Friday, March 20, 2020

King Ralph

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching.  Hail to the king, baby!



King Ralph – 3 out of 5

It has been a long time since I’ve watched King Ralph and, to be honest, I think I only saw it a single time.  With a pandemic hitting the globe, there is a lot of time spent at home as I practice social distancing (not that I needed practice.  I’m an unattractive introvert, being alone has never been something that wasn’t an essential part of my existence).  A key component to my time spent by my lonesome is watching movies (that’s why I have this blog, of course) so I decided to check this one out from my local library before it closed its doors for the foreseeable future and revisit it.  It was alright.

Hey!  Rose's mom met the War Doctor in her younger years.
My head canon is that King Ralph exists in the Doctor Who universe.

Either they were all electrocuted or saw the savings
they can get during Toyotathon.
After a freak accident kills the entire British royal family, there is a mad dash in order to find surviving heirs to fill the vacancy of the monarchy.  Eventually, an unexpected replacement is found after it is discovered that the first Duke of Warren had an affair with an American and the grandson of that American is now the rightful heir.  His name is Ralph Jones (John Goodman) and is a party animal and a lounge singer in Las Vegas.  It is now up to Sir Cedric Charles Willingham (Peter O’Toole) to turn him into royalty; however, Ralph soon learns that being king isn’t all it is cracked up to be as he falls for an exotic dancer named Miranda (Camille Coduri) and Sir Cedric isn’t having it.  Meanwhile, Lord Percival Graves (John Hurt) is opposed to Ralph becoming king and is secretly scheming to get him off the throne.

I would actually welcome John Goodman as king.

King Ralph is a pretty innocent and entirely safe comedy as the jokes are very predictable and the story plays out in the exact manner you expect it to.  The story doesn’t really provide any twists and never does the feature play off of expectations but rather seems to embrace them and deliver them and the tame humor in an honest fashion.  Sometimes this formula can be boring and while it isn’t making King Ralph a laugh riot or an immensely fun ride, it does end up working thanks to one specific element:  The cast.

Don't like John Goodman?  What's it like hating awesome things?

The cast in King Ralph is really what makes this film and stops it from being the kinda/sorta generic comedy that it rightfully is.  Thanks to the great straight man work of Peter O’Toole, the just goofy enough performance of Richard Griffiths, the cartoonishly evil machinations of John Hurt, the terrifically sincere qualities of Camille Coduri, and the undeniable charms of John Goodman, the film proves to be a decent watch and they are able to make the very predictable humor work.

Everyone should have a Peter O'Toole as the straight man in their life.

King Ralph is, honestly, a pretty forgettable movie.  With its predictable humor, it doesn’t have a lot of scenes and moments that really stand out.  I will admit the central concept is not too shabby but it is not a movie that does much to stand out.  That being said, it isn’t a complete waste of time either as the cast makes it watchable and semi-entertaining.  This feature is basically the definition of my middle-of-the-road score.  It’s not terrible but not completely great either.  It’s okay entertainment that will kill some time but won’t make you feel like you wasted said time.

Very Bad Things

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching.  I'm assuming the title of this film is in reference to every single aspect about it.



Very Bad Things – 1 out of 5

Dark comedies are hard properties to get right.  Finding that blend of humor and darkness—be it a thriller aspect or horror tones or whatever—is a really difficult process because if you have too much of one side over the other it doesn’t succeed as being a dark comedy and if you can’t get the humor right then the comedy aspects of it are negligible.  Very Bad Things came out in 1998, when I was in high school.  During these years I was first developing my taste for dark comedies but I never gave this film a chance because I never heard a single good thing about it.  The people I knew and the critics at the time were basically calling it awful.  So, I ignored it.  Recently, the film popped in my head so I decided to finally give it a chance.  Everything I heard about it was correct.  This movie is terrible!

If only a bunch of people worked this hard to keep this movie from being released...

