Songbird is a mess from start to finish, and the moments that could save it are never explored. A film that capitalizes on the current ongoing pandemic sweeping the world, but exacerbates the reality of it all. Songbird attempts to do too much and introduces one too many subplots along the way. This was filmed and released during the current world crisis, so that might lend to it striking a core with some viewers. However, this film is an overall convoluted mess that suffers due to its narrative.
A Michael Bay produced pandemic film was bound to be awful in many ways, and Songbird has a lot wrong with it. This film might be considered distasteful and too soon, but that’s a minor concern compared to what went wrong here. Ironically, this is the only film where mentioning the pandemic is useful to discuss it. Directed by Adam Mason and co-written by Mason and Simon Boyes, Songbird stars KJ Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, and Demi Moore. In the film, COVID-19 has mutated in COVID-23 and the year is now 2024. Nico (Apa), an immune resident must try to save the love of his life Sara (Carson), after she and her loved ones are targeted under the new regulations in place caused by the pandemic.
Mason and Boyes have crafted a world where infected individuals are thrown into quarantine camps known as Q-Zones, and the film spends a good time mentioning these camps only to never showcase them. This is just one of several instances where Songbird seems to not utilize the premise it is working with. Our two leads, Nico and Sara are bland at best. It is implied that these two haven’t actually spent much time together in person, but found love online somehow. Elsewhere, the film introduces Piper (Moore) and William (Bradley) Griffin. A couple that is selling illegal immunity bands, and ultimately becomes Nico’s lifeline to save Sara. This script doesn’t offer much for you to care about any of these characters but instead builds interest in structures it never reveals during the film’s runtime.
There is an underlying message of hope to be found from Songbird, and while it’s clear that’s what the love between Nico and Sara represents. It doesn’t matter in the end because the characters are uninteresting and poorly written. The circumstances surrounding the illegal wristbands are glazed over at best, so once again the film isn’t completing the subplots it introduces. Lackluster writing aside, the performances were adequate from Kapa and Carson. The predicament they find themselves in will evoke tears from some, but otherwise, the pair do what they can with the lackluster material presented to them. Moore and Whitford are adequate as well, but their performances feel uninspired at times. Songbird does so little with these characters and squanders its premise, so it’s great to see the actors try to make the best of it.
An ill-timed film that serves up a half-baked scenario that is probably not going to happen anytime soon. The direction here is not that impressive, and Songbird expects viewers to care about two individuals’ love for each other, but they barely share scenes. There is no tension building or a single moment where anything presented on screen is felt to be worth caring about. The filmmakers knew they were just cashing in on the current crisis here, and delivered a watered-down film in the process. The film is probably going to be forgotten about in a little time, so that’s good for everyone that dares to watch it.
Songbird is a poorly crafted, rushed project that resembles every bad Transformers sequel Michael Bay has released over the years. It offers nothing for audiences to care about, juggles too many subplots, and overlooks the potential it had with a better plot point. An exacerbated COVID-19 might be worth enduring than watching this film for a second time, but time will tell if its outlandish scenario will reflect the current reality in America.