Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (4K UHD review)

  • Review by: Stephen Bjork
  • Revision date: August 24, 2022
  • Format: Blu-Ray disc

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (4K UHD review)


Jeff Fowler

Release date)

2022 (August 9, 2022)


Paramount Pictures

  • Film/program category: VS-
  • Video Note: A
  • Audio quality: A+
  • Additional Rank: B-

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In the thirty years since Sega first introduced sonic the hedgehog for their Genesis, Game Gear and Master System consoles, there have been almost a hundred different follow-up games, variants and compilations in a wide variety of genres: 2D platformers, 3D platformers, racing games, combat, educational games, arcade games, and more. There have even been crossovers that included Nintendo’s Mario character. The series has also made its way into other media, including several animated television series and comic books. With this long history and traditions to build on, it’s no surprise that the franchise finally made its way to the big screen in 2020 with sonic the hedgehog, and that the film was so successful that it spawned a sequel two years later. Nor is it surprising that Sonic fans are passionate about the character, so when the first trailer was released for the original film in 2019, there was a backlash online about how the character was crafted. Paramount took the unusual step of delaying the film’s release date to allow time for the production team to rethink the character, and the decision paid off with $319 million in worldwide box office receipts.

sonic the hedgehog 2 picks up several months after the events of the first film, with the alien Sonic (Ben Schwartz) living on Earth with his adopted human family members Tom (James Mardsen) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter). As Sonic’s nemesis Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is banished to another planet, the friendly blue hedgehog struggles to find his place in the world. When Dr. Robotnik finds his way back to Earth with the help of Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba), Sonic must team up with his new friend Miles “Tails” Prowler (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) to stop the notorious Eggman from conquer the Earth. .

Both Sonic the films were directed by Blur Studios’ Jeff Fowler, who had handled the cut scenes for some of the Sonic video games, so he certainly knew the character. Despite the variety of genres the games have explored, the franchise has always been platformer at heart, so it’s nice that there’s some real platforming action in the sequel. There’s still too little of that in a movie that lasts far too long for its own good, with much of the time spent struggling to dig some emotional depth. That said, there’s a really nice touch near the end when Sonic finally recognizes Dr. Robotnik’s true weakness and empowers himself through it. Plus, the film’s central message is always welcome: real families are what you make of them, not just the result of birth. For Sonic and his adoptive family, water really is thicker than blood.

Cinematographer Brandon Trost captured sonic the hedgehog 2 digitally at 4.5K resolution using ARRI ALEXA mini LF and Red Komodo cameras with Panavision T-series anamorphic lenses. Post-production was completed with a 4K digital intermediate, which was framed at 2 ,39:1 for theatrical release. Paramount has prepared a new 4K Ultra HD version of the film, rated for high dynamic range (Dolby Vision and HDR10 are included on the disc). Whatever you think of the movie, it offers awesome eye candy. The image is razor sharp, with every blade of grass and every grain of sand perfectly delineated. Facial textures are equally impressive, with well-defined features, including facial hair – Robotnik’s mustache is still well-resolved. Admittedly, a large part of the operating time for sonic the hedgehog 2 was generated on a computer, and while it’s likely the effects were rendered in 2K and scaled for compositing, they still fit in well with the extreme clarity of the live footage.

Unsurprisingly, the HDR quality is just as dazzling. Colors are as brilliant as in any video game, but with much more depth thanks to the wide color gamut. Contrast range is generally strong – highlights such as sparkles and other energy effects are blazing, and at the other end black levels are just as deep. There are only a few shots in dimly lit interiors where the contrast range flattens out a bit and black levels are somewhat high, but those moments are few and far between. It’s not quite a baseline transfer, but it’s pretty close.

The main audio is offered in a hyperactive English Dolby Atmos mix which is true demo material. All channels are fully engaged throughout the film, including overhead. It’s such an aggressive mix overall that they can get a little overwhelmed by the nonstop sonic onslaught, but they’re really noticeable in moments like the scene in the underground vault when Sonic breaks through the ceiling, or with the lightning bolts generated by Robotnik later in the story. There’s also a big moment where there are multiple Tails surrounding the viewer, and his voice ping-ponging between them, all around the room. The entire film is filled with prodigiously deep bass and includes plenty of seat-shaking moments. That’s certainly true for sound effects, but the Score Junkie XL delivers its own powerful low end. To paraphrase John Lennon in A hard day’s Night, this soundtrack is a window rattle, son. If you’re used to falling asleep to Disney home movies that feature compromised audio tracks, lacking bass and dynamic impact, this Paramount disc will wake you up spectacularly. Additional audio options include English descriptive audio and Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), French 5.1 and French (Canada) 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Danish, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), French, French (Canada), Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish. Commentary caption options include English, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), French, and French (Canada).