They just look like a crew who is going to do some
illegal shit...and get away with it because they're white.
Kyle Fisher (Jon Favreau) is getting married to the woman he loves more than anything else in the world; Laura Garrety (Cameron Diaz).  Before the wedding is to take place, Kyle gathers his friends; Adam Berkow (Daniel Stern) and his brother Michael (Jeremy Piven), the kinda off Charles Moore (Leland Orser) and the kinda shitty Robert Boyd (Christian Slater), and they all head to Las Vegas for a bachelor party.  There are drugs, booze, a stripper, and, after Michael pays the stripper for sex, he accidentally kills her.  Now the gang must get rid of the body and erase any suspicion of wrong doing.  It isn’t long before the heinous act starts to weigh on each and every single one of them.

The sex worker was having sex with Jeremy Piven so death was almost an apology
for what she went through.

Very Bad Things makes claims it is a dark comedy but I honestly didn’t find anything about it funny.  While it is entirely possible to make the core concept darkly amusing I didn’t see this one succeeded in that aspect at all.  Most of the funny moments basically boil down to a lot of scenes of all the characters yelling at each other.  This, and all other attempts at comedy, come off more grating than anything else and it made this film super hard to sit through.  To make matters even worse, so many of the scenes go on way too long.  It could be argued that this is to build the tension in the scene and sometimes this formula works (like in Uncut Gems, which you can read my review of here) but in this film it just felt like it was prolonging the torture as these sequences don’t really build to anything except within the final seconds of the scene.  So, essentially, in order to create dark-leaning comedy this film just subjects you to long sequences of unlikeable and wholly unsympathetic characters yelling at each other and then have the story progression come towards the end of these unbearable scenes. 

Jon Favreau's career is so stellar (and he helped give birth to my favorite thing; the MCU)
that a stinker here and there is completely forgivable.

From a performance standpoint, this film is…eh…it’s meh.  Which is sad for me to admit because there are performers in this film that I really like—for example, Jon Favreau, Daniel Stern and Christian Slater.  Sadly, none of these people really seemed to be delivering.  Slater never stops talking and he isn’t saying anything interesting, funny, or engaging.  Favreau is a pretty bland slate as he is spending most time staring wide-eyed and has pretty much one moment of amusing insanity.  Then there is the players who are just too over-the-top and that is basically everyone else.

90s Slater always felt like he was trying to do an impression of Jack Nicholson.

Ultimately, however, the true killer of this film is the tone.  This feature never feels like a dark comedy because it is playing like a drama with a hint of crime thriller to it.  There’s never a hint at levity or even the slightest seasoning of absurd or comedic until the very, very, very last seconds of the film.  Then suddenly it gets slightly goofy.  Sure, before that it attempts to be funny but, like I said, all attempts at humor fall flat or are just the characters all yelling at each other.  Furthermore, these are just attempts at jokes not an overall arching atmosphere of humor.  There are jokes in horror films and the product still won’t qualify as a dark comedy.  This film just completely lacked any sense of comedic tone.  It was a barren wasteland that had a single oasis that acted as its comedic element but, in reality, the oasis was a paltry puddle.

Dick biting...I guess that is funny?

I actively work against doing the hacky soundbite summaries of reviews that mainstream critics fall all over themselves for but Very Bad Things is a very bad movie (and I'm a hypocrite, I know, because I've made hacky jokes at the title's expense through this entire review).  I supposed it could have worked as a dark comedy if put in the right hands and if the feature just went straight for the crime thriller aspect and was just about a party gone wrong that eats away at the gang it might have been interesting but as a dark comedy it is a complete and utter failure.  When it isn’t doing slow-motion montages set to lethargic music tracks (and it does this an obnoxious and completely unnecessary amount of times), the film is absolutely floundering when it is attempting to do a comedic scene or just failing to craft a tone and atmosphere that is synonymous for dark comedies.  Add in the really grating performances and a story that realistic didn’t have enough meat to it to warrant a feature length and it resulted in a film that I have a very, very, very hard time getting through.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Kung Fu Panda 3

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching.  3 Things pandas love:  Eating, pooping, and kicking fools that step out of line!



Kung Fu Panda 3 – 4 out of 5

The Kung Fu Panda movies are pretty fun animated features.  Despite the fact I find them enjoyable, I forgot that a 3rd film came out in 2016.  When I recently checked out the Angry Birds films (you can read their reviews here and here or just keep scrolling past this one and you'll find them) I was reminded of this feature.  I checked it out and it was just as fun as the other films…and that is to say a lot of fun in case you missed me saying the films are fun.

Kick! Punch! It's all in the mind!

