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SYFY WIRE Sonic the Hedgehog

Early VFX reel for Sonic the Hedgehog turns the live-action movie into a 64-bit video game

By Josh Weiss
Sonic the Hedgehog previs

If you thought Sonic the Hedgehog looked scary before Paramount decided to green-light a full character redesign, then you're in for a rude awakening for some early VFX footage for the video game film. It's even more uncanny than that abomination glimpsed in the first trailer released last April.

The pre-visualization (or "previs") reel comes to us from Ellery Ortiz, a visual effects artist who has worked on such major features as Avengers: Age of UltronRogue One, Aquaman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Terminator: Dark Fate. In this collection of VFX-heavy moments from the film, you can view an early version of the scene where Sonic and Tom try to escape from Robotnik's robots on the highway, as well as the sequence where Robotnik (armed with one of the titular speedster's super-charged quills) chases Sonic around the globe.

"Working from storyboards, I created animation and defined timing of action in the shots. Sweetened with FX and Lighting elements," Ortiz wrote in the reel's caption on Vimeo. "Defined camera composition and lens choices for the purposes of storytelling."

Basically, it looks like a blocky, old school video game version of the movie. Which is just kinda trippy.

Watch now:

A sequel to the film, which made over $300 million at the worldwide box office just prior to the coronavirus pandemic, is already in the works, with Jeff Fowler set to return as director. Tails the fox (voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey) was introduced via a mid-credits scene. The follow-up project (written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller) is scheduled to hit theaters everywhere April 8, 2022.

At this time, it's unclear whether Ben Schwartz ("Sonic"), Jim Carrey ("Dr. Robotnik"), James Marsden ("Tom Wachowski"), and Tika Sumpter ("Maddie Wachowski") will return to the budding series. Given the positive response to the first movie, however, it would be rather suspect if they didn't wish to come back.