Monday, April 11, 2022


Would I have liked Sonic the Hedgehog 2 when I was 11 years old? Certainly. The whole thing feels built from a checklist of everything an 11-year-old would love. It has: a plucky boyish hero with a bit of an attitude, space critters in different primary colors and with complementary abilities, magic portals, little robots, big robots, video game sound effects, lasers, explosions, fast cars, swimming pools, flatulence, a music montage of home-alone misbehavior, baseball, volleyball, skateboarding, Rube Goldberg machines, a treasure map, ice cream, magic birds, a ruined wedding, secret agents, improbable gadgets, impenetrable lore, video game logic, an avalanche, a hidden temple with booby traps and ancient magic jewels, biplanes, golf carts, a mountain tavern where tough guys have dance-offs, non-threatening military men who say things like “My God!” while staring at clouds of special effects, and a cast that includes Jim Carrey returning to wacky mode as the villain while everyone else is either comic relief or standing around to cheer the heroes on. All of the above is presented brightly and plainly, with total earnestness and jokes only a fifth grader would enjoy. The only problem is that I’m not 11 any more.

The sequel is undeniably leveled up in some ways from the first hit movie based on the classic Sega game starring the eponymous blue super-speedy hedgehog. That one somehow stranded Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as a passenger on a road trip with a human cop (James Marsden) and his fiancé (Tika Sumpter) for most of the way, though the glowing-portal action sequences and Carrey’s literal mustache twirling like it was 1994 again were reasonably enjoyable. It’s now bigger and louder and more stuffed with character and incident and running around. (Though weirdly Sonic still isn’t consistently using his super speed to its most effective escape potentials.) But it’s also just more of the same, cartoony effects in a formulaic story scurrying around for a couple hours while the score pounds and the subwoofer rumbles before we all learn a valuable lesson about teamwork. Director Jeff Fowler once again does sturdy work framing the live-action and animation, keeping things bright and quick, moving right along. It goes down painlessly. Passable at best, it’s perhaps most interesting for how the first Sonic movie, released February 2020, was the last big blockbuster before the pandemic, and now the filmmakers have managed to make the sequel during it and released as we are hoping to near its end. (Ah, that just leaves war and weather on the apocalypse bingo card.) That gave me the bittersweetly empty feeling that, hey, the world might be ending, but at least we got two reasonably okay Sonic movies. But, you know what they say, you can’t be 11 again.

No comments:

Post a Comment