'The Angry Birds Movie' review: Funny and entertaining, just like the game
If the Transformers movies could be so successful despite being based on toy figures, surely there could be movies based on other weird things, like a phone app?
The makers of The Angry Birds Movie take a huge gamble by churning out a whole animated movie based on the popular mobile game, and the results are fairly good.
If you like easy visual gags, enjoy pop culture references, or the sight of pigs slapping themselves on their buttocks, or eagles peeing – then the Angry Birds Movie works like an Oscar winning motion picture. There’s plenty of lowbrow humour and guilty pleasure chuckles in store, and in an environment saturated with dark serious superhero movies sometimes lowbrow is just what you need.
So how do you go about making a movie out of a phone app? Writer Jon Vitti, who’s been responsible for many episodes of The Simpsons does a pretty good job of creating ‘Bird Island’ — the universe that these birds stay in.
We are introduced to Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) who is perpetually grumpy and whose anger issues frequently tend to ruin the tranquility of the island. The harmony changes further when pigs from Pig Island arrive and begin to settle in the bird community. Red isn’t very thrilled of their arrival and he begins to spy on them along with his pals Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride). Sure enough, he uncovers a conspiracy that leads to an all out war.
What works is the color palette. Even though you expect high quality animation from big studios nowadays you’ll still be wowed by the stuff on screen. Because the film is contained to one particular little island it helps the filmmakers flesh out the little details of the area. Younger kids will enjoy the fast pace and the non sequitur gags are passably fun enough to entertain adults.
The most fun aspect of the game was the bombing, and directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly deliver on that front. There’s just something satisfying to see birds being slingshot to destroy pigs. And no matter how sophisticated you are it’s hard not to control your sniggering at the underhanded fart gag humor and eye rolling puns within the action sequences.
And if nothing else entertains you there’s the hilarious supporting cast including Bill Hader as the amusingly villainous King Mudbeard, Peter Dinklage as a once mighty and currently loser eagle, Key from Key and Peele as woodpecker Judge Peckinpah.
The film also attempts to give kids a couple of life lessons, that being angry isn’t the healthiest thing to do, but no one watching this film is going to go home educated or enlightened. Much like the game itself the film doesn’t offer anything valuable but it’s quite fun to it through.
In a world where movies based on games tend to suck, The Angry Birds Movie is a tiny little victory, and a nice diversion from Disney’s super large scale animation films. Now let’s hope this movie becomes successful and leads to a Candy Crush movie, or a Candy Crush Angry Birds shared universe.