Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Official SpongeBob Twitter Trolls the 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Movie

The SpongeBob SquarePants Twitter trolls the upcoming live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie with their own "redesign" of the iconic children's character.

SpongeBob SquarePants is an animated comedy show airing on Nickelodeon since 1999, following the adventures and shenanigans of the titular sponge in the underwater town of Bikini Bottom. The show is immensely popular and one of the defining cartoons of a generation, as its memorable characters and quirky writing that can get laughs out of fans of all ages still permeates pop culture today.

Sonic the Hedgehog, an upcoming live-action movie based on the similarly iconic video game franchise, made headlines and punchlines for the original design of its main character, which was so heavily criticized that Sonic was completely redesigned, a move that set back Paramount Pictures about $5 million. Eventually, the eerily life-like Sonic was replaced by a more cartoonish version that more closely resembled the games, staying faithful to the one created by Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima, and was much more positively received by fans.

The official SpongeBob Twitter posted an image (above) of two side-by-side depictions of the undersea fry cook with the caption: "If SpongeBob were the #SonicMovie." On the left, a hideously realistic SpongeBob with unsettlingly human-like eyes, visibly hairy legs, and a row of terribly realistic human teeth - Sonic's teeth were one of the things fans found most unnerving about that first trailer, and the image of SpongeBob perfectly captures the creepiness of that part of the design. Of course, the leg stubble on the faux SpongeBob just might take it to a whole other level; on the right, a more familiar SpongeBob strikes the same pose.

Sonic the Hedgehog, starring Ben Schwartz as Sonic along with Jim Carrey and Westworld's James Marsden, releases this Valentine's Day after the redesign caused the film to be delayed by three months. In the series of video games, Sonic is an anthropomorphic hedgehog with super speed, whose main goal is usually to collect rings and stop the evil Dr. Robotnik. The 2020 film has Sonic leaving his alternate dimension and entering ours, where his incredible speed causes a power outage, alerting the government to his presence, who promptly send Robotnik (Carrey) on his trail. With the recent release of Detective Pikachu, another live-action video game adaptation with some unsettling depictions of the usually adorable Pokemon, the original trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog was so widely ridiculed for Sonic's appearance that the drastic redesign had to be announced.

Although Sonic's director Jeff Fowler had his nerves about the redesign, the ultimate product was a clear improvement, and as some suspected, was the original intention of the artists before the studio intervened. Some fans worried about the amount of work these artists were asked to do in the relatively short three months, but when other brands and shows are jumping in on the joke, something has to be done.

The timing of SpongeBob's trolling is certainly meant to coincide with Sonic's release this Friday. Both Nickelodeon and Paramount are owned by ViacomCBS.

SpongeBob SquarePants himself also has upcoming movie. The 3D film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, which dropped a new trailer during this year's Super Bowl, will see SpongeBob and Patrick go on a massive search after SpongeBob's beloved pet Gary the Snail goes missing. The movie is set to be released during Memorial Day weekend. The series, which is currently celebrating 20 years on air with the "Best Year Ever", also has a couple of spin-offs in the works: Kamp Koral, following 10-year-old SpongeBob SquarePants during his summer at sleepaway camp, is also slated to premiere on Nickelodeon during Summer 2020, and an untitled spin-off which will focus on Squidward Tentacles, which will debut on Netflix.

It's always interesting to see how the internet absorbs elements of popular culture and adapts them into something new. While the original Sonic movie design is no more, the tweet from the official SpongeBob account shows that it will never be forgotten. It's likely to live on eternally, like so many other popular memes. Of course, the Sonic design will should also be forever remembered as a warning to movie studios about the dangers of veering too far from the source material that fans are familiar with. Because things could quickly get ugly! Let's just hope this is the last time we see SpongeBob SquarePants with human teeth - and the last time we're reminded that Sonic the Hedgehog almost featured its titular character with human teeth.

More Nick: Nickelodeon Marks 20 Years of "SpongeBob SquarePants" with the "Best Year Ever"!

Sources: ScreenRant, ComicBook; Additional source: MediaLeaks.
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