As one who was surprised that the makers of the silly Angry Birds game could cobble together enough material for a whole movie in 2016, I was gobsmacked to learn that a follow-on was planned this year. So of course I went.
The result isn’t going to make anyone forget Citizen Kane, but in fact it’s pretty darn fun.
As we all know, Angry Birds live on Bird Island, just a short catapult ride from Piggy Island. The birds battle to protect their eggs from pig predation, the conflict in the game and the first film.
This movie introduces a hitherto unknown third island, a frigid rock called Eagle Island, whose volcano has been pelting enormous ice balls onto Pig Island in an effort to depopulate the place and make room for an eagle takeover. The pig leader, Leonard, travels to Bird Island to negotiate a truce with Red, the black-eyebrowed hero of the first movie. When Eagle Island ice balls begin to arrive on Bird Island as well, the former enemies join forces to confront their mutual enemy on its own territory.
That’s the set-up, which is almost beside the point. The point is silly antics — a Trojan horse of an Eagle careening around the Eagle police force, pigs who mishear the term “Plan X” and garb themselves in pink spandex, break dancing eagles and much, much more.
A second subplot trails three little chicks guarding, badly, three eggs bearing one of the chicks’ “vewy cute” baby sisters. The eggs are lost and found, again and again, a pretty straightforward effort to appeal to sentimental younger moviegoers, and funny as well.
This movie has more in the way of plot and character development than its predecessor, including a really smart love interest for Red and a female leader of Eagle Island, Zeta, whose brittle superiority complex is something like Red’s insecure attachment to his hero persona and resistance to teamwork. Female agency and group cooperation are proper themes for today’s juvenile audience, and, happily, are leavened here with plenty of generous humor.
In all, the whole thing is nicely assembled and full of laughs. If you liked the first Angry Birds movie, you’ll probably like this one even more.
Is there room in filmdom for another Angry Birds movie? This one’s release date, in the late-summer doldrums season, suggests distributors are not so sure. In its first weekend, Angry 2attracted far fewer moviegoers than its predecessor, which was released in late spring in a year when many people still remembered the Angry Birds computer game, which was an unexpected international hit.