Angry Birds: Birdemic 2

April 29th, 2013

Birdemic wasn't the worst movie ever made. The technical execution was slightly better than Manos: the Hands of Fate, but not by much. It wasn't as misanthropic as Coleman Francis' work, nor was it as utterly incomprehensible as Monster a Go-Go. It was simply a bad movie that didn't take itself too seriously.

To recap: two hopelessly inept and wooden actors enter into an awkward romance. Halfway through the movie, badly-animated birds start attacking. The birds divebomb gas stations and explode. Some urinate acid on people. We're treated to long, expository dialogue about global warming. People die. The birds fly off. End of movie.

The movie became a cult classic. Director James Nguyen seems to be a good guy who just doesn't mind the criticism, and he felt his movie needed a sequel. Was he right? I'll let you decide.

Most of the folks from the first movie are back, including Rob and Nathalie. The real star of the movie this time is Bill:

Bill

My, what big teeth Grandma has! You'll spend the first five minutes of the movie watching Bill do nothing but walk around the streets of Los Angeles with a vacant grin on his face. For some reason, the sound editors chose to keep the microphones on for this entire sequence, and we're regaled with police sirens. That doesn't help.

Bill enters a restaurant and ogles a waitress named Gloria. Gloria tells us she's an aspiring actress. She's doing indie films in hopes of being discovered. She refuses to name any of these indie films, so that probably means porn. Bill seems to notice this, and claiming to be a director, he offers her a leading role in his film.

In case you're wondering, the name of the film is Sunset Dreams. If you're worried about forgetting the title, let me put you at ease. They mention it constantly in dialogue.

"I'm directing Sunset Dreams."

"How's work going on Sunset Dreams, Bill?"

"My work on Sunset Dreams is going great! In fact, I just secured more financing on my film Sunset Dreams, and Gloria's going to be starring in Sunset Dreams!"

"Yeah, thanks for giving me my big break in Sunset Dreams, Bill!  You're the dreamiest!"

This is not a movie that wants you to forget things.

Rob and Nathalie show up. Apparently, they're friends of Bill, and Rob wants to finance the movie. When Gloria's not looking, Bill offers the leading role to Nathalie.  In other movies, this might spark some dramatic tension, but this is Birdemic, so everybody just hugs and talks of how they're looking forward to working on Bill's film, Sunset Dreams.

One thing that quickly becomes obvious is that Whitney Moore (Nathalie) does not want to be in this movie. She's constantly rolling her eyes and staring off into the distance. She also has a habit of compulsively scratching her head.

Nathalie

I'm thinking that she's really regretting signing that multi-movie contract.

Then Damien Carter shows up to sing, and everybody dances like sedated suburban white people. Apparently, the makers of this film acquired a trial version of Auto-Tune and they feel the need to use it. That's a shame, because despite his goofiness, he's the most talented person in this film.

Damien Carter

As we all know, introducing oneself to a waitress as a director is really just a pickup line. Despite being an utterly reprehensible human being, it works for Bill. He and Gloria drive around to some bad Irene Cara ripoff music, then they go on a date.

No, I don't want to be in your movie

Notice the blurred-out faces? Every person in this montage who is not one of the principals has been subjected to this treatment. Apparently, the crew was too cheap to get releases, or nobody wanted to be in this movie. I'm suspecting the latter.

Next comes the time that tries men's souls: the James Nguyen love scene. "Inept" doesn't describe it. Nor does "awkward." You just pretty much grit your teeth and wait for it to be over. Except for one thing. One little technical gaffe. See if you can spot it.

Sound guy's on break

Yep, that's the sound guy. Even he's not too enthused with the scene. Welcome to the film-making master class that is Birdemic 2.

In the post-coital bliss, our protagonists go to the beach. A swimmer is attacked by a badly-animated Giant Jumbo Jelly fish.

Giant Jumbo Jellyfish

How do I know it's a Giant Jumbo Jellyfish? Because it's identified as such in the dialogue at least once per sentence. The injured swimmer is taken away via a badly computer animated ambulance.

Budget Concerns

Yeah, that's edited in. Badly. Apparently, the budget couldn't accommodate renting a real one for an hour, so this thing was spliced in.

So, when do the birds come in? Wait for it. This was just foreshadowing.

Remember those kids Rob and Nathalie rescued from the birds in the first movie? Well, I didn't either, but one of them is back in this one. The principals drag the little guy along on a trip to the La Brea Tar Pit museum.

Rob's kid

Where's the other kid? Well, the boy looks longingly at a bird skeleton and says, "I wish Suzie could've been here to see this bird skeleton, but she got a disease from that fish that Rob cooked."

Holy crap! Way to go, Rob. I now hate you more than I thought possible.

Anyhow, forget the kid, because the movie promptly does. Since Los Angeles County only has a population of 14 people at any given moment, we run into Doktor Exposition from the first movie.

Doctor Exposition

He's at the museum to give a lecture on global warming. The audience also gets a lecture, which involves a truly surreal flashback sequence in which cavemen have an amorous encounter interrupted by giant birds. I wish I was kidding. I am not kidding.

