"The Angry Birds Movie" stars Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, and Peter Dinklage. Released on May 20, 2016, the film is about a bird with anger issues who teams up with his new friends to investigate the mysterious arrival of the pigs.
The film features the directorial debuts of Clay Kaytis (who was the head of animation at Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Fergal Reilly (the storyboard artist for films like Spider-Man 2 and Hotel Transylvania). It is based on the video game series of the same name by Rovio Entertainment. I'm not that much of a big fan of the Angry Birds franchise, but I did play a few installments on my phone, including the recent one, Angry Birds Action. Who even knew that an app game about birds with anger issues who uses a slingshot to destroy the pigs and their property could be so popular in terms of merchandise and media? With this much popularity, it's no wonder that Hollywood decided to make an animated film based on that concept, and that is what I'm reviewing today. In case you didn't know, video game movies tend to have a string of bad luck when it comes to box office and critical reception, but this one does have a chance to break that streak.
The film consists of an origin story that explains how the war between the flightless birds and the egg-stealing pigs began, which wasn't fully explained in the games. It's nice that they went towards that route because it's something that we haven't explored before in that universe. The actors in the film delivered some pretty good voice performances, ranging from Sudeikis as Red, an outsider who has the tendency to be angry, to Bill Hader as Leonard, the leader of the pigs. What's also a plus is that it captured the look and feel of the games themselves, such as the characters and their "abilities". For example, Chuck (voiced by Josh Gad) is a fast-talking yellow bird who can move as fast as Road Runner and Bomb (McBride) has the ability to blow up when startled, hence the name "Bomb". The characters can be a blast to hang out with, but they can be a bit tiresome every once in a while. The animation is very colorful and vibrant, which is very pleasing to the eyes, especially during the third act.
If there were a few things that could've been better for me, one of them would have to be the story. It's a good way to explore how this silly war began, but it does get a bit lost in its pacing and humor. The pacing is fine to keep the younger kids glued to the screen, however the structure felt a bit too rushed which didn't give the film any time to gather any depth in the characters and the story. Even though the film is about 95 minutes long, it should've allowed some time to slow down a bit, in my opinion. The humor in this film, mostly from the pigs, does feel a bit ridiculous and obnoxious, but there were some moments that just put a smile on my face instead of a frown.
Overall, "The Angry Birds Movie" is one of those animated family treats that despite its story and humor being as frustrated as the games itself, it'll bring a pretty solid smile on the kids' faces in terms of the animation and the fun, yet obnoxious, characters. It's not the best video game movie I've seen, but it's one of the most passable family films I've seen this year. If you're a fan of the games, but are too frustrated to get past the higher levels, it's worth a watch with your children.