Saturday, August 24, 2019

Movie Review: THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 (2019)

Animated movies are ones that, unless they’re from Disney, tend to get overlooked, even if they’re great (**cough** Kubo and the Two Strings **cough**). That seems to be the case here with The Angry Birds Movie 2, the follow-up to the 2016 film based on the popular app game. The first film tells the story of an outcast bird named Red who, with some help, saves Bird Island and all its inhabitants from the invading pigs who want to steal their eggs.  That movie was alright for what it was, not great, but not terrible either.  Kind of forgettable, to be honest. But not part 2... it’s quite the opposite.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 picks up after the events of the first film. The flightless Birds of Bird Island are so thankful of Red and show their admiration daily, which he loves. Red, Chuck, and Bomb continue to protect the island from pig pranks, giving them a sense of purpose, but when a mysterious third island attacks the Pigs, they ask the Birds for truce to help them stop whoever is doing this. There’s also a very funny side story about three hatchlings trying to recover some eggs they lost. It’s really cute and even ties into the main story in the end, which I loved.

Unlike the first film, this one is engaging on multiple levels, way funnier than it probably should be, and even has a solid element of heart to it. First-time film directors Thurop Van Orman and John Rice really brought their A-games to this installment alongside the writing team of Peter Ackerman, Eyal Podell, & Jonathon E. Stewart. The script is tight and hilarious, and the pacing and dialogue are on point. However, great dialogue means nothing if the actors delivering it are subpar.

And speaking of actors, Jason Sudeikis is back as the temperamental, classic “angry bird” Red. Sudeikis knows just how to deliver the sarcasm and snark required of a character like this. He is once again joined by Josh Gad and Danny McBride as Chuck and Bomb, and this trio is perfect together. They really are able to work well off one another, and with a script as good as this, it’s made even more clear. Along with them are newcomers to the franchise, Rachel Bloom as Silver and Leslie Jones as Zeta. These two characters each bring something special to the film, with Silver helping to truly balance Red, and Zeta creating a new foil for the Birds, other than the Pigs. Oh, and I don’t want to forget about the Pigs, as Bill Hader is back as King Leonard, who, after the attack, calls for a truce with the Birds, and joins them on their mission to stop Zeta.

This movie made me laugh far more than I ever would have expected. I was engaged throughout the entire 96 minute runtime, and that floored me. I think I may have enjoyed it more than my 4-year-old daughter did, who was sitting right next to me. I really didn’t have high expectations for this one, especially after the lackluster first film, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it really was. It’s definitely one of the best video game movies out there, and is apparently the highest rated one on Rotten Tomatoes, so it must be doing something right.

If you’re a fan of good animated films, I highly recommend checking this one out. You really don’t need to have seen the first one, as they fill in enough of the blanks for those coming into this one with no prior knowledge. So go, have a good time, and let those birdies fly!

The Merc’s Score: 8.5/10

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