Director – Jeff Fowler – 2022 – US – Cert. PG – 122m
Sonic teams with Tails The Fox to battle the dastardly Dr. Robotnik and powerful, red nemesis Knuckles – out in cinemas on Friday, April 1st.
With Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) trapped on a mushroom planet, Sonic The Hedgehog (voice: Ben Schwartz) is busy trying to recreate himself as Batman-modelled superhero Blue Justice, but after his attempts to stop robbers in a security van end up decimating an entire block of the city with their explosives, that doesn’t look quite such a smart career move.
Meanwhile, the dastardly Dr. Robotnik is building a device to open a portal and return himself to Earth, where he seeks the green diamond which will give its owner ultimate power. Once opened, the portal introduces Robotnik to Knuckles (voice: Idris Elba), basically a bigger and more powerful red-furred version of the blue-furred Sonic with far more physical power and far less intelligence.
Now living with human substitute parents Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) in homely Green Hills, Montana, Sonic although described in the press handouts as a teenager is to all purposes played as a pre-teen boy keen to go off on his own and have adventures but not quite independent enough to do so (a conundrum that doesn’t really work). This allows for a whole sub-plot about his adoptive parents leaving him alone while they go off to Hawaii for the wedding party of Maddie’s older sister Rachel (Natasha Rothwell) to Randall (Shemar Moore).
While you’re wondering exactly what a subplot about his parents going off to a wedding is doing in a movie like this, Sonic is befriended by Tails (voice: Colleen O’Shaughnessey, who previously voiced the character in the video game), an orange fox with two tails who can use them like helicopter blades to fly around.
As with the previous film, the CG effects impress – not least the convincing, character animated, physical presence of the anthropomorphised Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. That’s fine as far as it goes, but for me, it wasn’t sufficient to carry the proceedings which mostly fail to engage. Something else is needed, and whenever he’s onscreen, Jim Carrey as the villain goes some way to providing it, having a lot of fun with the character second time round. The villainous Carrey’s interplay with his henchman Stone (Lee Majdoub reprising his role from the first film) proves a further asset with Stone improbably converting the local coffee shop he runs into a state-of-the-art, high-tech lair for his beloved master.
Memorable, visual FX-based set pieces scattered through the film include an avalanche, an ocean that parts The Ten Commandments / Red Sea style to reveal an ancient temple location housing the green diamond and, in the final reel, the stripping down of tanks and other assorted vehicles to recombine their constituent parts into a towering mecha for a final confrontation. The fabulous opening, set on Robotnik’s planet of exile, reinvents the wacky board game of yore The Mousetrap Game with mushrooms.
Overall, though, it’s hard to see what there is for adults in this second installment, even though younger children will likely enjoy watching the fantastical characters of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Perhaps die-hard fans of the game will enjoy it too. However, if you’re neither a small child nor already an admirer of the game, while all the hard work that’s gone into the visuals can be seen up there on the screen, the parts without Jim Carrey or his minion are likely to leave you cold.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is out in cinemas in the UK on Friday, April 1st.