After a run in with some hungry pigs in the first film proved they’re not alone in the world, the inhabitants of Bird Island discover there’s yet a third island in the ocean in the sequel The Angry Birds Movie 2. There, an unhinged eagle plots to leave her frozen land and take over the nearby tropical islands. Birds and pigs will have to team up to stop her from destroying their homes.

Not a bad set up for a followup… but unfortunately none of it works. Let’s dispense with my usual review format (including the prohibition of spoilers — you’ve been warned!) and just list some of the issues.

The cast is unwieldy. The plot involves the three main characters from the first film teaming up with a fourth bird, the pig leader, and two new random pigs. The random pigs could have been cut completely with hardly any plot changes. The pig leader (one of the best characters in the original) gets very little to do. And we probably could have lost one of the original three characters without much fuss. In other words, there are too many characters without enough plot to go around! In a similar vein, one of the few things that worked well in the first was the camaraderie between the three leads. So of course we should split them up in the sequel.

Where are the jokes? This movie just was not that funny. A scene that was almost entirely shown in the trailer will make you smile for a moment. But you’ve already seen it! Even jokes aimed at adults were low effort. While two characters are quickly moving down a large spiral ramp one of them notes, “we’re going to get our steps in today!” Really? There was just a weird lack of fun in this film, which is odd with a story about colorful birds and pigs hurling themselves at things.

Pop songs. Oh my gosh, the pop songs. In place of actual jokes, the film will way too often just play a 5-10 second snippet of a pop song under a scene that somewhat relates. For example, the villain starts a ten minute timer before her evil plan is to commence. Later she looks at the clock and notes that three minutes are left. Cut to, “♫ It’s the final countdown… ♫ doo doo doooo dooooooooo… ♫ do do dooo dooo doooooooo… ♫” Then the song abruptly stops. Over, and over again, at least ten times (if not more) in the movie, a clip of a song stands in for dialogue, humor, or plot.

The plot is full of holes. I get it. It’s a kids movie. But even the children in the audience have to be scratching their heads a bit at the story. Here’s an example. The bad guy wants off her island because it is a frozen wasteland. There’s an extended sequence near the beginning where we see her daily life and the issues the cold causes her. Her shower rains down icicles on her. When she turns on the faucet to brush her teeth, ice cubes knock the toothpaste off her brush. Her pool is a large block of ice she lays on and pretends to swim on top of. Her food is frozen solid and she has to pick off the ice to get to it. When she lays in her hammock the ice trees it is tied to break and she falls off. And so on, and so on. So what is her evil master plan? Shooting lava balls at the other two islands. Yes, she has access to lava. Liquid hot magma. But of all the incredible inventions she’s built on her island, warming up ice with the heat from lava to get water never occurred to her — or the writers.

The film tries to impart a message, but it’s both heavy handed at times and not clear at all what they’re trying to say at others. One of the new characters is a female bird studying engineering in college. During our happily-ever-after scene at the end a young girl bird randomly says, “I want to be an engineer when I grow up”. Not too smoothly handled but an admirable try. You go girls! This happy ending scene happens at the wedding of the villain who it turns out is just angry and bitter because a man was afraid of commitment and dumped her when they were younger. When he comes back and apologizes, she’s happy now and not evil anymore. You go girl? Wait, what exactly is the message girls should take away again…?

The writers have forgotten the first movie. At the end of the original we discover that birds have interesting abilities. Two of the leads can move fast and explode for instance. But all the birds reveal undiscovered talents like that in the final battle. Maybe that might be useful when their island is under attack again? Nope. In fact, let’s just forget we ever even mentioned it.

I think you get the point. This film was tedious, pointless, and just not very enjoyable at all. Hopefully it’s game over for this franchise.

Animated Classic or Back To The Drawing Board?

The Angry Birds Movie 2
Sony, Rovio
August 14, 2016
96 minutes
Rated PG
directed by Thurop Van Orman
FUN FACTOR
OVERALL FILM