Sonic the Hedgehog 2
by George Wolf
I apologize in advance if I slip and call him Crash Bandicoot. I know it’s Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog, but I’ve got limited first hand experience with any game after Frogger and sometimes get careless.
I do have experience with the first Sonic the Hedgehog movie from two years ago, so more of that same broadly-drawn, kid-friendly eye candy was not a surprise. What I wasn’t expecting was so much more of it, and those 30 extra minutes turn a harmlessly forgettable romp into a real test of patience.
Most of the gang returns from part one, including Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, that speedy little alien who runs around Seattle looking for opportunities to earn the heroic moniker of “Blue Justice!”
But his human “dad” Tom (James Marsden) cautions Sonic of the need to grow up and remember that the moments that make a hero are not for him to choose.
Sonic will get those chances to prove himself, thanks to the return Dr. Robotnik aka “Eggman” (Jim Carrey) and a new, not blue meanie from space.
The ginger-maned Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) is a skilled Echidna warrior with an old score to settle against the hedgehog. That means Sonic and his buttcopter-powered pal Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey) will have to fight harder than ever to make sure the all-powerful Master Emerald does not fall into evil hands.
Director Jeff Fowler again shows a good feel for letting the effects department do some flexing, and the mixing of live action with animation is admittedly impressive.
But like the first film, the storytelling here is so exaggerated that even Carrey’s cartoonish mugging doesn’t seem that much over the top. Screenwriters Pat Casey and Josh Miller get an assist this time from John Whittington (The Lego Batman Movie), but are still committed to putting big, obvious eyebrows on nearly everything.
The welcome exception is Knuckles, and Elba’s perfectly authoritative delivery makes his character’s humorless interactions that much more humorous. It’s the one aspect of the film that doesn’t seem geared to keep the attention of easily distracted children.
But hey, kids, how do you like dance offs? Sonic 2 sets the needle drop and move busting level to unnecessary, pushing the run time to nearly two hours, even before the obligatory mid-credits peek at part three.
And all this time I thought speed was Sonic’s superpower.
Or maybe that’s Crash.