We’ve already had movies based on board games, toys, comic books, and video games, so it only stands to reason a movie based on a smartphone app wouldn’t be far behind. So how do you make a movie from a game that involves catapulting birds into buildings and pigs? I’m not sure, and apparently the filmmakers of The Angry Birds Movie didn’t know either. The concept may be perfect fodder for an animated short, but an hour-and-a-half-long film proves to be a mighty stretch.
The film starts out as a sort of morality tale, as Red (Jason Sudeikis) is presented as Bird Island’s resident pariah, with no concern for anyone but himself. Not only does he ruin a young bird’s birthday party, he also takes great delight in (literally) rubbing it in the grown-ups’ faces. Then, within minutes, poor Red is revealed to be target of incessant bullying– both for being an orphan and for having abnormally gargantuan eyebrows. So is he a jerk or a victim? No idea, and it’s not worth dwelling on, because that whole concept is abandoned once he gets sentenced to anger management classes.
There he meets Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride), along with counselor Matilda (Maya Rudolph). But does Red learn anything? Does he reform and become Bird Island’s model citizen? No idea, and it’s not worth dwelling on, because that whole concept is abandoned once a shipful of pigs rolls up on the beach.
So on and so on we go, with The Angry Birds Movie becoming perhaps one of the most random films in recent memory. Screenwriter Jon Vitti (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel) seems content to just throw anything at the wall and just see what sticks– whether it’s a beer-bellied eagle urinating in a lake, a pig-filled trampoline party, or a big fluffy bird who stands in the town square looking for hugs. None of it really does stick, though– instead coming off as just a scattered assortment of odd bits.
Eventually (after a solid hour) the movie finally gets to the actual catapulting-birds-into-pigs part (and it’s a pretty fun sequence), but by that point, any hope of a coherent story had long since been jettisoned. And the soundtrack is just as nutty, too, with music from such disparate acts as Black Sabbath, Blake Shelton, and Tone Loc, and that’s just for starters. Whiplash much?
I’ll give first-time directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly some credit. They keep things moving, and there’s some pretty snazzy eye candy to be seen along the way, but they (like Vitti) seem to be doing everything they can to cater to anyone with an attention span of less than a half-second.
…which, I suppose, is most children. So apparently The Angry Birds Movie is the best thing ever, as long as you’re not old enough to wonder what the heck is going on.
Worth the 3D glasses?
While there are some 3D-worthy moments, particularly toward the end, as birds are chucked through the air to wreak havoc and destruction, there’s not enough to merit the added weight on the bridge of your nose.