Based on the most downloaded freemium app of all time, The Angry Birds Movie has grossed over $157 million dollars in its first week. With a worldwide following for the game, it was a no-brainer that the film would follow. Seriously, we’ve seen news of PONG and Centipede movies in the works, so could a hammed-up version of our favorite birds really be denied?
In the ‘plot’ of this animated 3D lark, Red (Jason Sudeikis) is already living on the fringes of the bird community on Bird Island, where birds have forgotten how to fly. When he blows up a young chick’s birthday party, he’s sentenced to anger management class with Chuck (a yellow bird played by Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride), who become his friends. In the meantime, the pig king Leonard (Bill Hader) lands on Bird Island, lulls the birds into believing his benevolent, and, you guessed it, steals all of the eggs.
Red seeks out Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), the once-proud leader of the birds, and find that he’s grown overweight and lacks any sort of fighting discipline. Left to rally the birds himself, Red proves to be the only one with any emotional or mental capacity for ‘war,’ and proves to be valuable to the society in a way that they never believed possible.
Littered with some funny moments, the laugh out loud moments are mostly thanks to the sarcastic quotient that Sudeikis and Gad bring to the film, intent on keeping the adults from dozing off. From a plot perspective, it’s like watching Titanic: you know this is going to end with slingshots, TNT, and flying birds, right? (Sorry if I spoiled it for you.)
Written by Jon Vitti (The Simpsons, King of the Hill), it’s no wonder that this is where the humor goes – even while the onscreen hijinks are aimed at entertaining kids. And yes, I’ll critique the plot of a movie based on an app momentarily. First, there’s little discussion of Red being “angry” after the pigs arrive; he’s simply doing what he needs to do to liberate the eggs. Red’s behavior pre-invasion is clearly inappropriate, but we’re to understand he now channels it into helping people. Okay … it’s based on an app, right?
More troubling is this Mighty Eagle avenue, where the hero, or god, of Bird Island, is found to be slob and reasonably worthless. Is this Wizard of Oz material or is it downplaying how our heroes were once heroic, or even how society once put their trust in a god? I’m not sure. I know it was over my kids’ heads, but I found myself distracted by this misadventure in the film, long after the camera had moved past the vision of an eagle urinating into a pool where other birds bathed, and drank from.
Yes, Angry Birds will entertain you. Just remember it’s based on an app – there are in purchase options that will cost you something.