Cinematic history has not looked fondly upon video games adapted to film. Along that road lies dozens of failed attempts to recreate the magic of some of the most classic video games, including Mario Bros., Final Fantasy, and Street Fighter. While some video game adaptations have done better than others, none have passed the test of time. The Angry Birds Movie, I can safely say, will not pass the test of time, but will provide a nice piece of eye candy and a few laughs for you and your family before the next Pixar movie comes along and makes you completely forget this movie existed.
Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, and written by Jon Vitti, The Angry Birds Movie is about Red (Jason Sudekis), the angriest bird on an island full of optimistic and happy birds who think anger is wrong and something to be stifled. But when a ship full of green pigs appear and pretend to be the birds’ friends, Red discovers they are only there to steal all the birds’ eggs. Along with the help of two other outcast birds, Red must convince the island of the pigs’ true intentions before the worst happens.
The beautiful animation, design, and attention to detail with The Angry Birds Movie makes it almost worth watching all on its own. It’s easy to notice the creators were trying to go above and beyond in this department rather than the status quo, and there’s no denying they excelled. The imagery is stunning. The individual feathers swaying in the wind, the crystal clear water, and the bright colors all make this movie a delicious piece of eye candy. It’s a shame they couldn’t put as much time and detail into their story that reeked of clichés, on-the-nose metaphors, and forced humor.
Red, being a disliked pariah by everyone around him, doesn’t do much to convince the audience why that shouldn’t be the case. It’s difficult to empathize with a sarcastic and pensive jerk with no redeemable qualities. While the arc of his character leads in the right direction, it would have immediately benefited the story to show the audience there is more to Red than just an angry bird.
The story, unfortunately, wasn’t much better. The plot took too long to get to where it needed to be, and the predictable and rushed climax didn’t last long enough to satisfy the massive build up. Rather than sticking to clever and intelligent humor that children and adults both can enjoy, The Angry Birds Movie resorts to in-your-face, crude humor, and plenty of sarcasm that will appease the kids, but bore the adults.
To make matters worse, their insistence to explain jokes and their apparent lack of trust in the audience was off-putting. The timing reminded me of the non-stop attitude of The Lego Movie, but hitting all the wrong beats at the wrong times, resulting in a mish-mash of humor that sometimes works, but most of the time doesn’t. It’s obvious the creators of The Angry Birds Movie want to make something new, exciting, and different for both video game adaptations and children animated movies. Their excitement grabs your attention, but it quickly grows stale. The allure wares off within the first fifteen minutes and you’re left with another average animated comedy trying to ride the waves of a popular video game. By the end, you won’t be angry you spent your hard earned dollars to watch it, but it might make you wonder if you could have gotten more bang for your buck.
Images courtesy of: Colombia Pictures