She-Hulk Trailer Compared to Sonic 2019

Last week the highly anticipated trailer for Disney+’s She-Hulk show (She-Hulk: Lawyer at Law) is released into the reaction mixture. Beyond the love for some of the scenes and tone of the show, everyone was confused by how the green version of the famous attorney and Bruce Banner’s cousin, Jessica Walters, aka She-Hulk, was portrayed. When Disney announced Tatiana Maslany would be Walters, I wasn’t as worried as I was about casting Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Even though She-Hulk is much bigger, there are many ways Marvel Entertainment could approach it.

The best looking is probably the practical effects together with minimal CGI, like how Lord of the Rings trilogy using forced perspective shots. Or the use of two or more players (like the 1970s show where Bill Bixby played Bruce and Lou Ferrigno played The Hulk) with some facial adjustments using make-up and/or CGI. This would suit an Earth-bound origin with a day job as a lawyer akin to a Netflix show. Or, as we recently found out, they could use, it seems, total CGI. Again not a red flag, as many of Marvel’s Dinsey+ events have shown excellent examples of VFX (a combination of CGI and real-world elements.)

However, in this case, ‘very good’ doesn’t really apply. The She-Hulk animation is oddly sleek, unimaginative, and very crude despite Disney’s time and resources.

Many people online have compared the poster to Fiona from the Dreamworks classic Shrek and Elphaba from the Broadway musical-smash in film adaptation development hell Wicked. Fiona’s comparison feels unfair because in that film she is more rounded. It felt like for every 1,000 model-like women (depicting the “trend” body of the time, be it slim, curvy, or slim-thick) leading in the movies, there were 100 round women and maybe one muscular goddess.

VFX artist speaks up

One of the repeated direct complaints from those who saw the images and the trailer noted how similar it looks to the original Sonic The Hedgehog trailer in 2019. Now, thanks to Chip ‘n Dale: Guardian Rescue, I call this phenomenon ‘Ugly Sonic’. It seems they opted for the more realistic She-Hulk as if the Hulk wasn’t there free from the confines of the male gaze. The reaction to She-Hulk was not an outright “raise the pitchfork” but a collective confusion about how to move forward without the VFX team being overworked. There is no proof Sonic the team was overworked by Paramount for the five-month delay and turnaround, but it’s a more significant industry issue.

On the now deleted account (which one? TMS writer Kalia Hale-Stern digs), VFX artist Sean Ruecroft tweeted on May 18, “I was at the company that did the VFX for this. Apparently, he was bigger from the start, but records keep saying to ‘make him smaller.’ We always roll our eyes (like we did at Sonic), but in the end artists have to follow orders.”

If they keep having to make the body smaller, this will slow down the animation process and might also explain the sloppy look. Other artists also confirmed this to be the case, but no one with an identifiable name like Ruecroft went viral.

This is a regular problem with Disney. When everyone expressed our love for Luisa after the release Encanto, some artists (like Dylan Ekren) say thank you, because they fought so hard to keep him muscular. You could say they feel surface pressure to play up the standard of feminine beauty. Disney even caught up on merchandising as everyone was scrambling to find Luisa’s toys and party supplies, but they put most of their eggs in Mirabel and Isabela’s basket. The classic Star Wars glitch (also owned by Disney.)

Not sure how to express concern

I’ve been wrestling with how to express my problem with the She-Hulk character within a second of seeing it. I’m not criticizing Maslany’s body at all, just as I wouldn’t be criticizing Mark Ruffalo’s body. I’m annoyed by the fact that this final product is what Marvel wants to do the most. Artists regularly poke fun at the limitations imposed on female characters’ body types and shapes, talk about their work, and then have to make these women smaller, be it muscles or curves.

To be fair, the MCU can change whatever they want, and She-Hulk does look a lot like the Walters who came out in the 1980s and early 2000s (led by John Byrne). Still, it’s disappointing that artists looking to push storytelling on par with comics (which are now a decade into the future) in terms of diversity—including body types—but some people in decision-making positions keep it down.

(featured image: Marvel)

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