Whatever it was that prompted Sony Pictures to make another Angry Birds movie (probably to make more money, since the 2016 original grossed over RM1.48bil globally), there’s no denying that these colourful, slingshot-obsessed, enemies of green pigs have transcended their simple mobile gaming origins to become something much, much bigger.
Those little birds have truly catapulted themselves to global franchise status, and this movie is proof of it. Sure, there are some homages to the game, like the way the birds slingshot themselves around Bird Island, but beyond that, The Angry Birds Movie 2 doesn’t even pretend to be based on the video game anymore.
Even its titular ‘Angry Bird’, Red, isn’t very angry anymore – he’s more whiny and insecure here, actually.
Anyway, it is set after the events of the first, in which Red (Jason Sudeikis) helped save Bird Island’s eggs from being turned into omelettes by the green pigs of Pig Island, led by King Leonard (Bill Hader).
Now hailed as a hero, he spends his time defending Bird Island from pranks thrown at them by the pigs, along with his buddies – the super-fast Chuck (Josh Gad) and the explosive (literally) Bomb (Danny McBride).
However, trouble soon shows up in the form of a third island, Eagle Island, an ice-covered island inhabited by eagles (duh) led by the sassy but menacing Zeta (Leslie Jones).
Forget Red, Zeta is the REAL angry bird in this movie – fed up with living in an icy wasteland, she uses a super weapon to chuck giant ice balls at Pig and Bird Island in hopes of chasing its inhabitants away and taking over their sunny islands.
The threat is so great that Leonard calls for a truce with Bird Island, and together with Red, forms a team to take out the super weapon.
The team includes Chuck, Bomb, the not-so Great Eagle (Peter Dinklage), and a few new characters: the super-smart Silver (Rachel Bloom), Leonard’s assistant Courtney (Awkwafina) and Garry (Sterling K. Brown), the pigs’ gadget inventor.
Birds of a feather flock together. That’s arguably the same with animated features as well. On one hand, you get the Pixars, Laikas and Studio Ghiblis, who are dedicated to making great, original and creative features.
On the other hand, you get the studios who are happy to make pretty much the same formulaic but fun movie over and over again, just with a different set of characters or in a different franchise.
You know, the sort where the story is pretty much just an excuse for the filmmakers to throw in as many funny nonsensical set pieces, dancing animals and cute widdle baby characters at the wall as possible and hope that something sticks and resonates with the audience enough to make enough money for another sequel.
The Angry Birds movies belong firmly in the second group. The first was a reasonably chuckle-laden affair with some deceptively dark overtones, and Angry Birds Movie 2 pretty much continues in that vein.
The movie doesn’t really stray far from the usual formulaic but fun concept. There are laughs to be had, for sure, but for the most part, Angry Birds 2 just checks the usual boxes for animated features of this sort.
Butt and fart jokes? Check. Cute little baby characters off on a side mission? Check. Nods to pop culture and Internet memes? Check. Pointless but entertaining dance sequences featuring animated animals? Check.
Heck, there really isn’t anything here that you probably haven’t seen with other movies featuring talking animals. It’s unapologetically nonsensical and formulaic, but at least manages to be slightly more fun than the first movie.
The Angry Birds Movie 2
Directors: Thurop Van Orman and John Rice
Voice cast: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Leslie Jones, Rachel Bloom, Awkwafina, Sterling K. Brown and Eugenio Derbez.