one gives us a hint of backstory and adds a little depth to Jim Carrey’s barking performance as Dr Robotnik. Reactions beneath the official reveal tweet have so far been positive, ranging from the surprised “Oh my god, he looks really good” to the emotional: “I LOVE HIM THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.” When director Jeff Fowler took to social media in May to promise an overhaul, he clearly meant it or, at least, his paymasters at Paramount, fighting through reams of furious reactions, certainly did. This is Sonic the Hedgehog as fans have known him for years: a little cool, but a little silly; cute, but also slightly knowing; fun, but also a teeny bit obnoxious. If Paramount’s aim with this reboot was “we just want people not to wake up screaming in the night thinking about Sonic”, they have more than achieved their goal. Most importantly for Sega fans such as myself, the film now looks, at the very least, like it should be better than the Super Mario Bros movie which, let’s face it, was always a low bar. At first, Sonic ran right into it. Now he should sail over. Tonight, Paramount’s army of CGI artists can pat themselves on the back. They have slain a monster. Sonic is back!