Synopsis – Find out why the birds are so angry. When an island populated by happy, flightless birds is visited by mysterious green piggies, it’s up to three unlikely outcasts – Red, Chuck and Bomb – to figure out what the pigs are up to.
My Take – I have honestly never cared about Angry Birds before, I actually never understood the craze behind the silly game. What made me frown more was the announcement of a big screen adaption, like what’s next Candy Crush or Flappy Bird? At this point, considering a Tetris trilogy is being adapted, anything is possible. Before watching this, I kept thinking how could a movie about a simple smart phone game, be any good? Heck, Hollywood can barely make a decent video game movie, even one with an already great story. But, this? A game with a few cut scenes and a simple story “Pigs steal eggs, Birds try to get them back”. Yet the presence of a likeable voice over cast somehow pushed me into checking this one despite the initial negative reactions. And I’m quite glad I did, for it is a lot better than I expected it to be. Well hats off to the writers and the voice cast. It is silly and hilarious but it still has a decent plot, moral, and some emotion. Plus the animation is very lively and colorful. The film somehow hearkens back to the golden age of animation, especially the Looney Toons cartoons. The action was energetic and the comedic delivery was always on time. There are also a lot of “blink and you’ll miss them” sight gags, as well as some subtle adult humor (which the golden age was also known for). This film, like many other animated films, write a funny story that kids can follow along, yet also include enough ‘inside jokes’ for the adults to get, so they get a quick laugh too. For the fans of the game, about half way through movie, you finally get your nod.
When the birds attack the pigs, we finally get a taste of the game. But it doesn’t take away from the movie as one might expect. They did a great job of sling shooting the birds at the pig’s buildings without taking away from the story. The story follows the grumpy Red (Jason Sudekis) on a tropical island full of flightless birds. An outcast due to his violent nature, his recent outburst at a birthday party prompts Judge Peckinpah (Keegan-Michael Key) into sending him to the anger management program run by the overly happy therapist, Matilda (Maya Rudolph). Some of the others in the class include the high energy filled Chuck (Josh Gad), the explosive Bomb (Danny McBride), and the really big & intense Terence (Sean Penn). The four try to take in their lessons, until a ship pulls in. Captained by a green pig known as Leonard (Bill Hader) who tells the birds that there are from another island filled with pigs. The rest of the bird community seems pretty excited and welcoming to these new visitors, all except for Red who sees an exterior motive in Leonard’s actions. Yup, I know this sounds ridiculous, in layman terms this is a 97 minute film about flightless birds who go up against egg-napping pigs. Somehow it works and pretty much like the ridiculous premise for a game it was surprisingly enjoyable and entertaining. It was funny to notice the subtext on the age certificate warning at the beginning quoting “Slapstick comedy and toilet humour.” As the film contained exactly that and pun after pun making it actually well scripted for what it is. Brings a whole new meaning to ‘Golden Eagle’. The comedy was rather absurd and weird to describe (which is one reason I actually liked it). I liked the obvious parody of the “Time in a Bottle” scene from “X-Men Days of Future Past” or that Grady twins reference from “The Shining.” The storyline is pretty basic but hey, all is forgiven if the film does what it says on the cover, right? What are viewers actually expecting from this kind of movie? If you’re looking for a dramatic and thought-provoking animated film, then you won’t find it here, the Pixar movies would be the right place to go to, or even the recent Disney blockbuster Zootopia, but if your looking for something wacky and absurd, you’re in the right place.
This film is also the debut of directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly who have an interesting resume consisting of work on films like The Iron Giant, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and even Frozen. Directors Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly stay faithful to the basic premise of the game, while also masterfully expanding on it. The makers of the film, give the iconic birds & the green pigs, a much needed origin story. Now we finally know, how it all began! With all of the well-timed adult humor, the “potty” humor as I mentioned before, felt more like the filmmakers were trying to hard to reach for laughs. It’s that type of desperate humor that overtakes the ridiculous joy out of seeing the birds angrily soar through the air from a slingshot toward pigs. And yes, to a certain extent you have to suspend your disbelief as to why birds simply can’t fly in this film, but hey that’s canon in the game. Along with the ironically safe humor, the given story also does not justify its 97 minutes running time. A little more of the slingshot moments, instead of the unnecessary musical montages would have made things different. A better writer might have done more along with more usage of it’s comedians. The animation itself is beautifully rendered, looking practically photo-realistic while still being exaggerated and cartoonish. The birds are more anthropomorphic than they were in the game, having arms and legs and living on a tropical island. The same can be said for the pigs, who have also been given more human-like features and personalities. The environments are more realistic than cartoonish, but they still have some exaggerated elements that complement the film’s tone and characters. The voice cast does their job well. Jason Sudeikis is outstanding as Red. Sudeikis perfectly captures Red’s cynicism. Josh Gad is mind blowing as Chuck. Gad voices Chuck with the same enthusiasm that he had, when he voiced Olaf in Frozen (2013). Danny McBride is fantastic as Bomb. I like the fact that McBride subtly changed his voice, to portray Bomb. Maya Rudolph is awesome as Matilda. Bill Hader is superb as Leonard. Peter Dinklage is hysterical as Mighty Eagle. Sean Penn is impressive as Terence. Keegan Michael-Key is great as Judge Peckinpah. Kate McKinnon is good as Stella. Tony Hale is hilarious as Mime. The supporting cast is effective. On the whole, ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ manages to be a fun feature despite the absence of a reason for existing in the first place.