Genre: CG Animation
Director: Jeff Fowler
Cast: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore, Colleen O'Shaughnessey, Idris Elba, Jim Carrey
Runtime: 2 hrs 2 mins
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 31 March 2022
Synopsis: The world's favorite blue hedgehog is back for a next-level adventure in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2. After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search for an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.
We aren’t film snobs, but let’s be honest about movies based on video games. They are never meant to be cinematic masterpieces, and rarely would they be submitted for film festivals and go on to win awards for best screenplay. Most of the time, movies of this genre are meant to please long time fans, spark the interest of the uninitiated or simply, cash grab machines to sell merchandise.
Remember how the Internet reacted when the first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog was first released in 2019? There was uproar among fans and it was for good reason. Sonic’s initial design was so creepy, it gave some people nightmares. We got chills just by looking at the hyper real fur, eyes and teeth. The huge fan backlash forced the filmmakers to do a redesign the film was postponed to February 2020. It was a box office success, and presto – here’s the sequel with the addition of two other fan favourites: Tails and Knuckles.
The story isn’t the greatest thing about the popcorn movie. Sonic (voiced by an ever energetic Ben Schwartz) and Tails (voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey) must find the location of a magic emerald to save the world (but of course), and before doing that, there is a map, a magic compass, an underground temple full of traps and antagonists who are chasing them every step of the way. The returning bad guys are Dr Robotnik (a deliciously manic Jim Carrey), Agent Stone (Lee Majdoub), and the addition of Knuckles (Idris Elba effortlessly chanelling gruff and toughness). Elsewhere, in an unnecessary side plot, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) are in Hawaiiattending a wedding.
If you (and your family comprising young kids) enjoyed the first movie, then this would be a fun outing to the cinema for everyone as well. Tails is an adorable addition to the cast, and the notion of him trying to find a family is wholesomely sweet. While the 122 minute runtime feels somewhat indulgent compared to the first movie’s agreeable 99 minute duration (did we really need to see Sonic and Tails having a dance off challenge with Siberian thugs?), it is still entertaining enough to milk some chuckles. The writers took the effort to insert some pop culture references for the older viewers to spot, and delivered fan service with numerous Easter eggs. The climatic sequence where the villainous Dr Robotnik fights the good guys in a gigantic mech brings to mind how we had to defeat the bad guy in the video game’s boss battles.
What we think makes the movie work is the decision to cast Carrey as the baddie. The actor made audiences sit up and pay attention in the first movie, and in this sequel, he brings the wackiness up a notch. Fans who enjoy Carrey’s antics in screwball comedies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) and The Mask (1994) are in for a treat as he continues to display the same zaniness. Remember how the Riddler was brought to life in Batman Forever (1995)? Relive those moments as Carrey delivers an over the top performance.
As for the question to whether there’ll be a third movie for this franchise? Judging from the post credits scene, it is most probably happening. Get ready for the Sonic cinematic universe!
(If you aren't asking for too much, this family-friendly popcorn movie based on one of the most beloved video game characters of all time is a great way to spend two hours in the cinema)
Review by John Li