Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog: A tale of two video game movies. Whereas Detective Pikachu's fuzzy rendition of Pikachu and squishable Psyduck already have hordes of fans ahead of its May 10 release date, Sonic the Hedgehog's rendition of Sonic mostly has people lining up to the alien-looking blue hedgehog with a stick.
Sonic the Hedgehog movie director Jeff Fowler responded to backlash about Sonic's weird/creepy design with the promise of a fix before the movie premieres this November. Nobody's sure how an overhaul of the movie's star is supposed to happen in six months (neither Fowler nor the studio behind Sonic, Paramount, has announced a delay). Detective Pikachu director Rob Letterman says the alteration will prove "very difficult."
"For us, it would have been impossible—but that doesn’t mean they can’t do it," Letterman told The Verge when it caught up with him shortly after the news about Sonic's redesign dropped. "I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes—they’re in a difficult spot."
Letterman also told The Verge the Detective Pikachu team spent two years studying animal designs and consulting with The Pokemon Company to make sure they got everything right the first time.
"We studied a lot of animals and how they behave and how they interact to ensure we got it right. Bulldogs, in particular, for Bulbasaur and how they act in packs or how they get you to pay attention," Letterman says. "There’s an extraordinary amount of craft that went into making the movie on the animation side as we tried to bring everything to life."
The Detective Pikachu team's attention to detail seems to have paid off. The movie currently sits at a 70% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not exactly the Second Coming of Gone with the Wind, but definitely a big step up for video game movies—and nearly every review agrees Detective Pikachu's depiction of Pokemon is its greatest strength.