2016 has been a great year for animated films. Finding Dory, the charming, if insubstantial sequel to Pixar’s Finding Nemo, is the most lucrative film of the year thus far and Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings just hit theaters to near-unanimous praise, though its box-office take has been not-so-great. There’s also the quite beautiful April and the Extraordinary World, and time has finally granted two animated masterworks, Only Yesterday and Belladonna of Sadness, long-overdue proper stateside releases in theaters and on home video.
That’s the good news. The bad news has been, as you might assume, is something like Angry Birds, which trades on cheap, flimsy understanding of youth and pop culture. That would be forgivable, mind you, if the movie wasn’t also distinctly not funny, unable to summon even the mildest thrill of a late-era Looney Toons short. So, of course, it came as no major surprise today when Variety announced that Rovio is already working on Angry Birds 2, a sequel to the animated film. The movie made $347 million worldwide, which is nothing to sneeze at, and about a third of that came from domestic profits. That would seemingly be the only reason why anyone would mount a sequel.
So, since this does seem to be happening, let’s hope that the second film will, at the very least, try to get a few more sharp laughs into the mix. The movie’s design was vaguely enjoyable, even engaging in sequences, so there’s not much need to stride too far away from that, and the voice cast, including Josh Gad and Jason Sudeikis, gave the film an energetic buzz. The writing is where the issue is and here’s hoping that the next time around the dialogue won’t come off as so opportunistic and market tested. I’ll choose to be optimistic in this case.