Directors: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
Starring: (Voices only) Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn
Written by: Jon Vitti, (story) John Cohen, Mikael Hed, Mikko Polla and based on the Rovio Entertainment game
Running Time: 97 mins
Release date: 13th May 2016
It seems now that everything can be turned into a movie. Filmmakers will literally turn to anything remotely popular for inspiration. Yet if you are going to choose something that is already a hit among the audience, you have to make sure you aim it just right. The Lego Movie did just that. Take a building brick and look for ways to make it a solid piece of entertainment. In fact, The Lego Movie set the bar for these kinds of films. The Angry Birds Movie, based on the flick phone app has a lot to aim for and I have to say for the briefest of moments, it almost got there. Almost.
A small island inhabited by birds, get unexpected visitors in the form of a boat full of green pigs. The birds welcome them with open arms, apart from Red, a bird with serious anger issues, who doesn’t trust them. Along with his friends, Chuck, a speed freak bird, and Bomb, a bird who explodes when shocked or angered, they soon discover that these pigs aren’t the friendly, partying type they come across as. They have another motive and only the three outsiders can stop them.
As a piece of animated entertainment for a less concerning audience, it ticks all the boxes. It’s bright, colourful and comes at you with a breakneck pace, making sure that you never stop to examine the gaping plot holes or pop references that the kids might not get but the adults will have an odd chuckle about. The characters are simple to understand: one is angry, one is fast and another is cuddly, so there isn’t much to go on as far as development is concerned.
What did surprise me about this film is that it wasn’t terrible. I was expecting to hate it, complain that it was nothing more than an overlong advert for the app and that it was shallow and empty and could only be really appreciated by having fourteen bags of sugar before watching. Yet there were genuinely funny moments in this. I laughed far more than I ever expected to.
Before you rush to call a doctor and make sure that I’m okay, it’s no masterpiece either. It has that whole sugar rush feel about it, with the wide-eyed birds getting close to annoying on occasions. Some of the jokes are as old as the hills and what really surprises me is how they always manage to get former Saturday Night Live performers or friends of Seth Rogan to supply the voices. Yet they seem to fit perfectly well here.
With gags about modern anger management courses, symbols of hope that are dead ducks and a nicely placed The Shining gag, I laughed much more than I have any right to in a movie like this. It still hasn’t come close to reaching the laugh levels of The Lego Movie but it wasn’t as painful as a film called The Angry Birds should have been. It does get a little dull when the film becomes an extended version of the game, as the birds crash into Pigland, as well as the usual sickly sentimental moment that every film like this seems to feel the need to have.
Yet it was passable entertainment for those looking for something to brush over them and to keep the kids happy. It’s hardly memorable and it won’t stand the test of time like a classic Disney or Pixar but for a filler during the holidays, it’s ok.