Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Angry Birds was (and still is?) everyone's favorite obsession, and don't even act like you haven't heard of it. This popular strategy game has the user flinging a variety of different birds - all with unique abilities - trying to destroy level after level to recover their nest eggs, stolen by an evil green-pig empire. It's one of the most popular mobile games ever created, so naturally, Hollywood wanted to cash in. The end result is The Angry Birds Movie (opening today), and it is as shallow and vapid as you might expect from a movie based on a simple video game.
There are talented people in place to voice the many characters we are introduced to, but don't let that fool you into thinking that this could be some sort of hip, clever comedy. The angry bird at the film's center is Red (Jason Sudeikis) who is a loner living on the edges of his elaborate bird village. He's got some issues and is sentenced by Judge Peckinpah (Keegan-Michael Key) to enroll in an anger management class. There he meets Bomb (Danny McBride), who literally explodes whenever he is excited or startled, Chuck (Josh Gad) a lightning-fast yellow bird with a questionable moral code, and then there is Matilda (Maya Rudolph), the sappy, spiritual instructor who tries her best to get her fellow flock-mates to soar.
When a strange race of green pigs show up on their shores, Red and his friends are a bit skeptical of their intentions, but the bird- brained leaders of Red's community accept them with open arms. They are led by a pig named Leonard (Bill Hader) who seems nice at first, but well, you see where this is going.
If you are used to imaginative worlds like in the Pixar or Disney films, brace yourselves. Those studios have a knack for creating fictional environments, wondrously pondering what life might be like for a toy, or a bug, or a den of lions. The world of Angry Birds is thin and flimsy, and the filmmakers pull out every bird pun in the book to try to match their creative counter-parts. They fail miserably.
Oddly, even the animation style seems choppy and sub-par to what many might be used to seeing on the big-screen. Every character seems jittery, as if on speed, and it's a dizzying experience to endure. Even the four-year-old I brought with me was asking to leave the theater about 30 minutes in. If that's not a sign of failure, I'm not sure what is.
Not even the Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) can save Angry Birds from itself. If you consider that the person responsible for this adaptation, screenwriter Jon Vitti, also penned such recent classics like Alvin & the Chipmunks and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, it might clue you in to the level of quality you should expect here.
There are no real lessons here, no reflections of humanity, and no real characters to even bother remembering. In fact, this film might have worked much better going straight to video or On Demand. Is the purpose here to channel one's anger for the greater good? To force parents to poke out their eyeballs? To make everyone angry that they just paid for this at a theater? The Angry Birds Movie is the worst version of itself: A lazy side-scrolling adventure that traps you in your seat and doesn't allow you to take control of anything, like you'd be able to if you were playing it on your phone. And it's quite pathetic that at 97 minutes, the filmmakers aren't even able to flesh out this story beyond the still images that appear in-between levels. If you like Angry Birds, then go play the game, and fly right over this pathetic cash-grab.
Genre: Animation, Action, Comedy
Run Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes, Rated PG
Starring (voices of): Peter Dinklage, Jason Sudeikis, Kate McKinnon, Keegan-Michael Key, Tituss Burgess, Sean Penn, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, Danny McBride, Josh Gad, Tony Hale
Directed by Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly (Feature-film directorial debut)
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