May 13, 2016
Angry Birds is a video game franchise created by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment, It was first released in December 2009. By July 2015, the series’ various games in all its different formats have been downloaded over three billion times the world over. It was not a big wonder that a film would eventually be made from the characters of this game.
Practically everyone has seen at least the original game with the five birds: main bird Red, yellow bird Chuck, black bird Bomb, white bird Matilda, and triple Blues. Many should be familiar with the maddening physics-laced puzzle game play of launching these angry birds to hit the green pigs hiding under various structures. Not too good with analyzing projectile motion, I admit I was not so patient with this game.
The film's storyline tells of Red as a miserable hotheaded outcast with poor people skills. A violent altercation with another bird caused him to be sentenced to attend Anger Management classes under Matilda. There, he met Chuck and Bomb, as well as quiet giant maroon bird named Terence. One day, a ship of green pigs landed on the birds' island. While the other birds welcomed their unusual guests, Red remained suspicious that the Pigs were up to no good. Unfortunately, Red's worst fears were soon confirmed, and birds have to go beyond themselves to get their precious treasures back.
The film as a whole was better than what the trailer showed. For the most part, the storytelling was very entertaining. The best part of the film was the climactic battle where we saw the birds in action with the giant slingshot, but it was too short, I felt. It was too bad we only saw the green boomerang toucan bird Hal, the tiny orange bird Bubbles and the cute pink bird Stella all too briefly. On the other hand, an inordinately long, occasionally awkward, time was spent with the iconic Mighty Eagle.
The voices come from some of the most popular comedians working in Hollywood today. Jason Sudeikis was Red. Danny McBride was Bomb. Maya Rudolph was Matilda. Bill Hader was Leonard. Josh Gad, whom we last heard as Olaf in "Frozen," was Chuck, a hyperactive voice performance I really enjoyed. Peter Dinklage did so well in his ironic casting the Mighty Eagle. It is very surprising that the first time I have seen Sean Penn's name in a film again was as Terence. Fans of the Youtube channel Smosh will be delighted that Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla have cameos here as the voices of Bubbles and Hal respectively.
The comedy was rather weird to describe. The jokes can really be juvenile, shallow and silly, but there were also quite a number of adult humor (some even creepy or uncomfortable references). I liked the obvious parody of the "Time in a Bottle" scene from "X-Men Days of Future Past" or that Grady twins reference from "The Shining." I liked the cheery and cheesy retro pop songs in the soundtrack, by artists from Rick Astley to Limp Bizkit, to accompany the most unexpected scenes.
I had fun watching it for sure, but I cannot say I completely liked this film. It was really had to put a finger on what exactly the film lacked, but my kids and I all felt it while watching. Looking back now, I think it may have been this odd sense of humor, which felt forced and flat at times. Anyhow, the small kids in the theater were giggling and laughing so much at the wacky antics of the main avian crew, as well as those little round green pigs and super-cute wide-eyed hatchlings. Because of their delighted reactions, I guess then that the film did hit their target audience right, and that is most important. 6/10.