"Po, I am your father."
Po (Jack Black) quickly learns that teaching isn’t as easy as he thinks it is as Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) retires and passes on the responsibilities of kung fu teaching to him.  As the stress bears downs (no pun intended) on him, a mysterious stranger arrives and claims to be Li Shan (Bryan Cranston), Po’s long-lost biological father.  Li Shan promises he can take him to a secret panda village where he can learn how to master chi.  Meanwhile, a powerful warrior named Kai (J.K. Simmons) has claim the chi of all kung fu masters in the spirit realm and uses the power to return to the mortal realm.  Now Po and his friends must stop Kai and return him to the realm of the dead.

I know he's bad but it's hard to hate a guy with cool green glowing eyes.

Like the last two films, Kung Fu Panda 3 has this great balance of humor and action.  This movie is laugh-out-loud funny and the action is very exciting.  And thanks to a very intense antagonist, the action is made even more enthralling.  Kai does what every great antagonist does and takes away everything from Po and thereby making Po’s eventual victory all the more sweeter.  Also, like the previous films, it is able to work some heart into the story so it isn’t all about kicking butt and making with the ha-ha’s.  Due to Po’s biological father returning, the story explores that it isn’t always blood that makes a family and there’s some emotional conflict between Li Shan and Po’s adoptive father Mr. Ping (James Hong).  There’s also the exploration of Po becoming the warrior and teacher he was meant to be so, ultimately, the film isn’t shying away from the more emotional aspects of the story and the product did a tremendous job of balancing all these elements into an incredibly well blended smoothie of a story.

Po's two dads!

The cast in this film is fantastic.  Sadly, much of the returning cast have very limited roles and are kinda pushed into the background slightly but, for what it is worth, they are still doing a great job.  Jack Black is always a delight and he once again brings his natural infectious energy to the role of Po.   Bryan Cranston brings his immense gravitas to the role of Li Shan but the best in the cast, in my opinion, was J.K. Simmons as Kai.  The antagonist is already a pretty great villain for an animated family film but Simmons was able to bring weight to the character and make him feel like he is a bad guy with menace behind him.  As an overall product, this cast was fantastic and really gives life to this feature.
The gang is here...but in a very limited way.

Visually, the film looks terrific.  The animation and design look spot-on to the previous films but also updated with the ever-advancing technology and the visuals really play well when it concerns the chi element of the story and the action.  The “camera” of the feature gets right in on the action and creates some very dynamic shots and the chi sequences and the spirit realm all look amazing and colorful.

J.K. sure makes this character intimidating and I'm not jk'ing about that.
(Am I cool now, today's youth?)

Kung Fu Panda 3 hits all the notes and beats that a sequel in this franchise needs to hit.  The animation looks great, the action is fantastic, the story has a perfect blend of heart and humor to it and the cast is awesome.  The film also exists as a sequel that is continuing to evolve the characters and give them new adventures so it never feels like you are seeing the same thing all over again.  Overall, I found this one very fun and entertaining.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Onward

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching.  Offward!



Onward – 5 out of 5

Pixar’s track record is so strong that I’ll pretty much see everything they make with little to no persuading.  For the most part, I adore all their films.  Sure, there are the exceptions like the Cars franchise but, beyond this, I really enjoy their movies.  They tell stories in way so few animation studios will and craft features that have a perfect balance of heart and humor.  Their latest; Onward, continues this path and brings forth a magical film—and not just because it involved magic.

                                                                                                                       Pixar Animation Studios
Lightning bolt!  Lightning bolt!  Lightning bolt!

                                                                           Pixar Animation Studios
I feel like I'm a combination of both of these characters...
in that the dumb and awkward parts of both of them
combined to form me.
In a fantasy world inhabited by mythical creatures, magic eventually becomes forgotten as the world advances through technology.  Now, in modern times, the elf Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is turning 16 and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) believes he needs to take a magical quest as a rite of passage.  His mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), on the other hand, simply fulfills the wish of her late husband and gives the boys a gift that was to be bestowed upon them when both were over 16.  The gift is a magical staff with a rare gem and a spell that will allow the boys’ father to return to the world for one full day.  Initially hesitant, Ian discovers he has a natural ability for magic and is able to cast the spell…but, sadly, not completely.  Their father returns only from the waist down but Barley informs Ian that if they locate another magical gem they can complete the spell.  Now the two brothers set off to find the gem but their mother is quickly behind them trying to help them because their journey could also end up with a curse being unleashed.

