The Sonic movie is coming soon (here if you’re reading this later) fast! It is the next film in a long line of video game adaptations that looks terrible on its face. I am not going to see it or review it. You should not either.
I try to be a reasonable guy and give media the benefit of the doubt. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) might be the best film of the year, but I am not going to see it because the film studio is tricking you (or is trying to trick you) into seeing the film. That is what all marketing movie marketing is honestly. But you should be leery of it more so than ever in this case.
To illustrate my point let’s go back all the way to the original trailer and character reveal in April 2019. This might not be the most accurate date, but the original trailer is pretty buried in the YouTube algorithm, but not the point. Now remember that trailer. We see the man-hog with attitude, a dull, lifeless world, and Jim Carrey putting into all the effort. The trailer sucked. It was the equivalent of a movie studio tossing its dumpster onto the closest internet server. It caught attention for that, and for possibly being a new “so bad it’s good” classic.
If sugar coated studio garbage is your thing I don’t blame you. Laughing at the worst uses for millions of dollars is what we are owed if the richest are going to blow their money bad movie pitches. I may actually have gone to see that film. It looked hideous, but at least it was someone’s vision and idea.
Then the studio got scared and pulled the film to change Sonic’s look and try to sell us that he does come from the wacky, surrealist world of the games. Now it went from a movie I could hate watch to a movie I hate.
When I say hate, I don’t necessarily mean I hate the movie itself, but what the movie represents.
Movies made by a committee of boardroom suits are normal. I mean look at those recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies. Actually, those two films are a perfect example of what happened to the Sonic film and what can happen to films in the future. The first TMNT film in 2014 was a rush job after it was revealed the turtles will be aliens, and a white guy is playing Shredder so they cobbled a Wikipedia page into a film with all the style of a flashlight. It somehow made money so the studio decided to shift tone and style in the sequel to be closer to the classic TV series, but couldn’t even get the storytelling of a cash grab 80s show.
None of that seems like a bad thing. Learning from mistakes to make a better film should be what all series try to do. The difference is the why. TMNT Out of the Shadows and the Sonic movie were not changed because the director, writer, or production crew really wanted that. It was changed because the studio thought it would please fans and make them a couple extra bucks.
Wanting money is good. Tricking people is not. So the studio changed Sonic’s look because they “listened to the fans.” A better question is why they thought the original design was good in the first place. I am not going to galaxy brain a way into saying all of this was a long planned marketing gimmick. It wasn’t. Instead the movie studio is claiming it listened to you and now says those same fans should support the film after they had to be told the man-hog was a terrible idea, and totally devoid of creativity. It’s a trick. It’s retroactively trying to fix one bad idea and sell it like they have learned. They haven’t, and letting them get away with it now will cause problems.
What problems could listening to the fans create? I mean the easiest thing I need to point to is what happened to the Star Wars Sequels. I may like them, but it shows a trend. Trailers and promotional material will no longer be trying to sell the movie, but gauge what fans want the movie to be and changing it to match the feedback. The issue is that fans don’t know what they want. They say there are elements they want, but often times that doesn’t make for the best media. Look at the gulf in quality of the Hellboy movies. Two were made with a vision and no support of fans. The other tried too hard to please everyone that it was Hellbad (ha, terrible pun).
The point, however, is that seeing the Sonic movie does not say that you are supporting a company that listens to you. It is saying that you support a company that does not care about its people or has faith in the products it creates. You’re supporting a company that will try to please everyone until that well dries up, then they will move onto the next well because they don’t care about you. They care about themselves.
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