The Standard of Video Game Adaptations: “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”

The second film in the Sonic film franchise, “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” hit theaters on April 8, 2022.

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Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The promotional poster for “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” draws inspiration from the video game cover of the original “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” which was released in 1992 for the Sega Genesis consoles.

Anik Mridha, Staff Writer

The initial release of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” an attempt to bring the video game into the world of cinema, was not an instant success. The first trailer, released in 2019, brought negative criticism of Sonic’s initial design. As a result, Paramount Studios delayed the movie’s release to 2020 to fix Sonic. The end result: a film with a roaring success, leading to the sequel film revealed two months later.

Now, after the release of “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” on April 8, 2022, the film has grossed a worldwide revenue of $333 million as of May 13, 2022. The movie has a 67% Rotten Tomatoes rating from critics and a 96% from the audience. The movie was a delight for Sonic fans for sticking to the original Sonic games, while giving a plot that appeals to both younger and older audiences.

What really makes this film stand apart from its prequel is the attention to the characters themselves. The first “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie had both a mix of Sonic and the human characters, and while the interactions between the two were great, there wasn’t much really said about Sonic as a whole. 

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” not only does a great job in not only focusing on Sonic a lot more, but also introduces bonds and relationships with new characters such as Tails and Knuckles. The movie puts more emphasis on these bonds, which help build Sonic’s leadership, taking responsibility for others and himself. The slow build-up of dramatic and touching moments of each Sonic character throughout the movie combine together to tell the movie’s message:  what it means to be a hero. 

From little details with the 3D models with distinct features, to facial expressions and how characters appeal to the audience, Paramount Pictures did a wonderful job with the animation of the Sonic characters. Audiences are able to perceive the emotion the characters displayed throughout the film, which was a problem brought up with the initial design of Sonic in the first “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie. 

Aside from the models, the graphic effects brought many of the characters’ powers present to life in the film. From Sonic’s speed to Knuckles’ strength, it’s fun to see big energy blasts happen when these two — along with Eggman’s robots — clash . The animation helps the audience perceive Sonic and others in a realistic setting while not going over the top with unnecessary effects. 

The voice acting of the different Sonic characters were done well. Introducing Idris Elba as Knuckles was surprising, but he has proved that he can bring the character to life with the power of his voice. Throughout the movie, Knuckles was voiced in more of a monotone, but his tone will change overtime throughout the films, and I look forward to seeing that in future adaptations. 

Ben Schwartz comes back as the voice of Sonic, and with a bigger role to fulfill, he has done a great job. He displays Sonic’s emotion accurately enough that I feel as if it’s Sonic who’s talking, not just a voice through a computer model. 

Colleen O’Shaughnessey’s voice acting of Tails fits the theme of his character; however, I felt that more emotion could’ve been displayed through her voice. This could be definitely improved in future Sonic films as we see more Sonic and Tails action. 

On the human side of the film, Jim Carrey did an outstanding job of portraying Eggman. The sassy, confident, arrogant characterization is done wonderfully, and the experience as a whole from Jim Carrey’s performance was what made the movie great to watch. He played the perfect villain role, while also adding comedic relief that reached all fans alike. While it may not have the same impact with older fans as with younger fans, it’s still a memorable experience never to forget.

The movie was an amazing sequel and a great improvement over the first movie. With more emphasis on the plot and the Sonic characters, it brought the characters into reality. 

I give this movie a 8.5/10 rating. While the plot might not appeal to all, as it’s mainly directed towards a younger audience with quirky humor and execution of serious moments, it definitely brings back the nostalgia of Sonic alongside Tails and Knuckles. I will happily look forward to the next film of the franchise.