                                                                                                         Pixar Animation Studios
Now kick on the mixtape with Van Halen and Whitesnake and take off on an adventure!

                                                                                        Pixar Animation Studios
More movies need to have unicorns as raccoon-like vermin.
I’m always impressed with the storytelling that Pixar creates.  While I won’t argue that they are the only great animated storytellers in the game, I will say that I love how they balance humor with real dramatic themes and beautiful explorations of the heart.  Not only are they capable of making features that are laugh-out-loud funny but they can make you cry and they do this without feeling like you are jumping in-between tones.  There is a natural flow to their films and their stories that is wholly unique and truly beautiful.  I realize this may sound like I am overselling the company and giving them praise that feels just a touch “over-the-top” but I truly feel they deserve this because they take such unique routes to craft things that are easily relatable and sympathetic.  For example, Onward really spoke to me because it centers on the idea of family and losing a parent.  I’ve been criticized in the past for “talking too much about me” in my reviews but I always see entertainment and media as a personal experience and a review is what you take away from the product.  I lost my father in 2000 so watching an animated film that is about two brothers who are literally on a magical quest just so they can have one more day with their father really hit at the core of me.  Yes, this means I cried like crazy in a crowded theater to this one but it also showed how Pixar will take these real-life issues and feelings we all have and place them in these fantastic stories and they still feel genuine and authentic.

                                                                                                                    Pixar Animation Studios
Look at those stupidly adorable kids.

Another element that I really liked about the story is seeing a mystical world with mythical creatures like elves, pixies, and centaurs taking on a modern day aesthetic.  It’s amusing to see basically our existence replaced with mythical creatures and it resulted in a formula that is a lot of fun.  It also allowed for some really great visuals for the film and animation that is meeting Pixar’s usual high standards.  With every movie they release I am always impressed with what they create and this is just another example of that amazing progression.  From a design level, they created a world that has the right levels of our world and mystical whimsy and the way they animated the characters in this space was truly impressive.  For example, the Lightfoot father is just a lower torso (who eventually is given a “dummy” upper torso by Ian) and being able to animated a character like this can’t be an easy task because how do you showcase emotional responses to a character that is lacking a head and upper body?  And therein lies the brilliance because they were able to animate a non-verbal performance, both with and without the dummy upper half, to create a character that is easily understandable and is never a mystery when it concerns figuring out what they are going through.

                                                                                                                         Pixar Animation Studios
What they don't show you is the plane of existence where the upper half is.
All it does is scream in terror and pain.

                                                                                      Pixar Animation Studios
Look, I don't want to be weird but the whole movie
I kept saying to myself that Laurel Lightfoot is hot.
The voice cast in this film is great!  Tom Holland and Christ Pratt perfectly embody their characters and do a tremendous job of showcasing their connection as brothers but also the conflict that comes from being siblings.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus is very entertaining as Laurel Lightfoot the mother and is able to embody the protective nature of a parent but also a badass and funny side as well.  Octavia Spencer is crazy fun as Corey the Manticore; a character who accidentally helps the boys on their journey, and I really enjoyed seeing Mel Rodriguez show up as Laurel’s boyfriend and centaur cop who is out to stop the boys.  I’m a really big fan of Rodriguez’s work on The Last Man on Earth (friggin’ Todd) and it just made me happy to hear him in this one.  He was legit great and very amusing as the character too so I don’t want it to sound like I only enjoyed him in this one due to past projects.  Overall, the cast in this one is fantastic and really made the film a fun, entertaining, and emotional ride.

                                                                                                          Pixar Animation Studios
Spencer was so fun as Corey that I wanted her to be on the journey with the brothers.

Onward is keeping with the tradition of Pixar’s work and delivers a film that is overflowing with heart and emotion but doesn’t rob you of a fun, entertaining experience.  The characters are great, the cast is terrific, the animation looks amazing, and the story is incredible.  Granted, my own experiences may have tinted this one brighter than what others may think it is but I really enjoyed this one and will personally say that I loved it!

