Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Review: Video Games’ Fastest Hero Trudge Forward

The sequel is probably the most accurate video game adaptation ever made – and that’s no compliment.

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” – or “Sonic 2 The Hedgehog” as the title suggests – is perhaps the most accurate video game adaptation ever filmed. Not because it captures the thrill of speed in exotic locations or even the curiosity to turn a corner and discover an open world. Rather, it re-creates the feeling of walking in front of a Character that no player is waiting for, breathing heavily as they wait for the start of a conversation consisting of two or three predefined lines. The designs of his characters accurately reflect these lifeless NPC looks, which are intended to convey the vague appearance of humanity.

This time, it’s not just Sonic the hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) who plays the role, but Tails the fox’s friend (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey) and Knuckles’s opponent Echidna (voiced by Idris Elba). ), three games with dead eyes running from scene to scene without charm or personality.

You can find a couple of laughs, but they really are not much better than Jeff Fowler’s first film from February 2020, which happened to be my last trip to a movie theater before the world closed. If I had known, I would have enjoyed it instead of leaving a few minutes before the end, when a minor character started a screaming Olive Garden commercial that read directly to the camera. Appropriately, watching the sequel felt like a mockery, as if I was being challenged to sit throughout the run without throwing a towel. Just when it looks like the movie has reached its climax, after about 90 minutes, it goes on and on, and transition, somehow in a little over 2 hours. Maybe I need another two years at home to dare to see this monster.

It’s been a long time since the first movie. Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carey) is stuck on an alien planet, teasing a stylized survival film with an eccentric comedian at its center, but soon escapes and the promise does not last. Sonic, meanwhile, is testing his superhero vigilance back to Earth, causing a slight friction with his surrogate parents, Tom (James Marsden) and Mandy (Tika Sampter), though he’s mostly manual with a heated discussion about that Sonic finds his call. Spoiler alert: It does until the end of the movie, but nothing in between feels connected to this obvious issue.

As Tom and Maddie prepare for a wedding in Hawaii (which the film somehow turns into a depressingly gray destination), problems converge at their home in Montana, thanks to the arrival of a vengeful Robotnik and his new ally Knuckles, who has something like a cultural bone to choose from with Sonic. It also happens that Sonic has an alien fan in the form of Tails, who comes to his rescue. However, the plot soon leaves behind the personal crises of Robotnik and Knuckles and turns to a mystical emerald, which Sonic and Tails must locate before the villains can abuse his power.

If this sounds too neat and clean, do not worry: There also comes a point where the movie completely shifts gears and turns into a weird rom-com that includes the aforementioned Hawaiian wedding. Instead of following in the footsteps of at least one famous character like Tom and Maddie, instead focus on the bride and groom, Maddie’s sister Rachel (Natasha Rothwell) from previous movies – remember her? no? Oh well – and Randall’s fiancĂ©e (Shemar Moore), which leads to whole movie tracks where none of the main characters are on screen and minimal consequences occur.

Again, perhaps this bypass is a mercy. There is not much glue that holds the rest together. For one thing, the very premise of the movie, which includes high-speed characters, seems to disappear from everyone’s memory for most of the screening time (something that the last movie was also to blame for). Scene after scene, Sonic simply ceases to be a character whose essence is “he has to go fast” – although many situations arise where his speed would be useful – and spends most of the film driving, snowboarding or flying around Tails (who soars by turning his two tails around, which is admittedly very nice). Knuckles, similarly, goes from place to place via Robotnik’s high-tech portability, even though it seems to be just as fast.

With half the action of this largely blunt action comedy, the opportunity arises to use this whole journey to get the characters to interact and pop wisely, but the film rarely follows that instinct. None of the actors can do much to save things as they are. Carrey’s active performance in the first film brought her back to the glory days of the ’90s, but she feels much more physically limited here. he is more apt than joking, which is such a blatant abuse of his talents that he should be punished by law. Lee Majdoub is enjoyable in his role of returning as an open-eyed lover in love with Robotnik, but he is far below the screen time ladder to make a difference.

The biggest issue, however, is the main characters of CGI, a trio of hasty creations that are barely moving (no doubt a function of how hard-working Hollywood animators tend to be). The lack of expression makes sense in the case of Knuckles, as the ruthless warrior has a duel, a violent mood and a seemingly constant grunt, but Elba sounds positively unmoved in the role, so it does not help things. . Whether Schwartz is really suitable for vocal work is a mystery, because Sonic rarely has lines that are not just pop culture references, but O’Shaughnessey shows both actors and then some.

As the only performer to come out of the games, the productive vocal actress circles Elba and Schwartz with her lively and distinctly cartoonish rhythm, proving, very conveniently, that throwing merely known screen talents into the vocal chamber is not means they have their abilities. will be translated natively. It’s a lesson Hollywood can handle, but it’s also one of the few dozens that could be highlighted by “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”.

Other such lessons could be summed up to “give your protagonist something to work on” or “make the action fun and exciting”, but these depressingly basic ideas make up a much larger proposition for the forces that are: understand what do you have the film it is, or who it really is, before the conveyor belt is set in motion. The IP itself, and the hip hop soundtrack of the late 1980s and early 1990s, suggest Gen X and the nostalgia of the older millennia. The fart jokes suggest that the film is for teenagers, while a joke about a woman waxing her genitals is probably aimed at their parents. Donald Trump’s Robotnik suggests a completely different focus, and the half-hearted allusions to a family and friendship story suggest a four-quarter family movie, but no sequence of scenes, jokes, or group stories seems likely to catch the eye for long.

It is a visual soup where nothing pops or stands out. Almost nothing is done or said to be rooted in recognizable character traits and despite Marsden’s most sincere efforts, he is once again unable to meet Sonic’s eyes (a production wave that would have been funny if it had not been for another reminder of the VFX crisis). Again, who can blame Marsden’s character for not wanting to look into a lifeless blue abyss?

Grade: C-

Paramount Pictures will release “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” in theaters on Friday, April 8th.

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