The Angry Birds Movie 2 review: This movie will make you see red

New creatives, new director but a dull, slack screenplay ruins the sequel  to Sony Pictures Animation hugely successful 2016 animated comedy

Rating 2/5

Voice Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, Leslie Jones, Rachel Bloom, Josh Gad, Danny McBride

Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), Leonard (Bill Hader), Courtney (Awkwafina), Silver (Rachel Bloom), Bomb (Danny McBride), Red (Jason Sudeikis) and Chuck (Josh Gad) in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animations’ ANGRY BIRDS 2.

By Mayur Lookhar

Modesty is more revered than one’s heroics. However, in the world of fiction, what would a hero be if s/he had no one to save? The biggest fear is the fear of being replaced and to be left alone as a mere mortal.

After saving Bird Island, Red [Jason Sudeikis] is now a much-loved hero. Having miraculously escaped [unexplained] from the dynamite blasts in the first film, Leonard [Bill Hader], the pig and the other swines from Piggy Island are still locked in a battle with the happy birds. A new threat [Zeta, the eagle] arises and the pigs call for a truce with the residents of Bird Island.  Red though is consumed by the fear of being rendered insignificant in the new team of frenemies. He is particularly uncomfortable by the presence of Chuck’s [Josh Gad] sister Silver [Rachel Bloom].  If not a hero, Red fears he would be back to being unloved and lonely.

 After the mighty success of The Angry Birds Movie [2016], producer John Cohen has released the much sought after sequel The Angry Birds Movie 2 [2019].  There is an overhaul though in the creative and directorial departments.  First time director Thurop Van Orman is aided by co-director John Rice. A new director, new story, a screenplay penned by fresh hands – screenwriters Peter Ackerman, Eyaal Podell and Jonathon E Stewart.

The new set of hands though lack the creativity, imagination of their predecessors – directors Clay Kayliss, Fergal Reilly and screenwriters Jon Vitti [screenplay], Mikael Hed, Mikko Pöllä, and John Cohen himself was credited for the story of The Angry Birds Movie [2016]

The key to the stupendous success of the first movie was the neat, intelligent writing, humour which is seriously lacking in Van Orman directorial.   The Rovio Entertainment game has always been built on the ‘save your island’ premise. While the frenemies [Red and Leonard] uniting is welcome, what hurts the sequel is the poor antagonist and her dimwit army.   It’s the back story to Zeta [Leslie Jones]  that kills this film. 

Once a jovial, loving soul, a heart break turns the geeky eagle into a cold hearted bird. That perhaps explains why she conquers other territories by shooting large ice cannon balls.  It was the humour and tone of Bill Hader that brought Leonard to life.  Zeta though has no sense of humour. In an animated film, a geeky antagonist with no sense of humour is a recipe for disaster. The messy look and Leslie Jones’ unimpressive tone reduce Zeta to a caricature.  

Among the new characters, it’s Silver and Garry [Sterling K. Brown], Leonard’s tech wizard, that have both physical and vocal appeal.  Sean Penn is replaced by Nolan North as the voice of the big bird Terence.   Terence and Matilda’s [Maya Rudolph] three little hatchlings pull off some eye popping daredevilry while trying to retrieve three eggs. Though silly, it’s the adorable nature of the hatchlings that amuses you.

It’s not the external battle but the battle within that consumes Red and the film.  The anger gives way to frustration, leaving both Red and the viewers disconsolate. Chuck , too, has a sense of déjà vu to him.  Bomb [Danny McBride] has the odd explosive moment. As with the first film, Mighty Eagle [Peter Dinklage] is initially reluctant but eventually has a change of heart. This battle though is more personal.  Bill Hader’s tone and Leonard’s physical appeal is always charming.

The problem with all the supporting characters is that they are all over shadowed by Red’s insecurities, the poor writing and the lack of humour. There was a great sense of anticipation from The Angry Birds Movie 2, but the uninspiring, disengaging screenplay will make you see red. 

Usually, the fatigue factor creeps in the third and subsequent films. Sadly, Sony Pictures Animation have fumbled in their second attempt.   The fans will have their say, but this Thurop Van Orman effort can simply be summed in a Terence like groan, “Hmmmmmmm’.   

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