“The Angry Birds Movie” Review

Oh, now I know why they used Michael Jackson’s “Bad” in the trailer for this movie!  It was subtly telling the audience about the overall quality of the movie (clever).  Seriously, this movie sucks.  I am surprised how little effort was put into this film.  Before I prove my point, let’s look over the cast and crew.

The Angry Birds Movie is directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly and written by: Jon Vitti, Mikael Hed, Mikko Pöllä, and John Cohen.  Stars-Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, and Peter Dinklage.  Premise-An island of peaceful, flightless birds is visited by oddball green piggies.  What the pigs are doing there may not be good for the birds.

It’s going to sound like I hate this movie (which I do), but I’m more disappointed/annoyed than angry.  We’re in 2016, and yet movies like this one are still being made as shameless cash grabs desperately trying to benefit off of a familiar product (e.g., Minions, The Smurfs, any adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book, etc.).  I’m not specifically talking about video game movies (which The Angry Birds Movie is), or even remakes.  I’m talking about movies that: have next to no passion behind them, appeal to the lowest common denominator, and typically have Sony as the production company.  I truly believe that there is someone out there who played Angry Birds and thought they could make a decent short film out of it.  Not just to make money, but also to show their love of something through honest work.  The writers of The Angry Birds Movie (ain’t that a creative title?) don’t give a crap.

This movie is filled with toilet humor, mean-spirited tones, sex innuendos, stupidity, stereotypes, and wasted talent.  Remember that “skunk butt rug” joke from Zootopia (the joke that was obviously made for the kids)?  Imagine jokes like that, for 90 minutes straight!  That is most of The Angry Birds Movie’s humor, and it is akin to torture.  Speaking of torture, the movie comes across as needlessly cruel in a few instances.  Red (the main character) is angry because he has big eyebrows, no parents, and gets mocked/shunned for it.  The problem is, Red is an anti-hero so to speak.  He’s not an upstanding citizen or a good role model, so when they give him character traits like “no parents,” it contradicts itself.  If they wanted him to be a character we’re not necessarily supposed to like, but be entertained by (similar to Seth Gecko from From Dusk Till Dawn or Alex from A Clockwork Orange), they should have committed to it, but they gave us character traits (cheap ones at that) to wring sympathy out of the audience.  The rest of the characters aren’t much better.  The other main characters are one-note clichés, the pigs act like Southerners with mental issues (don’t ask me why), and no one gets any significant development.  These character types are so overdone, you’ll forget them a day after watching the movie.

What is up with recent movies having horrendous scripts, but extraordinarily talented casts?  Not just bad movies with one or two acclaimed actors (The Boss), but a whole cast of them (Triple 9, Batman v Superman, and Criminal).  While the voice actors in this movie are well-fitted for the characters they play, the dialog gives them absolutely nothing to work with.  The only funny lines come from Sudeikis as Red, but everyone else is wasted.  Have I mentioned that Keegan-Michael Key, Tony Hale, and Sean Penn are also in this film?  What convinced these people to sign on to this project!  I’m sorry; I just hate seeing perfect talent haphazardly wasted.

The story itself you already know, because you wouldn’t care about this review (or the movie) unless you were somewhat familiar with the game, so there is little tension or interest.  What’s even more disappointing is the actual part of the movie when the birds do their thing.  The scene of the birds sling-shooting themselves at the pigs is really underwhelming, especially since that should be the ONE thing they get right.  When the birds do their special power abilities, it comes out of nowhere.  They just get the power to have sparkles fly off of them and destroy things more efficiently.  It was at this point I realized the writers gave up on a project that had little hope in the first place.

I could go on and on about the horribleness of this movie, but to break up the pace, let’s talk about the good stuff.  The score is actually decent.  The remixed Angry Birds theme is fun, and the music is catchy.  Granted, the original score disappears after the first third only to be replaced with forced pop songs.  The animation is above average; very fast, fluent, and more visually appealing than other Sony animated bombs (Open Season anyone?), and the baby birds are extremely cute.

Art may be subjective (although I don’t fully believe that), but there is always one thing you can tell; how much effort the creator(s) put into it.  Something like The Peanuts Movie seemed doomed from the get-go, but through hard work to capture the spirit of the original, faithful animation, and a passionate sense of fun made it one of the best adaptations of all time.  I don’t know what The Angry Birds Movie could have been if there was genuine passion and love put into the writing.  What I do know is that the ICEE I ate while watching the movie was more enjoyable than the movie itself.  The Angry Birds Movie gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a D+.

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