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Jim Carrey Shares Concerns About the 'Collective Consciousness' That Led to Sonic Redesign

Sonic, buddy, you’ve got a little “face” on your face.
Sonic, buddy, you’ve got a little “face” on your face.
Image: Paramount

Sonic has gotta go fast, but did the decision to redesign the hedgehog maybe happen too fast? Jim Carrey, who plays the evil Dr. Robotnik in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie, said the fandom response that resulted in director Jeff Fowler delaying the release to rework the character is the sort of thing that risks turning creative ownership into “Frankenstein’s monster.”

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Speaking at a panel for Showtime series Kidding at the Television Critics Association press tour (as reported by The Wrap), Carrey was asked about the fan response to the design of the title character in Sonic the Hedgehog, which was largely panned for, well, just about everything.

The overwhelming backlash to the teaser trailer initially prompted Fowler to say the character was getting a redesign. However, that announcement led to even more backlash, as it meant the visual effects artists could suffer from an overpacked and burdensome production schedule. A short time later, the film was bumped to February 14, 2020, giving the team an extra three months.

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Some visual effects artists (not connected to Sonic the Hedgehog) previously told io9 they took issue with the fact that negative fan response could prompt this kind of response from a studio. It seems to be an opinion shared by Carrey, who shared his thoughts on the Sonic redesign at TCA.

“I don’t know quite how I feel about the audience being in on the creation of it, while it’s happening,” he said. “Sometimes you find that the collective consciousness decides it wants something and then when it gets it, it goes, ‘OK, I don’t want it’... You become a Frankenstein’s monster at some point, right?”

Carrey added that he didn’t have to do any reshoots for Sonic the Hedgehog as a result of the redesign, and noted how he’s not “super concerned” about how the whole situation plays out in the end. Either way, he’s still playing an evil mustache-twirling scientist with robot birds, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

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Sonic the Hedgehog comes out February 14, 2020. Maybe. We’ll see.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

In the abstract... I don’t disagree.

Customer feedback has to be seen through a filter. They do not always understand what they want or need with respect to the product being created, and it’s easy to have a vocal minority sound like they are representative of a broader opinion.

In this specific case though? Fuck are you smokin’ Carrey?

The movie created an abomination of a well-known, well-beloved character whose distinctive appearance exists across multiple video games and animated series.

The reaction wasn’t a vocal minority, it was not something as controversial as whether the dress was blue or gold. It was a universal, visceral reaction to an absolutely terrible design decision. One that probably could have been avoided by even the most rudimentary consumer testing.

Like seriously... I find it difficult to imagine that no one in the entire process of the films development said at some point “Should we maybe just make Sonic look like he’s always looked? Just y’know... with better graphics?”

Instead we got something that looks vaguely like a 6-year old who somehow put on a Sonic the Hedgehog skin suit and proudly zoom about the Uncanny Valley.