From there, we jump to the studio where Bill's filming his movie, Sunset Dreams. Gloria pretends to be a bad actress, and she succeeds brilliantly. More eye-rolling from Nathalie.

Gloria Acting

Then the sky turns red, or at least the camera filters do. The world turns into a Slayer album cover. Red rain starts to fall, and birds burst forth from the tar pits.

Birdemic Tarpits

Of course, they attack the studio in which Bill is filming his movie, Sunset Dreams. As in the first movie, our characters fight the birds off with coat hangers. For some reason, two of the film crew have guns, and after they go down, Rob and Nathalie grab them.

Rob's a horrible shot

You'd think they would have gotten shooting lessons after the last movie, but nope. For some reason, Rob takes Nathalie's gun and gives it to Bill, who promptly demonstrates an utter lack of knowledge on the subject. Nathalie gripes that Rob's a "horrible shot."

Nathalie takes a swing

Nathalie is left to punch and kick at the birds, which is oddly comical. The prop guns are actually inert toys rather than blank-firing weapons, so Rob and Bill just shake the guns in the general direction of the threat. Muzzle flash is (badly) added in post.

They fight their way out of the studio, along with an Asian guy who just shows up out of nowhere. We'll call him Glenn. There's also a burly guy who reminds me of Reggie Bannister.

Reggie

After some shooting and quite a few dead bystanders, our merry band makes a break for it. What follows is a POV shot in which it looks like someone smothered the lens with Vaseline and dangled a rubber bird in front of it.

Requisite POV shot

Meanwhile, more stuff comes out of the tar pits, including our cavemen, who've presumably been preserved for thousands of years.

Cavemen rising

The hippie who gave our heroes a big lecture on global warming (and didn't mind that they were waving guns at him the whole time) is back. He's married now, and he and his wife are really the only people in this movie I didn't want to die horribly. They discuss their new reality TV show, The Non-Emitting Family, with the cast. We're informed that toilet paper and books are made from cutting down trees. Did you know that? I didn't know that.

Hippie

Apparently, the birds won't threaten him and his wife because they live "a green lifestyle." So, um, there you go, kids. Live green or get attacked by birds. Birds who, I kid you not, urinate acid and explode.

Apparently, Nguyen felt the need to ramp up the dramatic tension a bit, so we have zombies.

☠☠☠☠ing zombies. I swear, zombies are the most cliched ☠☠☠☠ing narrative copout these days.

Zombies?!?

The film doesn't mention it, but I imagine the zombies are caused by global warming as well. In any case, Reggie and Glenn (who spins a pole around because he's Asian) get their big moment here.

Zombies?!?

And look at Bill! For some reason, he stops shooting and pistol-whips a zombie, all while screaming "get some!"

Good for you, Bill: you grew a backbone.

Next, we find our intrepid heroes in a petting zoo. Reggie dies. They come around a corner and find the caretaker. Nathalie asks him not to be alarmed. Geez, why would he be alarmed?

Don't be alarmed

Oh, right. These guys just shot up his zoo, and now they're waving guns at him. Nothing to worry about.

Mr. Miyagi

The caretaker responds, "It is OK. Can I help you something?" Oh, way to stereotype Asians, Mr. Nguyen. Oh. Right.

Like the Hippie Twins, he's not afraid of the birds. They won't attack him because he's their friend. Why is he their friend? Because he understands global warming. Apparently, the birds have a questionnaire or something.

The cast listens intently. Bill calls the lecture "interesting," and they go hijack a Winnebago, which is about the most un-green automobile I can think of.

Anyhow, the cavemen are wandering around town, and they mug Bill and Rob. Apparently, their smooth martial-arts moves only work on zombies, so it falls to Nathalie to save the day by buttstroking the cavemen with a shotgun.

Bill Gets Mugged

Then they stop at a motel to grab a refreshing Pepsi from the clearly-labeled vending machine. Notice how responsible and conscientious Nathalie is with firearms.

Muzzle control

They barely get to enjoy their Pepsi before the birds attack again. Glenn dies and falls face-down into a swimming pool. Everyone takes a moment to look poignant, except for Nathalie, who really just doesn't want to be here.

Glenn Dies

Then the birds fly off.

Birds leave

So, that's the movie. Is it better than the first? No, but fans of the first don't want this to be a good movie. What we get is a sequel shot with better cameras and with a better musical budget. Of course, equipment and money are only as good as what you do with them, and this…this is Birdemic 2 we're watching here. The acting is wretched, the special effects are amateurish, and the narrative is dismal.

Those criticisms miss the real question: is it any fun? It is, but it's largely a rehash of the first. Is it worth the ten bucks to download it? Yes, if you're a fan of bad movies. Heck, I took the time to crop the screenshots and write a review of the thing, so that's something.

I can't wait to see the Rifftrax treatment this gets.

1 Comment
  1. Mark C wrote, running Internet Explorer 8.0 on Windows XP

    It amazes me that you took the time to write this….

    Comment on May 23, 2013 @ 2:35 am

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