A Much-Improved Sequel
I wasn’t a big fan of the original Angry Birds. I watch a lot of animated films and whether it be with my kids, on my own or with friends, there’s something inherently breezy and simplistic about watching a feel-good animated flick. The Angry Birds Movie felt like a film released far too late in its lifespan; a cash-in to the games that arrived 5 years too late and failed to really generate enough excitement for its cookie-cutter story and forced jokes. Back for a second pop at the wooden pig-filled towers, Angry Birds 2 does a pretty good job capturing what the first film failed to conjure, with a good array of jokes, a breezy storyline and a feel-good tone oozing throughout its 90 minute run time.
Set some time after the events of the first movie, Pig King Leonard and Red begrudgingly agree to a truce between their two waring races, in the face of a bigger, eagle-faced threat in eccentric Zeta. With plans of transforming both islands into her own personal paradise, Red and Leonard recruit a dysfunctional group of misfits for a heist that sees them infiltrate Eagle Island and stop Zeta before it’s too late. It’s all pretty formulaic stuff but it’s also a film specifically tailored toward young children rather than meandering between age groups in the directionless manner the first film did.
Peppered throughout this story is a cute little subplot that see 3 hatchlings chasing after their eggs that has more than a few nods toward the squirrel gag segments in Ice Age. There’s enough here to keep this feeling unique in its own right though, especially the pay-off during the film’s final scenes, but it’s also very familiar to anyone clued up on the animated genre.
Aesthetically, Angry Birds 2 looks and sounds fantastic. From the bright, vibrant colours to the over-the-top use of music and gags, Angry Birds 2 packs as many jokes and quips into its 90 minute run-time as it dares, striking the right balance between humour and action that’s sure to please the little ones. While adults may find themselves noticing a few rehearsed jokes and the longevity of this is unlikely to see it a returning face in the DVD player in the months to come, there’s enough here to make it a worthy cinema trip with the little ones this holiday.
The characters all have their own quips too although at times this does work against Angry Birds, with Red and Mighty Eagle the only characters to really see some meaningful development across the 90 minutes. Others, including Bomb and Chuck, are simply there for comedic purposes although the jokes are usually pretty good. One entire segment involving an Eagle costume is so ludicrously written you can’t help but laugh along with the jokes and these moments come thick and fast that there’s sure to be something you find humorous here. It’s feel good stuff and for the most part, Angry Birds 2 nails this feel throughout its run time.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 is the equivalent of a reasonably good fairground attraction. It may not be the best on offer or have the biggest thrills, but what it does, it does competently enough to make it an enjoyable ride in the short-term. This is unlikely to be an animated flick with the same longevity as something like Despicable Me or the Pixar Animations but there’s enough here to make it a fun ride nonetheless. It’s a good option for the kids this summer and there’s just enough variety to the humour to prevent adults growing restless too. It’s not perfect, but it is infinitely better than the first movie, which is reason enough to make it worth checking out.