THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE
May 30, 2016 11:22 am
Directed by: – Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly
Produced by: – John Cohen & Catherine Winder
Starring: – Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader & Peter Dinklage
Runtime: – 97 minutes (1hr 37mins)
Why So Angry ?
Angry Birds The Movie is based on the popular mobile phone app of the same name. Made by Rovio Entertainment, The Angry Birds video games has players using a slingshot to throw a variety of enraged Birds with different abilities at a fortress of Pigs who have stolen the Birds eggs. Since its initial release in 2009, Angry Birds has been lauded for its successful combination of addictive gameplay, charming visuals and its low price. Thanks to that, it has become a cultural phenomenon that now has merchandise, theme park attractions and has become an advertising icon. When this picture was announced it came off as a bit of a shock since its coming out soo late in their 15 minutes (or at this point 7 years) of fame.
One of the biggest surprises back in 2014 in the animated feature space was The Lego Movie. It ended up being a really funny and charming film based on little figurines that were synonymous with everyone’s childhood. The movie was so impressive that it rivalled a lot of DreamWorks and Disney Pixar’s efforts, so much so it was blasphemous when it wasn’t nominated for an Academy Awards for best Animated feature. One can put together that Hollywood’s rush to adapt Angry Birds into a feature-length film is indeed a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that a property with an extremely simple premise can be made into a great film, which in turn will make a killing at the box-office.
The film is set on Bird Island, where the inhabitants are a community of flightless happy-go-lucky birds. The movie follows Red (Jason Sudeikis) who is prone to anger and is seen as the out-cast of the community and has decided to live in the out skirts of town. After an incident that gives him furious and violent outburst, Red is sentenced by the court to anger management classes, where he meets the speedy and talkative chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb, a black bird who is kind but has a tendency to literally blow up and the big but mute Terrence (Sean Penn) who communicates through grunts. During these events, a boat filled with Pigs led by their king, Leonard (Bill Hader) comes to the island for a ‘friendly’ visit much to the inhabitants’ excitement. Red however is suspicious and along with Chuck & Bomb, set out to prove that the Pigs intentions are not pure.
The Angry Birds Movie is the directorial debut of Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly and it features a comedic vocal cast of Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader and Keegan Michael Key amongst others. Can this adaptation of the popular franchise break the video-game movie curse that Hollywood has made? Is this movie entertaining enough to stand up to DreamWorks and Disney’s might in the animation world? Lets take a look at the pros and cons.
- The visuals are impressive and the movie is well animated. The character designs are charming; they respect the original designs of the birds and pigs and do just enough to give the designs their own identity. I won’t judge the uninitiated if they mistook this film for a Disney Pixar film at a first glance.
- Even though the plot is wafer-thin, I do appreciate how it provides context for the popular mobile game and I respect the fact the movie accurately represents a lot of the games mechanics, something that fans of the app will be happy to see.
- Sean Penn & Peter Dinklage are without a doubt the standout performers in this movie. Don’t want to spoil much but I think people will a good laugh at whom Peter Dinklage is playing in this movie. It took a while for me to figure out it was Sean Penn grunting through out the whole film as Terrence and not talking in similar fashion to George Clooney’s cameo in a South Park episode where he agreed to voice a barking dog. Ironically the character he voices is the funniest character in the whole movie cause he doesn’t say a single word and is actually angry.
- The final sequence in the film in my opinion truly captures what the Angry Birds are about. The scene was chaotic, frantic and action packed and even managed to be a little heart-warming it’s just a little unfortunate that it came a bit late in the film’s runtime.
- It is actually kind of weird that this particular effort is one of the best film adaptations of a video-game we have but then again that isn’t really saying much when its competing against the likes of Hollywood’s vision of Super Mario Bros., Street –Fighter, Mortal Kombat : Annihilation, Far Cry, Blood Rayne.
- Jason Sudeikis is an odd choice to voice the main protagonist, Red. Even though the character is the most developed with a back-story which explains why he cynical and isn’t as jovial the other birds, I am not totally convinced that he is an ‘Angry Bird’. Though he might have one or two fits of rage he doesn’t have enough to warrant the title of the film if anything he’s passive aggressive and sarcastic which ultimately defeats the points of Angry Birds in my opinion.
- The other protagonists Bomb and Chuck also share the same problem as Red, they aren’t just angry enough and I think its made worse due to the fact they don’t get as much character development as Red.
- Despite having a terrific comedic vocal cast, they can’t save a film that is littered with jokes that miss the target thanks to a less-than-impressive script. At the end of the day I think they are just here to phone in their performances and get their pay cheque.
- The set-up to the final sequence of the film (which is the best part) took too long to get there and was rather predictable. It shows that it was very difficult to make an animated feature out of a game with an extremely simple premise. This flaw shows that the plot is bare bones and you are not going to find something original here. A part of me feels that this would have worked better as a series of animated shorts instead of a feature-length film.
- One thing for sure, is that this Pixar-looking animated feature isn’t subtle on its delivery of its risqué jokes. One of the reasons a lot of people love Pixar and Disney animated features is because they add clever jokes to circumvent censorship and require a bit of brain power to figure out. Unfortunately we don’t get that in this movie. There are a few sex jokes and dirty humour that the young ones will definitely understand and while I have nothing against it, Parents should be warned.
- The films reliance on bird and pig related puns whilst chuckle worthy at first got old really quick and very irritating by the end of the film.
The Angry Birds Movie is a film that came 6 years to late. It not a total failure it does enough to show sparks of its charm and potential that is ultimately wasted. Kids and extreme Angry Birds fans will lap this 97-minute reel of a marketers dream. Everyone else will be disappointed with the fact that’s it awesome ensemble couldn’t make this film work. Watch this one on TV.
RATING: WATCH ON TV