The Angry Birds Movie is produced by Sony Pictures and is based on the popular mobile app of the same name. It features a star-studded cast and bright, colourful animation - but is it enough to please both kids and adults alike?
In short, no. The feature film treatment doesn't do the film any huge favours and the restrictive nature of the basic premise - catapulting birds at fortresses occupied by pigs can only carry the film so far.
But before we get into it, let's rewind to summarise the premise. In the film, an idyllic colony of birds like in relative peace on the imaginatively titled Bird Island. The only outsider is Red (Jason Sudeikis), a plucky young fellow who struggles with anger management issues. Ostracised by his peers, Red is forced to attend therapy sessions with three other birds - Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride) and Terence (Sean Penn) where they learn meditative practices under the tutelage of Doctor Matilda (Maya Rudolph).
When a giant ship filled with squishy green pigs lands on their sandy shores, the colony of birds are all excited to make friends - all except Red, of course. Suspicious of the pigs and their charismatic leader Leonard (Bill Hader), Red soon discovers their true intentions - and a vast rift begins to open up between the two clans.
As source materials go, they rarely come as thin and simplistic as the Angry Birds mobile game. But, money talks and a collective three billion downloads gave Sony ample reason to greenlight this film - but as I'm sure you were expecting, the final product is piss poor to say the least.
The animation is undeniably gorgeous and the colours are brilliantly bright and engaging for little ones, but there really isn't anything substantial to enjoy here if your age dips into double digits. The jokes are frenetic and energetic, almost like the filmmakers just gobbled an entire bag of those brightly coloured chewy worms before spewing across the screen. This makes it ideal for tots with short attention-spans, but tiresome for anyone craving a degree of substance.
The voice-work is purely serviceable; Sudeikis aims for everyday joe and scores, Gad is recycling his work as Olaf (he sounds exactly the same) and Penn literally says nothing for the entire film. I'm not joking. He just grunts. I mean, what the Hell is that all about? You recruit Sean Penn and don't give him a single line? If this is some kind of meta joke that only adults can appreciate, it sorely fails.
The cast list extends further through the supporting characters; Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Keegan-Michael Key, Ike Barinholtz, Hannibal Buress, Peter Dinklage. It really is perplexing how so many people decided that signing on for this film was a great idea. The only person who sounds like they're giving a shit is Bill Hader.
Most confusing however is the messaging. The film conveys such a strong anti-immigration message, I was starting to wonder if the Australian government had a hand in funding the thing. Essentially, the pigs announce their arrival by boat (cover your ears, Mr Abbott), smuggle half their population in by hiding them below decks before rigging the entire bird village with explosives, stealing their most valuable assets and then scarpering off back to Pig Island (yep, they really didn't put any effort into the place names, did they?). Their leader even has a suspiciously Arab-looking beard! The birds then retaliate by bombing the shit out of the pig city with the help of a bald eagle. Maybe I'm looking into it a little too much, but you have to admit - it sounds kinda sketchy when you spell it out like that.
The Verdict: 3/10
The Angry Birds Movie is a hyperactive adaptation that really won't enthral anyone whose legs can reach the floor of the movie theatre. Wait for the DVD and then plonk the rugrats in front of the TV for a quick 90-minute diversion. Boy, I can't wait until someone starts production on a Flappy Bird film. That game was the shit!
The Angry Birds Movie is in cinemas across Australia now