“We’re going to need a bigger slingshot.” – Leonard
Worldwide mobile game phenomenon Angry Birds got turned into an animated film back in 2016, which grossed over 5x its budget. The 21st century is known for its need of franchises, so three years later we are getting its very simply titled sequel – The Angry Birds Movie 2.
First time full feature directors Thurop Van Orman and John Rice, bring the well known birds back to the big screen, expanding their world and characters to keep everything fresh and exciting. Red (Jason Sudeikis) and company are still battling their “arch-pig-emies“, after saving Bird Island and becoming the local hero. When Pig Island gets attacked by a massive ice ball, coming from a completely unknown direction, King Leonard (Bill Hader) asks for a truce while searching for answers. Zeta (Leslie Jones), a boldly purple diva, is the one behind the attacks. She and her army of eagles will stop at nothing to obliterate the inhabitants of both Pig Island and Bird Island, to turn their worlds into holiday resorts and finally take the vacation she seemingly “deserves”. Now Red, Chuck and his brilliant sister Silver, Bomb (Danny McBride) and Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) have to join forces with King Leonard and his team of green hogs, to stop Zeta’s extreme lust for destruction.
The animation was stunning in the first film, but it looks even more polished this time around. Flying from one gloriously decorative island to another, diving deep under icy oceans and even rocketing into outer space with a group of fluffy-cutesy-hatchlings. These hatchlings go on a fun adventure, when one of them loses her unhatched-siblings, while reenacting the battle between Red and King Leonard. Voiced by Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project) and YouTube-personality JoJo Siwa, these little balls of pastel fluff are undeniably adorable. Mostly reminding me of “Ice Age“‘s Scrat, always on the look-out for his beloved acorn.
Comedic voice talent Josh Gad (Frozen), once again shows how funny he can be as Chuck. Hilarious and simply the best character. Awkwafina (The Farewell) and Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) are well known comedy queens, but outrageously under-utilised. The biggest problem I had with the story, was that these Angry Birds weren’t “angry” anymore. They were just trying to save their island from a disgruntled bigger bird. Unlike the first film, there’s almost no character development, just Red having to overcome his fear of being all by himself again, after tasting the glorious feeling of being the hero on the island.
Another thing that didn’t work in my opinion, was the overuse of music in the film. Impressive to say the least, because the hits they were able to get the rights for, are mostly chart-topping classics. But especially in the second half, one song gets followed directly with another to start dance battles or shows us a glimpse of a new character’s secret past. Sometimes less is more.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 is more of the same, with more adult jokes than you’d expect in an animated feature about birds, and less anger issues than its predecessor. After the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this is another example of Sony Pictures Animation‘s strong animation team, which definitely deserves the same grade as Pixar and Dreamworks Animation.