Imagine ‘The Birds’ without the suspense, charm, or acting ability…
A quick lesson in movie credits for those of you who don’t know:
If a director is unhappy with a project, and wishes to disown it, they may apply to the Directors Guild to do so. If the director is able to convince the guild that they were unable to exercise proper creative control over the project, they can be granted permission to remove their name from the credits; they are banned from discussing the project, may not admit to being the true director, and their name will be (or was until 2000 at least) replaced in the credits with “Alan Smithee”.
The Birds II: Land’s End, is an Alan Smithee film.
The one thing tying this made-for-TV sequel to Hitchcock’s 1963 classic is the return of his lead actress, Tippi Hedren, here in a supporting role as a different character entirely. With no connecting characters, locations, or even so much as a mention that this has ever happened before, Land’s End is less an unwanted sequel, and more an unnecessary remake.
A family (Mum, Dad, 2 daughters, and the family dog) move to a small island, and birds start attacking everyone.
The dog does at one point bring a bird into the house, and the daughters attempt to make a pet of the bird, but the bird’s had already been behaving oddly by this time in the movie (in fact they kill a man before the opening credits roll). Once the would-be-pet bird is healthy again, it escapes; this does not stop the attacks, and has no effect on the plot.
It seems there was a Son in our lead family prior to the events of the movie, but he died in a car crash; this has no bearing on the plot, is referenced exactly twice, and does not influence anyone’s behaviour.
The mum of the family, who works for the local newspaper, goes out for an innocent drink with her editor, and the father expresses his jealousy at the amount of time his wife spends with her boss. The boss once tries to kiss her but she knocks him back. This also has no bearing on the plot or on anyone’s behaviour.
I always think that if you’re going to re-make a movie, do something different with it, at the very least fix the original’s flaws. Really, the original only had one flaw; the (non) ending. While Land’s End makes some small attempt to be slightly less ambiguous than the original, it’s still an abrupt, motivation free, end; certainly nothing satisfactory though, and not sufficiently different to the original that it was worth the effort of sitting through the movie to get there.
In the plus column, (most of) the bird attacks look quite good, using close shots and lots of cuts to both highlight the frenzied nature of the attacks, and hide any flaws in the effects themselves.
If you want to see a good killer bird movie, see The Birds. If you want to see a bad one, see Birdemic: Shock and Terror. If you want to see a mediocre killer bird movie, take stock of your life, but failing that, see The Birds II: Lands End
On that note, I promise that this will be my last unnecessary sequel (at least for now).
All those birds need is a little… Attitude adjustment.