By Resident Awful Animals Expert Aaron Agamemnon
The early nineties saw a whole slew of video games, usually platformers, which had an anthropomorphic animal as the central character. Sega’s Sonic The Hedgehog was a main influence for these games, and it seemed that developers and gamers couldn’t get enough of them at the time. One such game character to get their own series was Bubsy, a Bobcat who seemed to think he was humorous and endearing. The gameplay was very similar to a lot of the other creature-based games, including Sonic, and the Bubsy games didn’t really stand out as a result. But they made more of them anyway. Now an almost forgotten character, the recent news of Bubsy getting the movie treatment is surprising to say the least. It’s perhaps fitting that the success of the Sonic film is the catalyst for this news, just like all those years ago when the games came out. I interviewed the film’s director Malcolm Yourhair, about his vision for the film, and his response to the backlash on the film’s first trailer.
TDJJ: “Mr Yourhair, the decision to make a Bubsy film certainly seems to be a left field one. How was the initial proposal brought to you?”
MY: “A bunch of executives got in touch with me regarding plans to make a kids film based on the character. I’m not sure they knew who I was, as pretty much all my filmography revolves around horror and exploitation films, like the Murder Me With Your Mouth series and Mallet Mayhem III. They pitched the idea of Bubsy for a new generation, for kids who weren’t around when the below average games first came out. I played a few of them growing up, they were a bit shit. I guess it came about because of the success of the Sonic film. Bubsy is a bit like Sonic, but much less likeable.”
TDJJ: “Reports of the film’s progress had been kept under wraps until the release of the film’s first trailer last week. The criticism of the film’s look, and Bubsy in particular, was so widespread it made the Sonic redesign news feel miniscule by comparison. What are your thoughts on this?”
MY: “I knew people of a certain age would hate this regardless. That’s the internet for you, I even read a post from an 8-year old which simply states “Bubsy is BobCRAP” [sic]. But despite this universal opinion of the character, the main complaint is that it all looks too good. We’re aware that the Bubsy 3D game has had a resurgence lately because of this film, and I think people expected the film to look more like that.”
TDJJ: “I remember that game, horrible in all departments: the bland graphics, empty level design, poor controls…”
MY: “Right? And it’s very odd that, given all the advances in animation since then, people prefer the film to look like an unfinished excuse for a game on the original PlayStation.”
TDJJ: “Well, it is kind of what happened with the Sonic film isn’t it? Fans wanted to see a more cartoony version of him, more like when he was first introduced. The production company went back to change Sonic’s look based on the criticism, putting that film’s release back for a few months. Do you feel that you’d do something similar?”
MY: “We’ve spent a lot of time and money on getting the aesthetic as great as we can already. Bubsy himself has over 20,000 hairs on his body, each moving as realistic as possible and independently from each other. We studied real bobcats on several YouTube videos and everything! We did the same with the friends we designed for him, Shouty the Crow and Irritatey the Rabbit. All this fuss for a character no one really likes.”
TDJJ: “Well, it does sound very odd. But the so-called fans have spoken.”
MY: “I suppose we could do something in the two weeks before the release date. Thinking about it, we can probably just release an earlier render of the film, where we haven’t done any walking animations or mouth movements, and the backgrounds are just flat colours. We’ve also been struggling with some of the story points, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. This way, we wouldn’t have to postpone the release date if this is what people want. Fuck it, that’ll do.”
TDJJ: “And finally, when are we going to see Murder Me With Your Mouth VI? I for one want to know what happened to the corpse of Crinkly Joe, last seen on a bus going to London.”
MY: “Ah, you’ll find out soon enough. As soon as I’ve sorted this crap out, I’ll get on with writing it. Should take me a couple of hours.”
Bubsy The Bobcat: The 3D Movie Which Isn’t 3D, released worldwide in two weeks.