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The Michael Bay-Produced Pandemic Movie Has Screened, Here’s What Critics Think Of Songbird

Songbird poster

It's far from surprising that the current circumstances of the world have inspired creative people to try and make art that is based on that circumstance. Real-life has inspired countless films and we've seen movies based on or inspired by real events more times than we can count. It is, perhaps, a tad surprising however, that the first movie about a global pandemic to come out following a global pandemic is now here even before that pandemic is even over. The dust hasn't even had a chance to settle, and we have Songbird, the first movie to be inspired by COVID-19 that was conceived, written and filmed, and produced by Michael Bay, all in the time since America's first lockdown in March of this year.

It's an impressive technical feat if nothing else, for Songbird to even exist, though, to be fair, there's a significant feeling among critics that maybe it doesn't need to. CinemaBlend's Michael Reyes gave the film two stars and while he largely feels that Songbird isn't the insensitive mess that it appears from the outside, the movie just isn't very good on a structural level. He puts it bluntly...

The blunt delivery of its message avoids being crass, but it also skips over being interesting.

Songbird, directed and co-written by Adam Mason, follows a number of interconnected plots in Los Angeles in the near future. COVID-19 has mutated into a new virus that kills quickly and thus the world is in lockdown and Los Angeles is under martial law. The movie has put together an impressive cast that includes Bradley Whitford, Demi Moore, Paul Walter Hauser, Peter Srormare, Alexandria Daddario, and more. With a cast like that, you might feel like you're in for something at least interesting, but it doesn't seem so. The Wrap also gives Songbird the benefit of the doubt when it comes to its intentions, but just doesn't think the end result was anything worth filming during a lockdown to accomplish...

It’s not inherently misguided to use a current tragedy as the jumping-off point of a genre movie, but any filmmaker who decides to do so had better create something provocative or interesting or at least competent to justify it. Songbird doesn’t even offer the prospect of staggeringly bad taste or questionable politics; it’s less 'Too soon!' and more 'So what?'

Based on the general consensus, the issue with Songbird isn't that it was made, but that it was made so quickly, specifically because it seems there's just little interest in the script that was created for it. Perhaps if more time could have spent on it, something more worth while could have been produced, but it seems that most every critic simply isn't engaged by the characters on the screen, which THR says are just too simple to take seriously...

Despite the high-stakes drama, there's nary a compelling moment throughout, and some of the characterizations, especially Stormare's villainous Sanitation Department honcho, are so absurdly one-note that it's hard not to think that the film is meant as parody.

Of course, the fact that the global pandemic has become a political football still can't be entirely disconnected from the fact that Songbird exists. And while several critics do lament some of what the movie is apparently trying to say, Polygon is more critical of the fact that the film ultimately says very little...

Many who saw the movie’s trailer feared a grand political statement; instead, the movie offers an ideological muddle that can’t even stay consistently paranoid, fearmongering about “quarantine camps” while nodding in approval in favor of drones that can commit murder.

Whether or not people want to watch a movie about a global pandemic right now, most critics are of the opinion that few people will want to watch this movie about a global pandemic ever. If, however, you are interested in seeing what all the conversation is about, Songbird arrives on VOD December 11.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.