When it was announced that this movie would be released soon, my first reaction was: does anyone still play Angry Birds?
Sure, it was hugely popular a few years back when everyone and their pet duck seemed to be playing the game, and those furious feathered friends were plastered on everything from school bags to (I kid you not) underwear.
Since then, the craze seems to have died down a little, though the brand still lives on in other forms, including an odd Star Wars: Angry Birds tie-in board game. There was even a mooted Angry Birds Land theme park that was to be built in, wait for it, Johor Baru, Malaysia in 2014 (obviously that plan never really, er, hatched).
Anyway, that little game about a bunch of angry birds throwing themselves at structures built by a bunch of pigs who had stolen their eggs may seem like unlikely fodder for a movie, but make a movie they did.
The story is set on an island of birds. An island of very happy birds, to be exact. It is an island where being angry is frowned upon (but in a happy way), and offenders are sent to anger management class. This is bad news for Red (Jason Sudeikis), who is angry ALL THE TIME (though to tell the truth, his anger only ranges from being mildly annoyed to mostly irritated at first).
So, after another anger-related incident, off to anger management class he goes, where he meets the rest of the video-game-bird gang – Chuck, the speedy yellow bird (voiced by Josh Gad); Bomb, the black bomb bird (Danny McBride); Matilda, the white bird who can shoot fireballs (Maya Rudolph); and Terence, the giant red bird (Sean Penn). Oh, and in case you were wondering, the useless boomerang bird and three little blue birds also show up, but much later.
One day, life on the happy little island is disrupted when a strange ship shows up, carrying a bunch of noisy and rowdy pigs, led by Leonard (Bill Hader). At first, it seems as though they are there to make friends, but it soon becomes apparent that they have something much, much more sinister in mind – the birds’ eggs, which they plan to bring home to make into omelettes!
Like the game itself, this is a movie that is fun and entertaining at first, but gets a little old and frustrating as you progress. It’s the sort of light-hearted flick you’d enjoy and laugh at, but forget about as soon as you leave the cinema.
Now, here’s a piece of advice: try not to over-think things while watching the movie.
What am I talking about? Well, let’s just consider the pigs’ ultimate motive. You see, those eggs are the birds’ children. And those pigs want to turn them into omelettes. It’s a sinister and dark plot that seems more suited to an episode of Criminal Minds, not a kids’ animated feature featuring cute bird characters.
The action only begins to take flight once the action moves over to the pigs’ island, where we get the crowd-pleasing video game-aping sequence of birds being hurled by slingshot into the pigs’ various structures. It’s fun and entertaining enough that you don’t even get to stop to ponder and realise that the birds are essentially committing suicide by throwing themselves, kamikaze-like, at concrete buildings.
Like I said, don’t over-think it. As long as you follow that advice, you should be able to enjoy this movie properly. And who knows, it might even get you to reinstall that Angry Birds app and start flinging birds at pigs again.
The Angry Birds Movie
Directors: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader and Peter Dinklage