Months after Paramount Pictures decided to shelve Sonic the Hedgehog for a total redesign of its titular character (voiced by Ben Schwartz), SEGA fans will finally get to see the movie in theaters this Friday (Feb. 14). Recently speaking with Digital Spy, director Jeff Fowler talked about his anxiety in regard to the CGI overhaul, which delayed the release by three months.
"I think it had been about five months that had passed since the first trailer. We had worked very hard on our updates to the character. It was definitely a little bit of like, 'Oh man, what happens if they don't like this?'" he said. "But really, everyone that saw it internally as I was working on the film, just responded so positively. It really felt like, once we shared it with the fans, they would really embrace it and be excited about it."
The director's nerves completely dissipated when the second trailer hit the web on Nov. 12., four days after Paramount initially planned to debut the movie to the public. Luckily, overjoyed viewers ignored the setback, choosing to focus more on the update, which adhered to the classic and recognizable aesthetic for Sonic.
"Fortunately, any anxiety I had the night before passed really quickly once it was released. Because, yeah, it was such an incredible feeling to see Sonic 2.0 get embraced the way it was," he continued.
Aside from the iconic and blue-quilled speedster, the project's biggest draw is Jim Carrey, who takes up the role of Dr. Ivo Robotnik, a machine-loving government scientist looking to unlock and control Sonic's power.
"With Robotnik, there wasn't quite so much to pull from with the source material, because he is very mustache-twirly, and for the purposes of the film, we were trying to keep him a little bit more grounded," added Fowler during his chat with Digital Spy.
Thanks to a string of press screenings this past weekend, we now have the first reactions to Sonic, and you know what? The film actually sounds like a crowd-pleasing surprise hit for the entire family that totally understands its beloved video game source material. It also sounds like the whole character redesign resulted in a much better end product.
Carrey is, of course, taking the lion's share of praise for a kookily endearing performance that finds the comedic actor back in a welcome and scene-chewing form we haven't seen from him in years. Plus, early audiences are speaking of some pretty great bonus scenes during the end credits, so whatever you do, don't leave the theater!
Written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller, Sonic the Hedgehog co-stars James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Adam Pally, and Neal McDonough. Based on early projections, the movie could open to $41 million to $47 million in North America this coming weekend.