Paramount’s 4K Ultra HD version of sonic the hedgehog 2 is UHD only, meaning it doesn’t include a Blu-ray copy of the film, but instead offers a digital code on a paper insert hidden inside the case, along with a slipcover. The following extras are included, all in HD:

  • Audio commentary by Jeff Fowler and Ben Schwartz
  • Animated short film: Sonic Drone Home (5:19)
  • Deleted and extended scenes (7 in all – 17:17)
  • bloopers (3:18)
  • Music Video: Kid Cudi – Stars in the Sky (3:06)
  • Find your team (6:31)
  • The powerful puncher: Knuckles (5:43)
  • Quick Responses to Fire with Ben Schwartz (3:20)
  • Robotnik reinvented (5:37)
  • A brother for Sonic: Tails (4:46)

In the commentary track, Fowler and Schwartz freely acknowledge the fact that there probably won’t be many people listening to it — they dedicate it to the two fans of their commentary for the first film. This sets the tone for the rest of the track, which is light and energetic. They are clearly friends who enjoy spending time together and they shake things up at all times. There’s a lot of information here for fans of the movie, but it’s worth listening to even for casual viewers. Be sure to stick with it until the end, as they identify the character that appears in the mid-credits scene, and they also call one of the other voice actors and have a quick chat.

The rest of the extras are a mostly superficial collection of deleted scenes, bloopers, and EPK fluff, also with a short subject matter. Sonic Drone Home is a fully animated short featuring a new adventure featuring Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. While Schwartz returns to voice Sonic, neither O’Shaughnessey nor Elba were involved, sadly. There are 7 in total Deleted and extended scenes which can be played alone or in a group: Introduction to the Mushroom Planet, Sonic caught sneaking around, Preparing for Hawaii, Tails meets Wade, Robotnik’s Fake Crowdfunding Program, Knuckles learns the meaning of lyingand Wade discovers Robotnik’s secret hideout.. They were all removed relatively early in post-production, so the effects work is still in animatic form. The bloopers are mostly camera-unfunny muggings, but there’s more Jim Carrey improvising, if that’s your kind of thing. Find your team focuses on the new cast of human characters, with the actors talking about working with Fowler and dealing with effects work. The mighty puncher examines Knuckles’ introduction to the cinematic universe. Rapid responses to fire Schwartz features associating free with one or other of the questions. Robotnik reinvented offers all the Jim Carrey you could want. At least he really seems to be having fun in the role. A friend for Sonic examines the interaction between Sonic and Tails in the film, compared to how they are used in the games.

Producing a big-budget movie based on a video game character can be a challenge, as it’s difficult to strike a balance between appealing to fans of the game and making sense to those who’ve never played it. sonic the hedgehog 2 seems to draw a fine line between the two, so it’s entertaining enough for the whole family. Paramount’s UHD also delivers near-reference quality video and sound, so there’s something here for home theater fans too. We all love our eye candies.

-Stephen Bjork

(You can follow Stephen on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook.)

Key words

2022, 2160p, 4K, 4K Digital Intermediate, 4K UHD, 4K Ultra HD, action, action adventure, Adam Pally, adventure, Ben Schwartz, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc, Blur Studio, Brandon Trost, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, comedy, digital, Doctor Robotnik, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, Donna J Fulks, HDR, HDR10, Hitoshi Okuno, Idris Elba, James Marsden, Jeff Fowler, Jim Carrey, Jim May, John Whittington, Josh Miller, Knuckles, Lee Majdoub, Marza Animation Planet, Melody Nosipho Niemann, Miles Tails Prower, Natasha Rothwell, Neal H Moritz, Original Film, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, Pat Casey, review, Robotnik, Sega, Sega Sammy Group, sequel, Shemar Moore, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog series, Stephen Bjork, Tails, The Digital Bits, Tika Sumpter, Toby Ascher, Tom Butler, Tom Holkenborg, Toru Nakahara, Ultra HD, video game, video game series

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