The Angry Birds Movie Lacks the Story to Soar
In the 90s, several movie studios tried to cash in on the success of video games with live action adaptations of popular games. Although movies like Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat were successful, more often the game to movie evolutions were atrocious bombs (Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter). Today, with the popularity of gaming applications it’s not surprising to see a studio make a movie out of an application and no gaming app has been more popular than Angry Birds. The Angry Birds Movie, is an animated adaptation, light-hearted take on the app that kids will enjoy, but may leave adults bored with the lack of storyline.
The 3D animated comedy opens with our main hero, Red, (ironically) a red bird with large eyebrows voiced by Jason Sudeikis (We’re the Millers, 2013) who is frantically racing across an island jungle dressed up as a clown to deliver an egg for a young bird’s “hatching party”. After exploding on the parents who accuse him of being late and then breaking their egg, Red is sentenced to anger management by the island’s judge.
On the way to his first session, we see that the island is full of happy and flightless birds who greatly contrast Red, who lives outside of the village and has been an angry loner since childhood. Once Red arrives at his class, he meets a few more outsiders that will be familiar to audiences who have played the app including Chuck, a yellow bird that is super-fast (Josh Gad, Frozen, 2013), Bomb, a black bird that can literally explode (Danny McBride, This is the End, 2013), Matilda, the group’s new age teacher (Maya Rudolph, Sisters, 2015), and Terrence, a giant bird who doesn’t talk (although voiced by Oscar-winner, Sean Penn, The Gunman, 2015). Despite Red’s hatred of anger management, things are going well for the group and the island until a ship of green pigs land on the island and drop anchor on Red’s beach front house. While the rest of the island welcomes these pigs whose leader, Leonard (Bill Hader, Train Wreck, 2015) claims they are merely visiting, Red (whose house was smashed) is angry and suspicious of the pigs whose numbers continue to multiply.
Eventually, Red and his buddies discover that the pigs are really after their eggs, but they are too late to stop them. Now, the island of formerly happy birds, whose protector, Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage, The Boss, 2016) has been MIA for years, looks to Red to show them how to get angry and get their eggs back.
The Angry Birds Movie has great animation and voiceover work from its team of comedic actors. In particular, SNL pals, Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis shine in scenes together despite the fact that they are doing voice-over work. The writers actually did an admirable job of creating a story out of the game’s premise. However, therein lies the problem as there will be inherent limitations to a movie that is based on shooting birds with a sling shot at green pigs. Kids probably won’t notice, but adults will find the plot to be a bit uncreative or simple compared to other animated hits like The Incredibles, Wreck-it Ralph, or Frozen. Also, the movie doesn’t have the same comedic value as some of those other hits. The best jokes are probably the numerous bird and pig-related gags and puns littering the movie.
All in all, the movie does the best job it can based on source material that doesn’t have much of a story to begin with, but it’s not enough to make this an animated movie take flight.
The Bottom-Line? This family flick has its moments, but unless your kids are adamant about seeing this movie on the big screen, pick this one up for rental.
Cast: Jason Sudeikis (Red), Josh Gad (Chuck), Danny McBride (Bomb), Maya Rudolph (Matilda), Bill Hader (Leonard)
Credits: Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly; Written by Jon Vitti
Studio: Sony Pictures
Run Time: 97 minutes
Jessica Aymond © May 20, 2016