‘The Angry Birds Movie’ Review: Bird fluke
In a way, Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly’s The Angry Birds Movie takes its cue from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s The Lego Movie.
Like The Lego Movie, The Angry Birds Movie takes on the very soul and purpose that granted the game its place in pop culture. For The Lego Movie, it's being creative and capable of creating limitless things out of plastic blocks. For The Angry Birds Movie, it is having an attention span of a hummingbird and destroying things before quickly losing interest.
So The Angry Birds Movie is just like the game it is based on. It is tenuously entertaining, until the charm wears off, then it becomes just annoying and utterly childish. Then something happens, and it becomes entertaining again, then annoying again, and the cycle goes on. Before you know it, an entire hour and half have lapsed.
A story out of nothing
Like The Lego Movie, The Angry Birds Movie does not have the benefit of a proper story to lay the groundwork of a feature-length film.
The game works with the very simple mechanics of having the gamer control a slingshot to propel furious fowls up in the air to destroy targets with the purpose of preventing pigs from stealing their eggs.
At most, the game has both characters and lore. Unlike movies based on video games like Gun Ho Jang’s intolerable Heavenly Sword (2014) or the upcoming Kevin Munroe and Jericca Cleland’s Ratchet & Clank (2016), The Angry Birds Movie isn’t boxed within a preset and familiar narrative. It is mostly as free as a bird to do what it wants with the game’s characters and lore, and what it does is something clever in design, safe in execution, yet totally disposable as a result.
The Angry Birds Movie is essentially the story of Red (Jason Sudeikis), a crimson-colored bird with eyebrows that will have Martin Scorsese green with envy. He also has anger issues, which turns him into a recluse in the island community of very friendly birds.
Pigs then arrive with a dastardly plan to kidnap all the eggs to satisfy their craving. So it is up to Red and his gang of nutty fowls – including the hyperactive speedster Chuck (Josh Gad) and lumbering but explosive Bomb (Danny McBride) – to save the day by, you guessed it, propelling themselves up in the air to destroy the city of pigs and retrieve the stolen eggs.
It’s all nonsense, but there is a charm to the pointlessness of it all. It is as if the film acknowledges the fact that its very existence is silly, and the most that it can do is to ride with the silliness and treat itself as one giant joke.
The Angry Birds Movie moves in such a dizzyingly fast pace, as if the movie is scared to stop because of the risk of losing its audience's gaze. Everything is hurried. All the jokes are thrown around in record speed, but only a few hit their target. The humor is derivative. The gags are mostly stuff the audience has seen before, refurbished for the benefit of children whose tolerance for grosser or raunchier comedy is untested.
It’s a pretty movie. There are a lot of colors, and directors Kaytis and Reilly use the bold colors to make the movie look like delectable candies being displayed from behind a store window. Essentially, the movie is designed to be a product in itself, a trifle that can only be briefly delightful, to the point that it won’t be offensive to dismiss it entirely. It’s fluff, a thing to keep the kids at bay while their parents are busy taking time off from the realities of family life.
Tap and delete
The Angry Birds Movie is as every bit fleeting as the game it draws its inspiration from. What it sorely lacks, however, is the game’s addictive quality. The movie, with its bullet-speed manner of telling its story and cracking its jokes, can be very difficult to tolerate, most especially for those who expect more from their movies than just a rowdy medley of glossed up, regurgitated froth.
The tip here is to just not expect.
As soon as the experience is done, as soon as the bright colors dim and the celebratory music dies down, just tap the fake joy and delete it. The worst the movie has done is to take away a hour and a half of your life and repay it with noise and zaniness. The same cannot be said for the game. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.