The new trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog (2019) is a shudder-inducing fever dream. With human eyes and a blue skin-tight tracksuit body, Paramount’s Sonic is an uncanny nightmare that has all of us asking, screaming, crying: Is this what the world according to live-action adaptations is destined to become?
In February this year, the internet broke out in shades of live-action blue when the trailer for a live-action Aladdin was released. Seeing Will Smith as the Genie inspired a feeling of uncanny discomfort that immediately translated into a glorious meme-frenzy. Since then, we’ve kind of just accepted – and even become excited for? – the big blue iteration that initially made us collectively cringe. After initial anxieties, the storm seemed to have calmed and the world was back to walking the path of Disney-led CGI lions, tigers and bears. Oh my. Cue the shadowy spectre of a lil blue Hedgehog, ready to smash our sense of reality to pieces.
It started back in December last year with the release of a poster for a live-adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog. In the initial poster, Sonic hits a power pose framed by luminescent blue. Basically, the whole thing looks like a Nike-sponsored marketing campaign directed at a kinky Furry group that I don’t advise you googling. Sonic seemed too buff and just too…human? It was impossible to see the poster without feeling an odd sense of unease in the face of Sonic’s sexy, sexy calf muscles. Flash forward a couple weeks and Paramount releases another poster that pushed the unease up a couple notches. This time we’re…um…between Sonic’s toned legs looking out over San Francisco.
This feels wrong.
Since these posters were released, the uncanny vibes of this live-action Hedgehog have become the subject of mythic-levels of anticipation; and now we have a trailer that confirms just how odd this film is going to be.
The trailer plays out like a chaotic-neutral version of E.T. sprinkled with a dash of The Emperor’s New Groove. James Marsden is there and he’s doing exactly what we did when we saw Sonic for the first time: screaming. It’s a perfect example of everything we felt seeing Will Smith for the first time as the Genie but multiplied ten-fold. Just check out his face: human teeth, beady little eyes, unnatural spikey head protrusions and just full-blown hairy nudity. It’s all wrapped up in a poor attempt at Ryan Reynold-style banter and a body that screams “tight-fitting full-body tracksuit”. These right here are the limits of live-action adaptation.
Sure, the film could be spectacular. The chaotic energy of its titular character is perfect for Jim Carrey (starring as Doctor Eggman), an actor who has used this kind of energy so well in the past. Paramount has clearly spent bucket loads of money on every individual sparkling blue hair – and money always leads to good work, right? Sigh. I guess James Marsden is good too? I still love 27 Dresses?
In any case, this trailer gives us a glimpse into the world we might see more and more as live-action continues its hold on contemporary cinema; a world of childhood nostalgia gone awry, of an uncanny mix of sexy nostalgia that is just oh so wrong.
Sonic will premier November 8th this year.