Just weeks after the Detective Pikachu movie trailer haunted our dreams, Hollywood has ruined yet another perfectly innocent cartoon creature: Sonic the Hedgehog.
Paramount Pictures released the first poster for its 2019 live-action Sonic movie, based on the popular Sega video-game hedgehog known for his quick wits and supersonic speed. In this film, Sonic is not the pleasant and adorable hedgehog that fans have grown accustomed to. Rather, he is a beefy monstrosity:
Not only is this Sonic unsettlingly toned; he’s also furry. Executive producer Tim Miller told IGN that Sonic had to appear that way in order to integrate him into the real world. (The live-action film will feature an animated Sonic amongst human actors; Sonic himself is voiced by Ben Schwartz, who also performed the character’s movements through motion capture.)
Sure, a creature that can run as fast as Sonic probably would have strong legs if he appeared in the flesh in our world. But there’s no rule that he must appear as such in a movie meant to entertain us and not scar our children for life. A live-action film about a talking blue hedgehog need not adhere to realism.
The Detective Pikachu trailer ran into the same problem. Some of its realistic Pokemon—especially the terrifying half-human Mr. Mime—just looked strange when rendered into our three-dimensional human world. To a lesser degree, the animals in Disney’s upcoming “photorealistic” Lion King look off, too. They may appear more like real creatures than the ones in the 1994 original, but they’ve lost much of their emotion and charm in the process.
Both the recent Paddington and Christopher Robin movies did a good job depicting cartoon characters in the same space as actual humans. (Maybe bears are just easier to adapt than hedgehogs?) Cartoons don’t have to be so creepy. They certainly don’t have to have muscles. Please, Hollywood, stop making animated characters so realistic and just make them more fun.