[Screen It]


(2019) (voices of Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Jones) (PG)

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Computer-Animated Comedy: Two former enemies join forces to stop an outsider from destroying their respective islands.
On Bird Island, Red (JASON SUDEIKIS) -- once an outcast with anger issues -- is viewed as a hero, what with having stopped the leader of Piggy Island, Leonard (BILL HADER), from eating their young. Now the denizens of both islands simply hurl various sorts of pranks back and forth between their islands in forms of mild aggression. But with huge balls of ice being hurled at his from a previously unknown third island, Leonard wants a true with Red so that they can deal with the matter at hand.

And that is Zeta (LESLIE JONES), an eagle who lives on an icy island with her daughter, Debbie (TIFFANY HADDISH), and desires to take over the two islands to be her pleasure playgrounds. Part of her issues stem from the fact that Mighty Eagle (PETER DINKLAGE) jilted her at the altar many years ago, and thus he wants no plan of joining a joint bird and pig team to deal with the increasing ice ball attacks. But Red's good friends Bomb (DANNY McBRIDE) and Chuck (JOSH GAD) are certainly game, with the latter calling in his brainiac sister, Silver (RACHEL BLOOM), for help with logistics. On Leonard's side he has the assistance of Courtney (AWKWAFINA) and gadgets expert Garry (STERLING K. BROWN).

They'll need all the help they can get as Zeta has ordered her beleaguered engineer, Glenn (EUGENIO DERBEZ), to fill those ice balls with molten lava, all to scare off the inhabitants of both islands that she wants to make hers.

OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
A few years back we were driving through the south Naples neighborhood of Port Royal, gawking at the expensive mansions when we came across an empty lot that was for sale. It was less than an acre and had a fabulous water view, but it came with a price tag north of $30 million. I know...location, location, location.

I never found out what it sold for and what the purchaser did with it (built on it, held and flipped it or what have you), but I'm still astounded at the cost. For dirt, some scrub bushes and weeds. Of course, land has always been a prized commodity and people will bend over backward -- and sometimes face financial ruin -- trying to grab as much of it as possible.

And then there are those who desire land from a geopolitical perspective where they equate mass acreage with power. Wars over the millennia have spawned from such land grabs and now a new movie about just that has as well. But it's not a film about Hitler, Genghis Khan or any number of Roman emperors and their respective marches to seize as many countries as possible.

No dear reader, the latest such flick stems from the actions of Zeta the purple eagle who's tired of living on an icy, desolate island and instead desires the more tropical climes of two nearby islands, one populated by pigs and the other inhabited by birds.

Yes, I'm talking about "The Angry Birds Movie 2" that features many returning characters from, natch, "The Angry Birds Movie" but sort of feels like an entirely new offering rather than the usual sequel that simply rehashes material from the original. That said, while it has its moments, it's not much more than silly diversionary entertainment that will vacate its spot in your memory mere hours after you've seen it.

Taking up where the 2016 film left off, Red (voiced again by Jason Sudeikis) has segued from being the sourpuss outcast of Bird Island to its hailing hero, what with having led the forces that prevented the pigs from Piggy Island -- led by Leonard (Bill Hader) -- from stealing all of their viable eggs for dinner. Now, the two sides simply hurl pranks back and forth across the channel separating their islands.

That is, until a huge ball of ice lands near the piggies, thus forcing Leonard to call for a truce so that the two sides can form a combined team to deal with the new threat. And that would be the aforementioned eagle (voiced by Leslie Jones) who says she's worked hard and thus deserves the islands for her own pleasure.

Joining Red are his best friends, Bomb (Danny McBride) and Chuck (Josh Gad), the latter of whom invites his brainiac sister, Silver (Rachel Bloom), to join them, unaware that she and Red previously had an adversarial moment together during a speed dating session. And speaking of dating, Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) opts not to join the group due to an embarrassing romantic secret related to Zeta.

On Leonard's side, there's Courtney (Awkwafina) and the Q-esque gadgets guru, Garry (Sterling K. Brown), and it's not long before the hastily assembled group heads off for Eagle Island to stop the villain who easily could have been spawned from the "Despicable Me" or "Incredibles" franchises.

Alas, this offering -- directed by Thurop Van Orman from a script by Peter Ackerman -- isn't as good as those, but it has its moments of inspired lunacy. There's also a running subplot that features three young chicks who try to retrieve three viable bird eggs that repeatedly manage to elude them through a series of misadventures (sort of like the acorn with Scrat the prehistoric squirrel in the "Ice Age" movies).

I guess there's something to be said for mindless entertainment designed simply to get kids -- and some game adults -- laughing, and the flick occasionally did that for me. And I guess I'm happy to report it didn't make me angry for any number of reasons that could have applied to this sort of sequel.

So, and simply put, if you're looking for nearly 100 minutes of mindless escapism revolving around a land grab (or two), you could certainly do worse. But you can also do better with other such animated offerings and thus "The Angry Birds Movie 2" rates as just a 5 out of 10.

Reviewed August 13, 2019 / Posted August 13, 2019

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