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The Angry Birds Movie

Coming Soon

I’ve downloaded it and played countless times. Most of you have downloaded it and played as well. Practically everyone reading this article knows exactly what Angry Birds is. On the off chance this article finds its way to someone that is just waking up from a coma that has lasted at least six and half years, Angry Birds took its initial flight in December 2009 as a free downloadable game. Since then it has been downloaded over a billion times. A billion of anything is impressive, right? Anyway with a reach that wide, a movie adaptation was inevitable. An idea was hatched and now The Angry Birds Movie lives, but is it worth digging into your nest egg to drop top dollars on?
On an island inhabited by only birds, Red (Jason Sudeikis) is a bird in need of an attitude adjustment. He struggles in his day-to-day activities to maintain his composure. It’s this type of anger that led him to being ostracized by fellow feathered flock. His home is even outside of where the others live. After a his most recent outburst, Red is ordered to take anger management classes in the hopes he can find a way to deal with his temperament. As you’d probably expect, his support group isn’t THAT supportive since they’re also dealing with their own issues. When a mysterious ship pays an unexpected visit to the island, things get interesting. A gregarious and seemingly good-natured pig by the name of Leonard (Bill Hader) brings all kinds of fun and exciting gifts for his new bird friends. While the trustworthy (more like naive) birds are quick to accept Leonard’s offerings, Red has suspicions of a greater plot being played out. With the assistance of some of his new “friends” from his anger classes, he discovers that Leonard is there under false pretenses. Things go from bad to worse as the sneaky pigs plans are revealed. At this point, this just about where a direct correlation from the video games come into play.
Animated movies for the most part are only as good as the voices behind them. The Angry Birds Movie is no exception. Lending comedic voice talents to this story in addition to Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader are Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Hannibal Buress and Peter Dinklage. And that’s only the top billed voices. Even a couple of singers (Blake Shelton, Charlie XCX) with songs on the soundtrack got in on the voice over fun. I urge readers to check out the movie’s IMDb page to see a full list of the cast as I couldn’t name everyone.
The Angry Birds Movie is directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly which also happens to be both of their directorial debuts. Unfortunately for them, the first project they are tasked is one that had very little chance of succeeding from the onset. First off, I mentioned early on about the Angry Birds craze and how many people had played the game. Well that ship has since sailed a long time ago. So what may have been once a craze surrounding this franchise is now merely a curiosity to see what’s different. The movie idea is about three years too late in my eyes, and in this industry that’s a lifetime. Getting past the less than ideal timing, there’s the actual substance of the movie as it relates to the game itself. That portion of the movie is probably 10% at best, leaving the rest to a backstory build-up, with hopes (very false hopes IMO) that it’s engaging enough to entertain its audience.
The target demographic is clearly focused towards a younger audience as it should be. The problem will be that the younger kids aren’t going to find it silly enough and the older kids will have even less interest. Typically these types of movies hope to be successful with different demographics by layering it in such a way that there’s a little something on the top shelf for the older audiences aka parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. that only they can appreciate. The Angry Birds Movie does contain some of those moments but not enough of them to the point that you feel a satisfactory justification for sitting there the entire time. Coming up short in all three of these target areas should almost certainly spell doom for Sony’s bottom line on this investment.
I won’t walk on eggshells here. The Angry Birds Movie is disappointed, uninspired and just plain hollow inside. Being the only new PG-rated movie released this weekend, odds are it’ll do okay. Having said that, there are other movies that have been out a few weeks that might be a better alternative if you’re trying to entertain the little ones. Fans of the video game can watch about the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes with a nice long hour nap in between, and come away no worse for wear. Even with all of the talented and incredibly entertaining actors involved, the fate of this animated comedy cannot be saved. I can’t imagine the movie will see anywhere near a fraction of the success enjoyed by its video game counterpart.

The Angry Birds Movie is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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