Genre: CG Animation
Director: Thurop Van Orman
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Leslie Jones, Bill Hader, Rachel Bloom, Awkwafina, Sterling K. Brown, Eugenio Derbez, Danny McBride, Peter Dinklage
Runtime: 1 hr 36 mins
Released By: Sony Pictures
Opening Day: 5 September 2019
Synopsis: A hilarious all-star cast of new and returning talent are brought together as the flightless birds and scheming green pigs take their beef to the next level.
The video game may no longer be as popular as it used to be at the start of this decade, but ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ proves that the brand can still live on in feature-length animation form. Like the first movie, the sequel is yet another riotous, often frenetic, exercise in slapstick silliness, but even more than the first movie, its non-stop barrage of jokes hit the comedic bulls-eye.
The threat is no longer green porcine, egg-stealing invaders; instead, our titular flightless protagonists, as well as their former worst enemies, find themselves staring at a new threat from a third island. On this frosty volcano named Eagle Island, a brilliant but embittered eagle named Zeta (voiced by Leslie Jones) has invented a powerful cannon to shoot massive balls of ice at both Bird and Piggy Islands. The motive? Because she is tired of living on a frozen island and would like a tropical vacation.
You can probably imagine that it will take a while before our irritable but insecure hero Red (Jason Sudeikis) can accept a truce with the leader of the pigs, Leonard (Bill Hader), in order for them to work together. In fact, mission success doesn’t rest with the two of them alone, but rather with how well they can work together with the rest of their team, assembled ‘Ocean’s Eleven’-style, that includes the speed demon Chuck (Josh Gad), the explosives expert Bomb (Danny McBride), and the plucky engineer Silver (Rachel Bloom).
Red doesn’t take too well to teamwork – not only does he cling on to his status as the saviour of Bird Island like a security blanket for his underlying sense of worth, he has been acting on his own volition all this while, and cannot quite defer to someone who could be more qualified than he is; that someone, in this case, so happens to be Silver, whose mathematical problem-solving abilities quickly establishes her as the brains of the outfit. But as much as Red may dislike Silver, it isn’t hard to guess that the pair will become lovebirds by the time they manage to save the day.
It is no spoiler that they eventually do; what makes the inevitable worthwhile is the journey packed with madcap set-pieces, puns and needle-drops. The highlights include an utterly hilarious sequence of bathroom hijinks when the group tries to steal an eagle’s ID card at a urinal while disguised in a rickety eagle costume; a random breakdance battle to the tune of ‘Axel F’ between the group still in disguise and the rest of the guards, that ends with the latter grooving to ‘Baby Shark’; and a whole subplot with whales, a boa constrictor and even outer space as a trio of baby-talking hatchlings try to retrieve three of their runaway unhatched siblings.
With full credit to director Thurup Van Orman, who is making his leap to directing after lots of success in TV, there is plenty of wacky fun to be had, even if you can tell the humour (scripted by Peter Ackerman, Eyal Podell and Jonathan E. Stewart) is at times go-for-broke. To be sure, it isn’t just the kids who will be entertained; in fact, there are puns like ‘Crazy Rich Avians’, nods to everything from ‘Back to the Future’ to ‘Dawson’s Creek’, and needle-drops like David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ that will keep the adults engaged and entertained.
That the source material is a game whose object was to launch small round birds at green pigs using slingshots proves how far the filmmakers have come in terms of their character design and world-building. Thanks to the exemplary voice cast too, including the likes of Tiffany Haddish and Awkwafina in trusty sidekick roles, the jokes are delivered spot-on with cheek and verve. It is exuberant all right, and even cuckoo-crazy from time to time, but the outrageousness is all part of the fun which ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ aims and often delivers with aplomb. Forget logic, physics and most of all restraint, and you’ll find yourself laughing loud and silly.
(As ridiculous as it is wild and wacky, this fast and frenetically-paced sequel is a riotous flight of manic set-pieces, lovable puns and appealing needle-drops)
Review by Gabriel Chong