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Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is Bursting with Ideas

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega.

For gamers, there are few more agonising sounds than the PLING! of Sonic the Hedgehog losing his gold rings, knowing he must scramble to collect them again. Hopefully, the agony is short-lived, followed by the satisfying feeling of Sonic re-collecting the rings. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the movie, is a frenetic CGI ride that’s also satisfying for gamers and viewers alike.

Decent video game to movie crossovers are as rare and valuable as those gold rings. But Sonic 2 comes from a good pedigree. The first Sonic movie is a broad, almost frat-boy comedy in the vein of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It worked on audiences and the film made very good returns. Sonic 2 takes things up a notch, packing an awful lot into its two hours.

The sequel sees our titular spiky blue hero (Ben Schwartz) settling into life in Greenhills, Montana. Sonic is keen to use his speedy powers for good, causing chaos for foster parents Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter). Meanwhile, Dr Robotnik, AKA Eggman (Jim Carrey) remains in exile on a ridiculously cute mushroom planet. That is, until he’s sprung by Sonic’s arch enemy, Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba). The sole survivor of a serious war (for a kid’s game), Knuckles is searching for the mystical Master Emerald. Back on Earth, Sonic has a weekend to himself. Tom and Maddie are away at Maddie’s sister Rachel’s (Natasha Rothwell) wedding to the shifty Randall (Shemar Moore) in Hawaii. Sonic also happens to have a map to the Master Emerald, leading Robotnik and Knuckles to converge on Green Hills. Luckily, an adorable two-tailed yellow fox, Miles ‘Tails’ Prower (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) comes to Sonic’s aid. Tails has been tracking Sonic using homemade gizmos. Cue, mayhem everywhere, including in Hawaii. The many plot threads interconnect as the hunt for the Master Emerald gathers pace.

Sonic 2 is witty, crazy and looks fantastic. Director Jeff Fowler returns, weaving in his knowledge of gameplay. There’s loop speed running, earth-quaking punches and a riot of vivid colour. The voice actors are all doing the work, particularly Schwartz and O’Shaughnessey. However, the real stars are Carrey and Rothwell, both experts in physical comedy. Carrey’s villain is always the right kind of ridiculous, especially when ordering around his infatuated lackey, Agent Stone (Lee Majdoub). And whereas animated video game movies are not usually the home for charming tales of adult love, Rachel’s story fits in perfectly. One of the best scenes has Rachel and Maddie riding golf carts shooting cute-but-deadly weapons from Tails’ backpack to keep the FBI at bay.

Sonic 2 is not, alas, a short movie. There are so many characters to give screen time, at times it feels overstuffed. Adam Pally returns as deputy Sheriff Wade, a decent, funny character with nothing to do. Perhaps we don’t need every cool dude with attitude?

Ultimately, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is good. It’s a fun, family movie which looks terrific on the big screen with a laugh-laden story for all ages.

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