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‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ a good example of bad filmmaking

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Every movie we see is flawed in one way or another. Sometimes the flaws are minor enough that the film can overcome them. Sometimes a defect is severe enough to sink a movie on its own. Other times, a film succumbs to damage inflicted by multiple flaws. But it’s rare to see a movie that does almost everything wrong, and in that sense, “The Angry Birds Movie 2” is a true unicorn of cinematic badness.

“Birds 2” takes us back to Bird Island, where Red (Jason Sudeikis) finds he must team with the Birds’ sworn enemies, the Pigs, to stop Zeta (Leslie Jones), an eagle with a massive chip on her shoulder, from driving the Pigs and Birds from their homes. Along the way, a trio of hatchlings goes on an adventure to save some unhatched eggs.

There’s precious little that “Birds 2” does well. Visually, the film is appealing. The characters are cute, and the settings are lush and beautiful. The voice cast does a good job performing and delivering the dialogue. The film even manages to be funny once, with a simple-yet-clever visual riff on Blockbuster Video.

Other than that, “Birds 2” is a litany of cinematic miscues. The worsts missteps this film takes include:

  • A dull plot stolen from far better films. The meat of the plot involves Red assembling a team to deal with Zeta to infiltrate Zeta’s stronghold. It’s basically “Seven Samurai” by way of “Black Hawk Down.” It’s dull, unimaginative and as predictable as the sunrise.
  • Humor that misses the mark. It seems the writers of “Birds 2” were Stormtroopers because nearly everything they try misses. Badly. However, nothing misses the mark as badly as the humor. Aside from the aforementioned Blockbuster Video sight gag, nothing in the movie managed to get me to laugh. Nothing. The jokes mostly consist of tired cliches and lame slapstick. You can get that kind of thing anywhere. You need to try harder than that.
  • A distractingly bad side plot. The plotline involving the three hatchlings feels like it was constructed for the sole purpose of getting said hatchlings into position to serve as a plot point in the movie’s grand finale. It’s incredibly forced and feels like it was the best thing the writers could come up with. But it’s still sloppy and eye-rollingly ineffective
  • Messages that feel ham-handedly crammed in. Maybe “Birds 2” deserves a little credit for delivering themes about teamwork and the damage loneliness can do. It would get that credit if these themes felt like an organic part of the story, instead of feeling like they were crammed in by the filmmakers at the last minute so the movie “means something.” The way the themes are delivered is yet another chink in this movie’s armor.

Courtesy photo

There’s so much more that’s wrong with “Angry Birds 2,” from stunningly bad soundtrack choices to one lame attempt to get this movie to make scientific sense. But if you boil it all down, you get is a lazy, unimaginative sequel that’s not worth the price of admission. I know this movie is aimed at kids, and kiddie flicks usually don’t demand as much from the brain and serve mostly as entertainment. But in a world where “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Toy Story” and “The Iron Giant” are easily available, what “Birds 2” offers isn’t nearly good enough.

1 Indy Fedora out of 5

MPAA Rating: PG

Thanks to Fat Cats in Rexburg for providing screenings for movie reviews on EastIdahoNews.com.

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