Thursday, 8 August 2019

Review: The Angry Birds Movie 2

The Angry Birds Movie 2
Cert: U / 97 mins / Dir. Thurop Van Orman & John Rice / Trailer

So, genuine question: Is Angry Birds still a thing, then? I don't mean 'are people still playing it', because I know that as long as some version of the game is available in the online marketplace, procrastinators of the world will idle away the hours flinging digital birds at digital pigs. I just mean is Angry Birds still enough of a thing to make a movie of? Because even the first entry back in 2016 felt like the window had been missed somewhat (I know animation isn't a quick process, but still). Anyway, the fact that I have no idea what the franchise has been up to for the last three years goes some way to explaining how I approached The Angry Birds Movie 2.

We open on Bird Island, where the war between its avian inhabitants and their porcine nemeses over on Pig Island has cooled to the level of playing constant pranks on one another, albeit pranks with no small level of vigour. But when a mysterious third island suddenly appears and begins hurling giant ice boulders at the other two, the pigs and the birds realise they have to join forces to save their homes and thwart their new enemies - the eagles.


The good news is that if you did enjoy the series' first cinematic outing, the sequel should present no significant problems. Once again the U certificate means the writers have to work harder to get the laughs from silliness and slapstick, and there are solid visual gags throughout. While the packed script doesn't quite have the wryness of its predecessor, it still zips along at an accompanying rate. The story itself is more prone to meandering however, not least because the main narrative is punctuated by a side adventure that feels for all the world like a ten-minute short has been edited into the movie. They both come together at the finale, but you're definitely left with the feeling that each was originally written without the other in mind.

The voice-casting is solid once again, with the characterisations matching their vocal performances almost perfectly. The visuals are as great as you'd want for an animated feature, although it's perhaps notable that there's no 3D option available this time round. Meanwhile, there's some thematic study of teamwork and confidence, but that's a pretty basic lesson for a kids' movie and it only features here to serve the plot. Speaking of which, the film waits pretty much until its third act to actually introduce the specific game-mechanics as being relevant to the birds achieving their goal. Which means that until that point it's been a standard animated kids flick with Angry Birds characters pasted in over the top.


While 97 minutes is a respectable run-time for this type of thing, that comes pre-loaded with a predictably preachy script in its final minutes - although again, that's perhaps understandable given its appeal to a young audience. Because with soundtrack nods to Lionel Richie, Europe and Dawson's Creek, this movie may not be aimed at people in their 30s and 40s, but it was sure as hell made by them.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is fun but definitely feels like a tacked-on sequel that should have landed two years ago to maintain brand momentum. It's not trying to reinvent digitally simulated physics, but it's sweet and diverting fun for the Summer holidays…

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
The first Angry Birds movie.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
If you've got padawans to keep occupied, sure.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
As above, this will be a good one for future rainy afternoons.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Let's not go mad.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
That's possible.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Well, I'm taking the sudden appearance of a snow-covered landmass containing a geothermal-powered superweapon (and its subsequent infiltration by the team of heroes) to be a direct homage to The Force Awakens' Starkiller Base, but that's for a longer analysis of the film which you'll be thankful to learn I'm not going to write.

But this has the voices of the LT-319 and BB-8 (okay, voice "consultant" in roundie's case) in it.

Oh, and Catherine 'Clone Wars' Winder is an exec producer.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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