Friday, March 6, 2020

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.

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