The Angry Birds Movie in 2016 was, to say the least, a travesty. Based on the phone gaming app that captured the world’s attention about a decade ago, the first film stuck to the story of the games’ canon, focusing on the war between the birds on Bird Island as they are colonised by the invading pigs. This war of course features the slingshots and flying birds that have come to define the game in pop culture and captivated millions of children and adults. It had no heart or life, and focused on replicating the game so much so that it turned out to be a total waste of time.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised with The Angry Birds Movie 2. Following on from the first movie Red (Jason Sudeikis) is still celebrated on Bird Island for rescuing the bird eggs from the pigs who now live on nearby Piggy Island, and he is loving the fame as the two communities continue to out prank each other. But when they start getting attacked from a new Eagle Island, pig Leonard (Bill Hader) comes to the birds to join up to fight a new enemy. Old friends return including super speedy Chuck (Josh Gad) as well as new friends in the form of Chuck’s brainiac sister Silver (Rachel Bloom). Things come to a head when they confront purple eagle Zeta (Leslie Jones) who is attacking the nearby islands as a result of her heartbreak, and another battle ensues that is actually funny and exciting.
Crazily enough this sequel is far funnier than its predecessor, and because the story deviates from the story detailed in the Angry Birds app, there is more opportunity for fleshed out character and funny quips. There is no repeating of the previous set up and instead it plays on the expectations of the story. Once the new complication is established, it goes all out on humour and appeals to both adults and children alike. There are moments when you can tell only adults would get the jokes, but equally there are times with toilet humour that brings it back to the young audience.
Voice work is also really strong in the film, particularly from Jones as the flamboyant Zeta who has most of the funny lines throughout. There are also cameos from Nicki Minaj, Awkwafina, Tiffany Haddish and Pete Davidson who add a little flavour to the plot. It’s in a similar vein to The Lego Movie, but without as much impact, though still enjoyable. The animation also improved upon in comparison to the first film, more fleshed out and no doubt up with the expectations of children who watch it.
It’s not a perfect film, and the script could be tighter with less broad humour, however what can you really expect from a film based on an app. It’s not a movie to rush out and see, but it’s a lot better than some of the trash out there. Let’s hope if there is an Angry Birds 3 that it’s more like this than its predecessor.
Originally published on Back Row, 12 September, 2019.