Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a chaotic attempt to replicate the unexpected success of the original.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2, directed by Jeff Fowler, develops on the weaker elements of the original, losing its steam in the process, but ultimately finds comfortability relying on its ability to riff off the SEGA franchise.
As a narrative, any cohesion is rather lacklustre, with Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) partnering with Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba) to obtain Master Emerald, with our protagonist Sonic, voiced brilliantly by Ben Schwartz, finding alliance with new-comer, Tails (Collen O’Shanussy) while his friend slash guardian Tom (James Marsden) disappears to Hawaii for a wedding.
The entire Hawaii set-piece is where the film falls apart and loses any traction.
While I appreciate the writers’ want to differentiate the different locales for the story, starting off in Green Zone, as a homage to the game, the entire Hawaii portion of the film feels as if the crew were holidaying after the success of the original, and decided to film scenes to the sequel there and then.
During this Hawaii portion, there’s a government agency dubbed G.U.N.S seeking to imprison Sonic, a betrayal, and a lengthy revenge sequence from Tom’s partner’s sister, Rachel (Natasha Rothwell).
When your side character is more than one step removed from your main hero, why include that in the final cut for any purpose other than to bulk out the runtime.
Despite this, the film wins you over with its clever adoration of the game franchise. After the fanservice re-edit following Human Sonic, it is evident just how much the production wanted the sequel to land.
Seeing Sonic, Tails and Knuckles share a screen was an utter joy and took me back to my days playing Sonic Heroes on the GameCube, with each character having unique powers and flaws exampled in the film.
Further, the knowledge of the games even down to how it made us feel playing them was replicated in the film, with Sonic having a near-drowning experience, emulating the fearful soundtrack of the original game.
While I am of no doubt that SEGA will try to produce these films for as long they make money, I am truly curious as to how much longer this film franchise has legs.
Especially as with this film clearly being a love letter to the sequel game released in 1992, I dread to think what the film adaptation to Sonic Unleashed would look like.
However, as evident from this cinematic adaptation, the franchise could lose its momentum, trundling towards the finish relying on out-of-place cinematic references, and swearing in order to keep audiences engaged.
Hearing Sonic the Hedgehog swear not less than five minutes after Dr Robotnik is an odd sentence to write, let alone experience, and that’s not even discussing watching Jim Carrey floss, or Sonic breakdance to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk.
This fever dream of a sequel definitely had me engaged, but if its already greenlit sequel and live-action TV series are to stand a chance, Paramount Pictures and SEGA may need to rethink their strategy.
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