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Angry Birds Movie 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching.  Things are about to get furious!



The Angry Birds Movie 2 – 4 out of 5

So, The Angry Birds Movie surprised me.  I anticipated some mildly entertaining fluff but what I got was a genuinely fun and amusing movie.  So, naturally, after I watched that one I immediately decided to check out its sequel; The Angry Birds Movie 2.  Now, I wasn’t sitting down with this one saying, “Being a sequel, this one has to be nothing but fluff” but, instead, went into it with a bit of optimism.  I was hoping it would be as fun as the first one and, as it turns out, it was.

That cauldron of rage is boiling hotter!

The eagles are using giant balls of ice and there is
not enough ice puns to do this tactic justice.
Everything seems fine on the little island of the birds.  After defeating the pigs and saving the eggs, life has seen a bit of peace and harmony—but that hasn’t allowed Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride) from letting their guard down.  However, after a giant ice ball threatens the island of the pigs, King Mudbeard (Bill Hader) calls for a truce and for them to team together against a new enemy; the eagle Zeta (Leslie Jones), and she wants to capture both the birds’ and the pigs’ islands for herself.

Zeta's plumage makes it look like she's ready to party all the time.

Imagine him with a full beard.
The core formula that made the first film a surprising amount of fun is repeated here in The Angry Birds Movie 2—but that isn’t to say that the story is just repeating itself.  While there are similarities in the fact that the island of the birds is threatened again by an outside force, the story doesn’t feel like it is just doing the same thing all over again.  This sequel is basically doing what great sequels do and that is providing another adventure for the characters that doesn’t feel overtly similar but doesn’t feel like it is trying to do something completely new and out of character.  It also adds in some new characters and provides a fun trope of having the last film’s antagonist become an unlikely ally.

I just want to say that the water in this film looks incredibly inviting.

I think Mime Bird is my favorite character.
Which is weird because who likes mimes?
Like the first film, this sequel delivers some great humor and some really entertaining action.  The humor once again has some surprisingly adult moments that feel like they are definitely on the edge of what usually gets put into family orientated animated features but still feels restrained enough where it isn’t completely inappropriate.  Concerning the action, this one steers clear of the mobile game aspect and we aren’t seeing the characters launch themselves at this new threat but rather it is a more stealthy approach as the team infiltrates Zeta’s headquarters and tries to take her down from the inside.  This does result in a wickedly fun sequence where Mudbeard and some of the birds walk around in an eagle suit.

If a Muppet looked unhinged, this would be it.

Rachel Bloom joins the cast as the super smart Silver!
Again, like the first film, this film has a lot of talent in this one and this saw the return of all the players from the last film.  They once again delivered terrifically and are matched by the newcomers like Rachel Bloom, Leslie Jones, Awkwafina, Sterling K. Brown, Zach Woods, Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish and so many more.  Seriously, how much money is being spent on these films in order to get these huge, very talented casts?  Regardless, the cast is terrific and everyone is doing an amazing job of making their characters fun and entertaining.

That smile is a trap that hides the anger.

Concerning drawbacks, there wasn’t much.  Sure, some gags in The Angry Birds Movie 2 can be a little cheesy and there are beats and tropes about it that stick with the usual expectations of your run-of-the-mill animated films but that didn’t take away from the fun I had with it.  If I was a more jaded or cynical individual or someone who is just “too cool” for a product like this, it could be an easy movie to dump on and feel superior over due to its uncomplicated nature and the reality it is an adaptation of a mobile game app but I’m not that type and I actually enjoyed this one.

The Angry Birds Movie

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching.  These birds are #*@#!#$ angry!



The Angry Birds Movie – 4 out of 5

I used to play Angry Birds on my phone until I eventually just kinda stopped playing it.  In 2016 the hit game was adapted into an animated movie and, despite admitting it would be easy to snark on a mobile game movie adaptation, I found myself giggling at the trailer and was impressed with how much talent was in the cast.  I always intended to check it out but never got around to it because there is so much content in the world but recently I sat down with it and was incredibly surprised with how entertaining and fun it is.

Look at that seething cauldron of rage!

