Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly (their directorial debuts)
Red (Jason Sudeikis) is a lonely flightless bird on an island populated by detached and friendly flightless birds. When a group of mysterious pigs show up on the shores of Bird Island, he is the only one that does not trust them. When these green pigs steal all the eggs Red along with Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride) must save them.
This film is not meant to be too deep. If this were food, we could call it a light snack rather than a main course. Its themes are few and explored only lightly. The merits, or the lack thereof, of anger could be a theme. Red has a chip on his should which has led him to be isolated from the other citizens of Bird Island. The citizens of Bird Island have at times though disregarded Red’s feelings and even disregarded him.
You could even take meeting of Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) as a warning to be careful of meeting your heroes. Not all of them live up to their reputation or your expectations. The character of Mighty Eagle has been (presumably) living atop Eagle Mountain but has not been seen in a long time. When Red, Chuck, and Bomb search him out what they find is an out of shape and self-absorbed lazy slacker type who is not the heroic do-gooder that they all thought he would be.
The pigs themselves are led by Leonard (Bill Hader). He is the usual animated villain who is obviously up to no good, but nobody really picks up on it until it is too late. I like those animated scenarios. Something about them reminds me of the old school animated shorts. Leonard’s relationship with the other pig characters feels more like that of Gru with the Minions in Despicable Me than anything else.
The movie is an animated feature that treats itself like a straight up comedy. It does not try to be specifically family friendly nor exclusively for adults. It seeks to entertain and fills itself with the visuals and humor a kid might find entertaining but also fits in plenty of jokes and gags that adults will enjoy as well. This is a silly movie with plenty of nods to the game along with a few to popular culture. My personal favorite are the twin pigs in the castle that allude to the children in the hallway in The Shining. That is a joke for the adults but not necessarily the kids.
I thought I would find this movie cute, but it was so much better than that. It had genuine laughs and was very entertaining. The characters were enjoyable and given plenty to do in a good script. The film was steady paced with no significant dead spots.
This is one of the rare videogame (app?) to movie adaptions that actually works. Too often they fail to entertain. Perhaps because this game is not a serious concept and the creators of the movie were allowed to go completely bonkers which is why this works. Too often adaptions take themselves seriously when they really should not. A recent crop of lighter videogame to screen films looks as if they are getting that a game with a silly premise she be treated as such.
The finale is a slapstick and action-packed bit of craziness where the assorted Angry Birds get to finally use their videogame abilities. Often when they do something like this where the characters really do not use the abilities they are known for up until the finale it feels like an effort to shut up fans but not here. The story was building up to this moment in everything they did. They are not trying to keep you quiet. They are paying off everything they built towards.
The use of popular music is spot on here. There are songs such as “I Will Survive” by Demi Lovato, “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by Scorpions, and even “Wild Thing” by Tone Lōc to name a few fit with how they are used and add to the humor of the moment. Plus it is just great music.
One of the more impressive things about this movie is that it still looks good. Computer animation looks cool but as technology advances it tends to age poorly and quickly. It is one reason I will never be completely sold on computer animation. It impresses in the moment but fails to retain its quality as time marches on. This (for now) bucks that trend and that is a good thing because this is a good movie.
The Angry Birds Movie should have been terrible if not completely unwatchable, but it is most definitely not that. It is a great animated film that has plenty to entertain children as well as adults. You will laugh and it will occasionally get your heartstrings. You will come back to see it again.