The Angry Birds Movie 2
Well, the good news is this sequel isn’t as uninspired as The Angry Birds Movie, which felt only like a cash grab event. The Angry Birds Movie 2 mostly feels like a cash grab event. There is an actual attempt at telling a story of uniting with your enemies during a time of turmoil; perhaps a discussion fitting for the current political divide we are experiencing. That’s a noble conversation to introduce to kids, whose elders or guardians may be engaging in these kinds of schisms in front of them. The film even allows the story to have some sort of weight, as any form of progression never feels tossed in, or like an intrusion (“Now they decide to tell a story?”). There’s none of that.
However, for me, The Angry Birds Movie 2 was still far from enjoyable, as well intentioned as it may be. This is what I wish to retitle “The 9gag Movie”, because the entire ride was tired meme after tired meme, exhausted reference after exhausted reference, and predictable joke after predictable joke. The main characters are walking into a shot in slow motion? Cue “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon. Characters are hyping themselves to fulfill a plan? Cue “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. A character is sad? Cue “In the Arms of an Angel” by Sarah McLachlan. Hell, there is a scene where birds are launched into space, and “Space Oddity” plays. This is the only film that can make me groan at a David Bowie reference: a previously impossible feat, since I consider Bowie to be the greatest songwriter and leading artist in contemporary music. Thanks, Angry Birds. Thanks for making me eye roll a Bowie reference.
I know this is meant for kids, but I think both the kids and adults watching this film deserve some sort of respect. I understand what a crowd pleaser is: a general joke or action that many people have agreed upon, and is bound to work for the majority of participants. At least try to have some sort of imagination, though. The animation is actually decent (especially the water and ice physics used). Some of the voice acting is pretty likeable (especially Jason Sudekis reprising his role as Red, and newcomer Rachel Bloom). If you have to have the occasional joke of this nature, sure. Go ahead. This is a family film, so having that unifying moment can create moments for you and your loved ones.
An entire film of this is beyond challenging, though. How many bums do you see? Do we need a joke where a bird pretends to be a penis urinating? What about the “I’m dumb and big and can’t stop eating” jokes that are beyond insensitive in 2019? There’s a whole story about banding together despite our differences, yet the film is so reliant on character stereotyping. This includes bottom-of-the-barrel toilet humour, painfully obvious song references, and one dimensional character building. In all seriousness, I implore you to try something. Mentally paint the assistant pigs at the start of the film yellow, and tell me how they aren’t basically swine versions of Minions. Flatten Chuck into a hand shaped pancake, and tell me he isn’t High-Five (or whatever his name was) from The Emoji Movie (but with extra speed). I could keep going, but there’s no need. A formula is a formula, If you’re too set on selling tickets the easy way, your efforts to say something meaningful are going to get drowned out by the same nonsense we hear on a daily basis from a thousand different sources. To be a different voice, you can’t be saying the same stuff as everyone else and expect your slight variation to make an impact.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.