On a reclusive island filled with flightless birds, Red (Jason Sudeikis) is a bit of an outcast due to his attitude.  After a temper tantrum that causes an incident at another bird’s home, he is sent to an anger management class where he meets the hyperactive Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride); a bird who literally blows up when angry.  One day, a mysterious boat arrives on the island with a green pig named Leonard Mudbeard (Bill Hader).  He claims to offer friendship but Red doesn’t trust.  He soon learns his mistrust was rightfully placed as Mudbeard steals all the eggs on the island and now it is up to Red and his friends to stop the pigs and save the eggs.

He's got a neckbeard!  He must be a Pig's Rights Activist.

There's a fart joke that could justifiably be made for
this image.
I wouldn’t say I was expecting pure garbage from The Angry Birds Movie—that type of nonsense is reserved for the edgy dudes in comment sections who are too cool for everything and endlessly complain.  Instead, I figured it would be a fluff product because it was based off a mobile game (and game adaptations are already a hard bet due to a history of low quality).  Like I previously stated, I chuckled at the trailer so I figured the feature would probably be good for some light laughs but ultimately be a serviceable (albeit maybe forgettable) experience.  I was wrong.  I was pleasantly surprised with how fun the movie is.  Not to be jaded and cynical but this product could have easily phoned it in and churned out the bare minimum but what it delivered was an amusing tale that does a great job of incorporating the elements of the game and brought about some shockingly fun action.

Peter Dinklage plays an eagle in this one.  Is there any role that man can't play?

One thing I enjoyed about the film was how they were able to incorporate all the elements of the game and the game's barebones story and were able to make it feel natural.  There isn’t a lot of substance to the mobile app and the film is able to elaborate and expand on the game without feeling like it is trying too hard to create something from nothing.  It’s the simplicity of the story that made it work when these game elements come into play and when they are expanding on the pigs stealing the eggs.  Granted, there are points where the game elements are introduced and feel a touched forced—for example, when Mudbeard introduces the slingshot to the birds.  At that point it felt pretty obvious that the game elements were being thrown in but it did ultimately pay off when the birds use it to attack.

Chekhov's slingshot.

Speaking of attack, this movie has a really fun action scene when the birds are attacking the pigs in order to save the eggs.  It’s at this point the film is 100% the mobile game as the birds are launching themselves with the big slingshot the pigs gave them and they are just throwing themselves into the buildings in order to create a wave of destruction.  This sequence not only incorporates the birds and their abilities from the games (developed in a way that works for the movie’s reality) but the whole thing is animated in a way that shows off some very funny moments and creates some really fun and cool looking destruction sequences.  I honestly didn’t expect this movie to have killer action but this scene really was a blast to watch.

Launch your soft, vulnerable bodies at the hard, unforgiving building material of the
pigs' domain!

For the most part, the humor in the film is fairly enjoyable.  There are some groan-inducing moments when the gags get too “modern” and feel like old people trying to relate to kids but, beyond these minor moments, I found the feature to be pretty laugh-out-loud amusing.  I was also pretty surprised at just how adult the humor gets.  You’ll always see some more mature gags littered into animated films that are essentially geared to either children or the whole family but some of these more adult jokes were way more adult than ones usually sees in these type of features.  I’m not saying these gags were raunchy but there were moments that I was surprised certain jokes made it through to the final cut.

If you like jokes about eagles peeing, this is the movie for you!

Just for the record, this bird is played by Sean Penn.
Finally, I was really impressed with the insane cast.  There is a lot of talent on the roster and way more than you’d think an adaptation of a mobile game deserves.  Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Sean Penn, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Hannibal Buress and that is only naming a few because the stars just kept arriving in this one.  At times it felt needlessly excessive and it made me wonder how many professional voice actors lost work because of this film but the cast was still damn impressive.  Everyone is doing a fantastic job and I especially enjoyed Sudeikis, Gad, and McBride as the three main birds.  They did a great job of making their characters interesting and amusing and kept the film fun and entertaining.

Wipe that smile off your face.  You are supposed to be angry.

Realistically, The Angry Birds Movie could have been just farted out because it was just a game adaptation.  That’s not really my train of thought or reasoning but I definitely could see a studio head with a lucrative property think along these lines.  However, the film ended up being a surprisingly faithful and entertaining adaptation of the smartphone game.  It’s got a great cast, terrific animation, and some very cool action and funny moments.  This one was definitely a surprise for me.