Animated sequels are sometimes considered the lowest common denominator of film, and in 2019 especially we are in a wasteland of it. Even Disney, a studio that with the exception of ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ virtually never released theatrical sequels, have fallen victim to the sequel curse with ‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’ and this Christmas’ ‘Frozen II’. Do you remember a time where the only Pixar movie with sequels was ‘Toy Story’? Well, ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ is the latest in a very large pile of kids movie sequels.
While the birds won the fight against the pigs they are still at war, constantly pranking each other. But when a giant ice ball attacks Pig Island, King Leonard (Bill Hader, ‘Inside Out’, ‘The Skeleton Twins’) calls a truce with Red (Jason Sudeikis ‘Booksmart’, ‘We're The Millers’), Chuck (Josh Gad, ‘Frozen’, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’) and Bomb (Danny McBride, ‘Pineapple Express’, ‘Sausage Party’) to fight off the new ice island run by the evil Zeta (Leslie Jones, ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Masterminds’). To fight off the new big bad purple eagle, the gang enlists Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage, TV’s ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Pixels’) along with new faces: Chuck’s nerdy sister Silver (Rachel Bloom, TV’s ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’), Courtney (Awkwafina, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, ‘Ocean’s 8’) and Garry Pig (Sterling K. Brown, ‘Black Panther’, ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’). At the same time, three hatchlings lose three bird eggs and are on a quest to get them back safely to Bird Island.
This cast is insane; they really got everyone to sign up for this film. You have not only the names above but Eugenio Derbez (‘The Book of Life’), Beck Bennett (‘Brigsby Bear’), Zack Woods (‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’), Pete Davidson (‘What Men Want’), Dove Cameron (‘Descendants’), Nicki Minaji, Brooklynn Prince (‘The Florida Project’), Jojo Siwa, Maya Rudolph (‘The Emoji Movie’), Tiffany Haddish (‘Girls Trip’), Gaten Matarazzo (TV's ‘Stranger Things’), Lil Rel Howery (‘Get Out’), and Tony Hale (‘Toy Story 4’). There's also YouTubers Colleen Ballinger (TV's ‘Haters Back Off’), David Dobrik and Smosh, and of course Walmart Yodeller himself Mason Ramsey. Even ‘Gravity Falls’ creator Alex Hirsch gets a voice. Now, of course, that’s just too big a cast for them all to be big features, and most of them get washed out. I’m a big fan of a lot of these people, and didn’t recognise most of them when they were on screen. It’s utterly pointless to have this many people voice such minor roles; it’s a waste of a paycheck, and some poor voice artist lost out on a job because Tony Hale had to be Mime Bird and literally only say, "Oh my God!" The main core cast does a good job, but most roles are unforgettable cameos at best. The only lead voice that was really pointless was Awkwafina - her character has little to do and it seems like a strange choice to give the role to her. Rachel Bloom really outshines everyone, and I’m so excited that she is finally in something a bit more mainstream.
It's actually much more enjoyable than the first film, and actually had some great laughs.
As for the film itself, it's fine - it's actually much more enjoyable than the first film, and actually had some great laughs. I didn’t find myself cringing at things like Fifty Shades of Green that the first film had. The film also has a really great pace for a kids film; things get going pretty fast and the only time they really drag is when they cut back to the Hatchling subplot that was clearly padding, but it did a much better job with its short run time than ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’. The film's marketing really plays into the idea of frenemies but the film does very little with that - they show the birds and the pigs butt heads, but it’s nothing extreme and there was a lot of missed jokes with this idea. I’ve suffered through a lot of cringey kids films and I was so hopeful that 'Angry Birds 2' might have a ‘Fortnite’ dance, and they slipped one in right at the last second. The film does feel more dated than its processor based on music choice alone, with songs like ‘Turn Down for What’ and ‘Fireball’, which at this point have been wildly overplayed, especially in family films. This was, however, the first film I’ve heard Pinkfong’s ‘Baby Shark’, so I guess that’s another thing I have to look forward to in kids films now.
The film does have some horrifying jokes: when showing a slideshow of the plan to destroy the ice island, King Leonard's "nudes" slip into the mix, and while of course he is clothed it just seemed they got too sexual with some of the poses for a kids film. In the Hatchling sub-plot, they get the eggs stuck on a cloud and to get up there, one of the birds blows up the other bird to use as a balloon to fly up. Instead, they float into space and when the air is let out, they plummet back to Eart, burning up as they re-enter. The way they animated the poor pink bird as this giant balloon was terrifying to look at.
‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ is a big step up from its processor providing some great laughs, and while its huge cast is wasted amidst the empty shell of family films we’ve had this year, this proves to be an enjoyable option for families to check out.