I’ve never had an instance of what could be described as “fanboy rage.” Sure, I’ve been disappointed by things such as Galactus being turned into a cloud or slightly disgusted by the utterly tone-deaf 2016 Ghostbusters film.
But full on rage? No, never. Until about a week ago.
When Paramount Pictures revealed their first glimpse at how Sonic the Hedgehog will look on their upcoming movie based upon the character, a rage enveloped me the likes of which I had never known.
To be fair the poster only really shows a silhouette. We can’t see any details of Sonic’s face, but there is enough light to get an overall impression of the character. And it isn’t good.
Gone are his trademark red sneakers with gold buckle, replaced by the most generic looking running shoes one could imagine. Gone, too, are his gloves and his arms are now blue (although there is history of that). Perhaps worst of all, however, are his proportions. His head is monstrously oversized for his body. And his limbs…dear Gods, his limbs! In this poster Sonic is jacked!
In all the poster presents a character half between B-movie monster and feavered furry horror dream. It is, in short, hideous and uncomfortable to look at.
Things only became worse when it was revealed that the movie would be drastically changing Sonic’s facial features. Instead of the classic one-eye-two-pupils the world is familiar with, movie Sonic will have two separate eyes. That may not sound too bad on paper, but when you consider that Sonic’s stylized eyes have been a huge part of his ability to be instantly recognised visually, you begin to see the issue.
It was as if Paramount had completely ignored almost 30 years of working design. While his games may have not reached the heights of the 90s originals until last this year’s Sonic Mania, Sonic remains one of the most recognisable characters in the world. Not just in the world of video games, but everywhere! He’s up there with Mickey Mouse in regards to the popular consciousness. Why would you mess with that?
Even Sonic’s original creators came out to share their dislike of the design. The current people at SEGA reportedly don’t like it.
The whole thing just smacks of the arrogance of Hollywood and people who think they “know better” than the characters’ originators and the fans who love him. This arrogance, more than perhaps even the look of movie Sonic, is what caused me to go into my first fanboy rage.
I was pissed. What Paramount had done was not only arrogant but ugly. A poster for a Sonic film should get you excited and energised, not feeling uncomfortable and squeamish. But according to Paramount this is what the world wanted, we just didn’t know it yet.
Over the next few weeks I was checking Twitter constantly, searching for any new updates on the film and Sonic’s look and partaking in the absolute dissing the poster was taking from fans. I made several choice tweets. Things became worse when the “hairy blue legs” poster was leaked.
Those tweets were full of passion and indignation. I felt that something I held very dear and meant a great deal to me had been violated. I finally understood what it meant to be truly incensed as a fan.
This went on for several days until I realised that this behaviour was affecting no one but myself. I was making myself angry and stressed. I’d just started a new job but was starting the day grumpy because of the tweets I was reading about the movie.
Eventually I realised that my anger and vitriol would not change anything. Paramount doesn’t care what I think (they recently confirmed they don’t care what any fan thinks) and it certainly wasn’t helping the already not wonderful perception of Sonic fans.
I have since made my peace with the Sonic movie. Okay, so maybe movie Sonic will look nothing like my hero should and maybe the film will be terrible. However, many franchises before have survived awful screen adaptations and in some cases even received something worthy of their name later down the line.
I’m still not happy with the direction the Sonic movie is taking, but it’s not worth the time and energy to get upset about it.
Besides, I still have almost 30 years of wonderful games, comics, cartoons and other Sonic media I can enjoy. No film, no matter how bad, can take that away