Tap out of it.
Once upon a time there was a poor Finnish video game studio called Rovio that made failing products for years until they copied a flash game and called it “Angry Birds.” They proceeded to make over a billion dollars with it and decided to milk their game into oblivion. And that’s why children, Rovio mostly self-funded an animated movie featuring their characters to squeeze more pennies out of parents too lazy to care what their kids watch or play. Is it the worst thing ever? Read on…
Our story follows Jason Sudekis as Red living on an island filled with flightless birds. Problem is that Red is an asshole and is now serving time in an anger management class with other “wacky” characters. And no one takes his suspicions seriously when a parade of green pigs come to the bird island and try to make friends with all the birds. Secretly however, the pigs were only seducing the birds to lower their guard and let the pigs steal all of the birds’ eggs to eat. Now Red and his friends have to go and save the eggs…by hurling themselves out of slingshots…and then bam! End of movie. Yep that’s it.
You’d think they use this as a set up for adventures following the birds messing with the pigs, but no; the pigs only steal the eggs in the second act “twist” (I mean if you can’t predict that turn of events from the trailer or the bloody game…you’ve got problems). This is just one of the many issues plaguing this movie.
The story is absolutely pointless. Most video game movies tend to have shitty stories anyways but that’s because they all fall into the trap of trying to justify the game play mechanics in the film (see also Battleship), but here the story comes across as even more useless thanks to the fact that we know the pigs are evil. Almost everyone knows about Angry Birds if not through playing the extremely popular game, then through osmosis in seeing the game in popular culture. So dancing around the issue of the pigs “deceiving” the birds comes across as entirely pointless.
Not helping matters is Rovio giving their iconic characters personalities that don’t make any sense. Red, for instance, is told by everyone on the island that he’s an outcast for being an “angry bird” on island filled with”happy birds.” I’m not gonna mince words here, Red isn’t angry, he’s just a curmudgeonly prick. He’s an unlikable dick that has no friends because he doesn’t even try to socialize; even though the movie swears his anger just isolates him from the rest of society.
Further, Jason Sudekis, while a very charming and funny guy, doesn’t really convey the “anger” the rest of the island claims Red has. He does a fine job even if the script is an endless parade of puns like “shut the flock up” or “pluck my life” (get it?) He fares a little better than his costars Josh Gad or Danny McBride, who have to do all of the really annoying dialogue that’s even heavier on puns.
Still, I can’t say no one didn’t take their roles seriously. Hell, even Peter Dinklage tries to act something into a role that’s phenomenally useless. Like in Pixels last year, he’s acting his ass off no matter how big of a piece of shit he’s in, an admirable trait for any actor honestly. Doesn’t make the film any less boring, but there you go. Although, you have Sean Penn as this gigantic red bird named Terence who ONLY growls. I swear to God, Sean Penn does not speak a word of dialogue in this entire movie. You could have replaced him with a studio janitor, and no one would notice. So why the hell is Sean Penn here?
Rovio is an extremely wasteful company. They have made fifteen Angry Birds sequels after the original’s success over the course of seven years and nothing else. They have sucked the teet off of Angry Birds completely dry and this is the company’s last ditch attempt to wring out the last remaining droplet before their cash cow dies. Hence, why I imagine the company blew all their money on big name talent without even bothering to hire a decent writer who could punch up the script to be a little less boring.
Boredom really is the word of the day. Jokes are being flung at you a mile a minute, and hardly any of them land. Kids in my theater really only laughed at the very beginning, a pee joke (that was spoiled in the trailer…and somehow goes on for three minutes), and the destruction that ensues when the birds start launching themselves at the pigs’ castles.
It’s during the destruction that I came to a shocking realization: the animation was beautiful. Seriously, this film had very damn good animation techniques and a few thrilling sequences that made me wonder why all the money was taken away from the writing department. This isn’t like Norm of the North which not only had a shit script but it was crudely animated to boot. For Angry Birds, you get remarkably great texture effects and lots of stuff happening in the background to convey that this is a “lived-in” world. The fact that the story and writing are so sub-par is a real tragedy to these animators…who may not even had steady jobs for long if their company continues to underperform. Yikes.
So the usual question must be answered: is this the best or worst video game movie? Well it’s not the best, since Mortal Kombat (despite being absolute shit) is still held as the most appropriate adaptation of its source material. And it’s not the worst one out there; believe me, trying to beat any one of Uwe Boll’s miscarriages like House of the Dead, Bloodrayne, and Alone in the Dark is a tall order. It’s not even the worst animated movie of the year either, like I said Norm of the North still holds that distinction. Okay, how about worst animated, video game adaptation? Nope, Ratchet & Clank beat Rovio for the king of that shit pile.
So where does The Angry Birds Movie stand? Bottom level Redbox honestly. This is a film destined to haunt the howling wastelands at the checkout of Target and Wal-Mart for all eternity. The movie only got a theatrical release because the studio that released it is desperate as hell. Sony’s trying to reboot Ghostbusters for fuck’s sake, these guys really aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
I don’t hate this film, but I do wish it had a shred more passion than it’s title suggests. This is getting a low…