By: Reel 127 (Six Pack) –
Everyone has interacted with Angry Birds at some point. It’s hard not to considering how popular the game was when it was first released. It seemed like just about everyone had the game downloaded on their phone. Over time the games expanded with different themes and, by law, anything that becomes popular enough for an extended period of time must be made into a Hollywood blockbuster. And when it is an animated Hollywood blockbuster then it needs to have an ensemble of increasingly questionable casting.
Angry Birds features the voice talents of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, and Danny McBride. And for some reason it also includes Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, and Smosh… of YouTube fame. Angry Birds follows Red, a bird with an anger issue who isn’t well liked as a result. One day some pigs arrive at the birds’ home and take an interest in their eggs. It’s up to Red to get back the eggs before the pigs eat them.
I’ll admit that this movie isn’t as bad as one would expect going in. The climax actually resembles the game closely as the birds are getting launched at the buildings the pigs are in. There were also a couple of times where tracking shots were used rather than several cuts to show angles. The shots usually had a lot of action going on in them so I was kind of surprised to see them use this technique. There were also a few jokes that were genuinely funny… that’s about it on the good end.
As I mentioned before, some of the casting choices were odd to say the least. When I reached the end of the movie I had a guess at who Sean Penn’s character was, but I really hoped I was wrong. Unfortunately, though, he voices Terence, the giant bird, whose dialogue is 95% groans (the other 5% is singing). How much did they spend to get Sean Penn? He could have been replaced with literally anyone and it would have had the same effect. Nobody is going to see The Angry Birds Movie because Sean Penn is in it. Josh Gad and Danny McBride were the only ones whose characters actually felt like characters. Apart from them, every time a main character spoke I just pictured their voice actor in a studio recording their lines. I didn’t believe them to be characters. Peter Dinklage comes and goes with good voice work, but I can’t help but feel if he just read a Game of Thrones script for all his lines this movie would have been way more entertaining.
“I drink and I know things.”
When you see the name “Jon Vitti” listed as the credited screenwriter you may think, “Where have I heard that name before?” Well, if you are a “Simpsons” and/or “King of the Hill” aficionado then you will likely recognize him as a writer of many classic episodes for these shows. He was also a producer for those shows as well as The Office. You’ll probably think, “Yeah! This guy can write comedy. This won’t be bad.” But then you find out the one other thing he has written that is comparable to Angry Birds… the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. When it comes to adult comedy, Vitti knows what he is doing. But when he needs to write an adaption for a family demographic something goes wrong. I don’t know if the scripts started out good and then got edited to hell, or if Vitti just can’t write for the genre. This won’t be enough to tarnish his reputation, but it is very far from what we should expect from him.
Come to think of it, Mike Judge could have been a better voice casting choice than most of the cast.
One of the things I found odd about this movie were the… mature themes in what is clearly meant to be an all ages film. Remember that trailer you were forced to watch a million times through television, YouTube, and trailers at the theater? Remember the scene where Mighty Eagle pees into a lake that the two birds drank from? You will be sad to know that they cut the stream of urine for the trailer. You are actually forced to watch the eagle peeing into the lake in the movie, because apparently this was vital to the story they were telling. I really wonder how Peter Dinklage agreed to a script that I am guessing read “relieved noises” for this part. Red makes a comment early on about the pigs being naked because they have no feathers. It would have been fine if they left it at that. However, I lost track of how many times a pig shook their green butt on screen. Apparently this was so common in the movie that on iMDb the first two words listed for plot keywords are “pig” and “butt.”
Beware the piggy butt. Beware!
The worst thing about this movie is how boring it gets from all the padding. If this movie actually had good pacing then it would only be worthy of three beers. There were several scenes in this movie where I was trying to justify their inclusion. I was doing this to pass the time because of how boring those scenes were. In one scene the main characters are trying to climb up to Mighty Eagle’s cave. Along the way they come up with sounds they think are Mighty Eagle’s battle cry. Okay, not terrible filler content, but then they find out they climbed the wrong mountain. Time for them to go climb another mountain. If everything non-essential was cut from this film it easily could have been 30 minutes.
When the audience begins to ask questions about things happening in a movie, it is not a bad thing. When the questions go unanswered and are too glaring to be forgotten about then it is a bad thing. It is brought up briefly that Red is an orphan. But we never see this developed. Considering how much filler there was, would it have been that hard to add a scene where Red says how he feels about that? Talk about how having no parents affected him. Give us some kind of development! Another thing that bugged me was the fact that the pigs were about to eat the eggs. This may not seem like such an issue but they establish that some of the eggs are partly developed. In fact one of the eggs hatched right after they got it away from the pigs. That means that the omelets the pigs so desired would have had chunks of bird in them. Is that enough to turn you off from seeing this?
I’m recommending a hard pass on this movie. Were this made as a short film it could have been entertaining. Instead we just get something clearly meant to bring back money into the dying Angry Birds franchise. Hopefully this movie will perform poorly enough to send a message to studios. A message that mobile video games should not get feature film adaptions. If not, then we are likely to see the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood movie.
Kill me now.
The Angry Birds Movie (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time you hear the Angry Birds theme in some form.
Do a Shot: when you contemplate pulling out your phone to play Angry Birds rather than watching the rest of the movie.
Take a Drink: for each name you are surprised to see in the credits.
Take a Drink: every time a character shakes their butt.
Take a Drink: whenever Red gets “angry.”