Director: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn (all voice)
Written by Tom Sheffield
Finding myself sat in a cinema screen waiting for ‘Angry Birds’ to start actually came as a bit of a surprise to me. From first hearing about it, I wasn’t too sure why there was any need for a film based around an app that was released in 2009 – an app you’d probably download to make your morning commute a little more bearable, or to pass some time sitting on the porcelain throne. Nevertheless, over the past few years I’ve come to learn that having a cinema card is as good an excuse as any to see a film I wouldn’t normally consider going to watch.
The film is an origin story, showing us how the inhabitants of “Bird Island” became the flightless, frowning birds that we’re familiar with from the app, and just exactly why they’re at war with the Green Pigs. The story focuses on Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), who is forced to take anger management classes after one anger outburst too many. In these classes, Red becomes acquainted with Chuck (Josh Gad), a bird whose feet are as fast as his mouth, and Bomb (Danny McBride) who definitely does not understand the term “controlled explosion”. Out of nowhere, Bird Island is visited by a group of seemingly harmless and charming pigs, who claim they’re just humble explorers. Red becomes suspicious of the pigs’ true intentions and, following a less than subtle investigation, stumbles across the real reason for their visit. Red frantically tries to convince the rest of the island of the pigs’ plan, but they’re reluctant to believe him based on his previous form. So, Red, Chuck and Bomb have no choice but to find a way to foil the pigs’ scheme and prove to the rest of the island that they were right all along.
The voice cast add a lot of comedic charm and charisma to their characters, with Josh Gad being a notable mention for yet another hilarious voice-over performance. The voice actors really made the film that bit more enjoyable for audiences of all ages and truly brought these (once voiceless) characters to life. There are lots of subtle easter eggs from the game itself in some of the scenes, including a brief shot of the “world map”, the catchy background music from the main menu and even some scenes of slingshot firing. There’s a fair amount of innuendo throughout the script too, which was surprising considering the young target audience, and this hasn’t been too well received by parents who have taken their children to see the film. I feel the writers tried a little too hard to get a laugh out of the older viewers and in their efforts have caused a stir with risqué visual and vocal jokes.
The storyline feels ever so slightly predictable and really slow at times. I noticed during my viewing there were a number of families with younger children who were in fits of laughter and giggles at times, but they also became noticeably bored during some scenes and the film had lost their attention for a short period half way through; if I’m being honest it lost mine too. The film picked back up for me about three quarters of the way in, and from then on they were genuinely the best scenes of the film, because they were exactly what the audience wanted to see in an ‘Angry Birds’ movie.
I think that Rovio Animations and Sony have succeeded in terms of successfully bringing a video game origin story (an app at that, so even more credit) to the big screen. The film truly does stick to its roots, introducing us to the personalities of its well-known characters and bringing the world of Angry Birds to life on the big screen. Despite this, I still can’t help but feel that an Angry Birds film feels rather unnecessary, and in my opinion it definitely isn’t on par with some of the hilarious animated films we’ve seen released over the last couple of years.