A movie based on a popular gaming app might seem like a money grab to get young audiences where they live, but “The Angry Birds Movie” fared pretty well at the box office … thus ensuring that we now get “The Angry Birds Movie 2.”
For those who fear the malady known as “sequel-itis,” which afflicts us with sequels that really aren’t necessary, this actually isn’t a bad follow-up. That might not be the highest praise possible, but at least this is creative and entertaining enough to keep you from feeling you’ve simply fallen prey to a plot to get you to open your wallet or purse at the box office.
The voice cast is largely a “Saturday Night Live” who’s-who led by “Angry Birds Movie” returnee Jason Sudeikis as Red, who debates joining the residents of Pig Island – formerly the birds’ enemies – to mount an opposition to an eagle brigade that is targeting the hogs and has the birds next on its list.
Red and pig leader Leonard, voiced by fellow “SNL” alum Bill Hader, then assemble a team to mount a defense based on the recruits’ special skills … sort of like “The Magnificent Seven,” one of the amusing nods that the filmmakers make to classic stories here.
Josh Gad, Leslie Jones, Maya Rudolph, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s” Rachel Bloom and Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) also have significant voice roles, making for a neat assortment of sounds. And the computerized animation is unique enough to set this apart from so many other entries in the genre lately.
As successful as many apps are, trying to develop their characters and concepts into feature-length films is a very particular challenge. A game on a phone, computer screen or other devices doesn’t require a full back story, yet the one developed by moviemakers has to stay true enough to the characters to seem like a logical extension. “The Angry Birds Movie 2” achieves that, despite it being no simple feat, and also does it in a way that can appeal to viewers who don’t even know what an app is. (Yes, such individuals do exist, hard to believe though that may be.)
Maybe the best thing about “The Angry Birds Movie 2” is that it won’t make you angry about paying to see a sequel that wasn’t needed. The picture is enjoyable in its own right – about the birds, but not for the birds.