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Review: The Angry Birds Movie

Bomb (Danny McBride), Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad) in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animation's ANGRY BIRDS.
(From left to right) Bomb (Danny McBride), Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad)

Ask anyone’s Grandma on the bus what Angry Birds is and she’ll tell you that it is a game that she has had on her iPhone since way back in 2009. Ask her why they are making a film now, when no one is talking about it anymore, and she will tell you she is as clueless as everyone else. Not only does the film have this against it, but all the other video games made into films have been rated as rubbish or worse.

Video games were made in that format for a reason and the spin off  films never seem to match the original quality. Despite my misgivings I went to the Angry Birds film with an open mind: its trailers were filled with funny moments and I fondly remember the wasted hours I spent playing the game.

The Hatchlings in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animation's ANGRY BIRDS.
I would say this was like the kids’ faces in the cinema, but apart from me and a friend there was only one family in the cinema.

The film star Jason Sudeikis is Red, the central bird, who, surprise surprise, has a lot of anger issues which gets him into trouble with the law and in punishment he is sent on anger management classes. As in the video game the pigs now make a pretence at making peace. Red and his friends, Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny Mcbride) expose the pigs as liars but are unable to stop them stealing the eggs, encouraging the birds go to the island of the pigs to retrieve them – repeating the video game catapult action destruction.

The animation is very strong and visually the film looks good, especially during the action sequences, which in themselves however were fairly forgettable with the finale not feeling as grand as it should have – a big moment handled without care and made to feel both lacklustre and rushed.

The narrative was messy and suffered by sticking too closely to the simplicity of the game – which is really just about a bunch of irritable birds being shot at by some pigs whose Easter egg hunt involves child snatching instead of looking for chocolate. In the video game that works, but a film needs more and it’s a shame that the plot line of Red going to anger management classes, which offered entertaining and hilarious moments, wasn’t developed.

The arrival of Leonard (Bill Hader), the spokesman for the pigs, and his top aide, Ross (Tony Hale) in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animation's ANGRY BIRDS.
They may look amicable but they are really annoying.

Performances for all main birds were excellent: Terence (Sean Penn) was endlessly humorous and Danny Mcbride was very funny as well, but the pigs  were immensely irritating. Had the film made more of Red’s struggle with anger and removed the pigs it would have been more enjoyable and would have provided a more memorable message. Sure it might not follow the Angry Birds games’ narrative, but it would have made a much better film.

Whilst my review is rather negative I would not deter you from seeing it – in parts it is a fine film, quite funny in some places, has excellent animation and is supported with funny performances, but the narrative lets the film down. Video games and films don’t mix.

★★★☆☆