Birdemic 2: The Resurrection

Rating:

Setting All-New Standards of Terrible, and Loving Every Minute Of It.

Main cast: Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore

Director: James Nguyen

It’s nice to think that no one sets out to make a really terrible movie, but sometimes lack of budget, resources, or talent leads to classics like Manos: Hands of Fate, Miami Connection or Birdemic. But when a sequel comes along, you hope the makers of the original bad movies are either nowhere in sight or have learned from their mistakes, and this time around there’s going to be some actual quality involved.

Not the case with James Nguyen’s Birdemic 2: The Resurrection.

I’ve been putting off this movie for months. The DVD has been sitting here on my desk–yes I bought the DVD–but I just haven’t had the nerve to watch it. That first movie was rough, and I was afraid the sequel would be just as bad.

It was.

Birdemic 2 picks up a few years after the events of the first movie. Rod (Alan Bagh) and Natalie (Whitney Moore) are still together, and they’re meeting a friend of Rod’s, Bill, for lunch. Bill (Thomas Favaloro) is telling Rod about his latest movie idea and how, after his first big budget Hollywood picture flopped, it’s hard getting funding. Rod promises Bill a million dollars on two conditions: Bill give parts to Natalie and their adopted son Tony. Bill agrees, and they’ve got themselves a movie.

Although Bill tells Natalie to audition for the lead role, he’s also told a waitress he’s just met, Gloria, that she should audition for the role as well. Gloria (Chelsea Turnbo) gets the gig, while Natalie is given a supporting role, and filming begins.

But on the first day of shooting, shock and terror occurs when the crew is attacked by giant prehistoric eagles and vultures, resurrected from the La Brea Tar Pits. The two couples band together with a handful of other survivors and battle their way out of the Hollywood backlot, and try to find safety. Along the way, they’re faced with killer birds, global warming, reanimated cavemen, and zombies.

I’m just gonna stop there with the plot synopsis, because no matter what I say from here, it’s not going to get any dumber. One thing James Nguyen can’t be accused of is wimping out. He really went all in on this movie.

The cast is the cast. I mean what can you expect from the two main characters of the first terrible movie returning to make the second. They know the first was terrible, they had to know the sequel would be just as bad. They do handle it in different ways, though. Whitney Moore is totally in on the joke and seems as if she can barely stand to be there. She gives a series of sidelong “REALLY???” looks in reaction to other characters, and when it’s her line, she’s nearly lost all of her patience already.

My favorite Natalie moment is after the first attack and Rod and Natalie have been using the dead security guards’ guns. Once the birds have stopped and there’s a moment of calm, Rod asks for Natalie’s gun. She replies, “Seriously? You’re a terrible shot.” He then hands the gun to Bill. And then in a scene on the beach when Gloria is telling Natalie she’ll gladly give her any acting tips she needs, Moore’s face is one of barely-contained rage and she looks like she’d like nothing more than to slap the shit out of this uppity broad.

Alan Bagh, however, is attacking this role from the opposite end. I have to assume he also knows what a travesty the first movie was and that this one isn’t doing much better, but he’s committed 100% to it. He’s all in and you can’t help but love the guy for it. On the other hand, it somehow makes the Rod character seem totally dopey.

The other characters, Bill and Gloria, are more rounded and believable than the ones from the first movie, Ramsey and whatever his girlfriend’s name was, because we spend the first 41 minutes of the 82-minute movie with them. They are the Rod and Natalie of this movie. It just so happens there’s also the original Rod and Natalie as well. Are they better characters? Not at all. I’m team Rod and Natalie all day, mostly because I can’t believe there would be more than these two people so totally unqualified to survive something like this. My heart is with Rod and Natalie, because they lived through the first birdemic, while Bill and Gloria don’t seem to know it even happened. So screw them, man!

James Nguyen is once again displaying his guerilla filming techniques like a champ. Yes, the terrible cardboard cutout CGI birds are back, but that’s not all. There’s also the CGI gun blasts. But wait, there’s more. In the crowd scenes in town and at the beach, all of the background figures’ faces have been blurred out. And it’s not hard to guess why. No release forms signed. Can’t put them in the movie without a release or paying them, and James Nguyen did neither. So he had to blur them out instead, and it’s such a brilliantly funny effect, it got an even bigger laugh from me than the Getty Images watermarks from the first movie.

Many other cast members have returned from the first movie as well. There’s Tony, all grown up, Dr. Jones going on about global warming and the plight of the birds, Natalie’s mother, there’s the tree hugger and his terrible wig, AND the nightclub singer. Everyone is back in the roles they originated, and they’re all just as bad. Okay, the nightclub singer’s song this time around isn’t as terrible as “hanging out with the family”, but it’s still pretty bad.

It was oddly heartwarming to see all of these returning characters, even if all it did was remind me just how bad these movies really are.

I’m not sure if I’m recommending Birdemic 2 or not. I’m definitely going to tell my daughter to watch it, but she won’t, and that’s unfortunate because she’d really get a kick out of all the callbacks to the first movie. But for the casual viewer, if you haven’t seen the first one, don’t see the sequel. If you saw the first one and were disgusted by how bad it was, the sequel is no better so you should probably avoid it as well. However if, like me, you know the first one was crap but still had a great time watching it, then by all means try to find a way to watch the sequel. I can’t say I’d recommend BUYING the thing, but if that’s the only option, at least try not to spend too much. But however you see it, if you liked the first movie for all its stupid, quirky charm, you’re bound to have a great time suffering through this one as well. I know I did.

–C. Dennis Moore

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