SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 is obviously the sequel movie to Sonic the Hedgehog. For those of you who have had other things to do in the two years since the original film premiered on world screens, Sonic the Hedgehog (original recipe) was an adaptation of the Sega video game of the same name, which was released back in 1991.
Back then, Sega was searching for a game and a mascot. The Japanese company wanted to compete with Nintendo and their Super Mario brothers. Thus, the blue, speedy hedgehog was born. The Internet informs me that Sonic was supposed to capture the can-do spirit of Bill Clinton, which should remind us all that the 1990s were truly a different era.
All of this is the back-story to the creation of the game. The first part of this movie story went like this: Young Sonic is on his home planet being regularly challenged and chased by a tribe of Echidnas seeking his power. Sonic’s mentor and guardian, Longclaw the Owl, gives Sonic a bunch of rings that open portals to other planets. Sonic is sent to Earth.
He makes his home in a town called Green Hills in Montana. However he is lonely and spends time idolising the local sheriff, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) watching him live his life with his wife, the veterinarian Maddie (Tikka Sumpter). His presence in Green Hills eventually signals the attention of the US Government and evil scientific genius Dr Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Robotnik is determined to find out the source of Sonic’s power and use it to have ultimate control over the world. Only the blue hedgehog and Sheriff Wachowski can stop this terrible consequence from befalling our planet. Robotnik loses. Sonic wins. Sheriff Tom and vet Maddie become Sonic’s Earth parents. Loneliness banished. Love triumphs.
SONIC 2 begins with Robotnik, who has been exiled to the Mushroom Planet, attempting to escape to pursue Sonic, attain power and rule the Universe. The champion of the Echidnas from Sonic’s home planet, a spiky-handed red character called Knuckles, also wants to find our hero. And a two-tailed yellow fox called Tails wants to warn Sonic of the danger that is headed his way. Back on Earth, Sonic is obliviously hanging out at home in Green Hills all on his own because the Wachowskis have gone to Hawaii for a friend’s destination wedding. Earth and the Universe, is in peril, and the Wachowskis aren’t with their supersonic, blue son!
Overall, what we are given with this movie, is much computer-generated action, many gags (both one-liners and slapstick) and several heart-felt moments in which being one’s self but also being in a family, are the most important things an individual can do, apart from saving the Earth from destruction. We are left in no doubt that Robotnik’s lust for power and all-around selfishness is the worst way a human can behave. This struggle of good versus evil, or niceness versus meanness, is very much at the centre of this movie’s PG rated ambitions.
It wants to amuse, thrill and provide ethical guidance, roughly in that order. The main audience is kids, the parental audience is served up some nostalgia in a slew of game references and Easter eggs. The storytelling goes from the functional through to the amusing and clever. There’s even an odd sequence where The Wachowskis are the centre of the story in Hawaii that seems aimed at a potentially adult audience wanting to catch a rom-com adventure. Perhaps director Jeff Fowler is signalling where he would like to go next, creatively.
Voice acting is by Ben Schwartz as Sonic, Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Tails and Idris Elba as Knuckles. The character and performance of the two-fisted Echidna is reminiscent of the character of Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy films. It’s good stuff. In the human team, Jim Carrey is charged with getting the big laughs and again he delivers admirably. His scenes with his offsider, Stone (Lee Majdoub) are fun. Tom Wachowski’s own offisider is amusingly played by Adam Pally. James Marsden, Tikka Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell and Shemar Moore are very funny in the previously mentioned scenes in Hawaii.
Jeff Fowler is also responsible for the first Sonic movie and both used substantially the same teams. The results have the polish of professional filmmakers and the ease and familiarity of industry experience. I personally did like the design of any of the animated characters, but I’m some dude who nit-picks about movies on the Internet. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 is straight-down-the-line fun for an undemanding family audience.
Running time: (2hours 2 minutes). Star rating: 7/10