Making Valentine’s Day plans can be stressful, so how lucky for us that Paramount has already come up with a suggestion for next year by pushing the release date of “Sonic the Hedgehog” to Feb. 14, 2020. What better way to show your love than with a pair of tickets to the movie starring James Marsden and Sonic, his latest CGI animal friend? (Opposite an evil, mustachioed Jim Carrey, no less.)
“Taking a little more time to make Sonic just right,” director Jeff Fowler tweeted Friday morning, with an illustration of the hedgehog’s gloved hand holding a sign displaying the new date.
The timing is just a happy coincidence, of course, as the real reason Paramount delayed the movie, originally slated for a Nov. 8 release, has to do with the outcry that came after the trailer’s release at CinemaCon three weeks ago. Backlash is somewhat typical of live-action adaptations that draw from nostalgic source material, but this instance had less to do with the movie existing – though there was some of that – and more to do with the main character’s appearance.
Specifically, his teeth. The furry blue hedgehog had human teeth.
The movie follows Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and police sheriff Tom Wachowski (Marsden) as they face off against the evil Doctor Robotnik (Carrey). After Tom discovers Sonic in the trailer, the hedgehog tries to play it cool. “Uh, meow?” he says with his arms outstretched, mouth open wide and chompers on full display. Tom’s immediate response is to yell – displaying his own, appropriate set of human teeth – and shoot Sonic with a tranquilizing dart.
“WHY ARE HIS TEETH SO HUMAN,” one Twitter user demanded to know. Someone else referred to them as Sonic’s “most cursed aspect.” The disturbed reactions were so widespread that Vulture even asked a real-life hedgehog dentist why she believed people were so upset. She said that “hedgehog teeth are cute and small, just like them,” so maybe people “don’t think big teeth match the tiny, cute hedgehog.”
Fowler, who rarely tweets, returned to the platform within days to respond.
“Thank you for the support. And the criticism,” he wrote. “The message is loud and clear... you aren’t happy with the design & you want changes. It’s going to happen. Everyone at Paramount & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be...”
But changes to visual effects require a lot of time and hard work, which Fowler acknowledged in his tweet on Friday with the lengthy hashtag #novfxartistswereharmedinthemakingofthismovie.
The countdown to Valentine’s Day begins.