Remember back in the day where the Angry Birds used to be a worldwide phenomenon? First launched by Finnish game company Rovio in 2009, the objective of the video game is to take down the green pigs and their building structures by catapulting the flightless birds using a giant slingshot. As addictive as the game once before, the Angry Birds phenomenon suffered a decline in popularity over the recent years. Then along came The Angry Birds Movie, which was first announced by Sony Pictures back in 2013 for a summer 2016 release. Now that the big-screen version has finally arrived, I was wondering whether the Angry Birds is still culturally relevant from today’s point-of-view. Either way, I kept an open mind, not to mention low expectation prior to watching The Angry Birds Movie during the press screening.
In this feature-length version, Red (voice of Jason Sudeikis) is a reclusive bird outcast prone to short-temper behaviour. Following a disastrous incident that ruined his client’s birthday party, he is sentenced by Judge Peckinpah (Keegan-Michael Key) to an anger management class. From there, he meets his fellow outcasts including the speedy yellow bird Chuck (Josh Gad) and the volatile blackbird Bomb (Danny McBride). One day, when their island is visited by mysterious green pigs, Red and his two new buddies set out to investigate their true intentions.
First up, The Angry Birds Movie deserved praise for its candy-coloured yet vibrant animation. Whether it was the character design of the flightless birds or the overall island setting itself, the movie is simply a visual feast for the eyes. Plus, kudos also go to first-time feature directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly for injecting enough silly fun once Red and the rest of the birds start launching themselves over the green pigs’ castle town with a giant slingshot. The all-star voice cast, in the meantime, is equally worthwhile with the biggest praise goes to Jason Sudeikis giving a spot-on voice performance as the grumpy bird Red and Josh Gad as the hyperactive yellow bird Chuck.
While The Angry Birds Movie is zippy enough for most of its 97 minutes running time, the movie’s narrative structure feels strictly by-the-numbers. Despite enlisting Jon Vitti as the screenwriter, who is known for penning several TV episodes of The Simpsons and the 2007 movie version, he relies heavily on the tired sight gags of fart humour and even an extended cheap joke involving Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) literally shown urinating on the screen to push the storyline forward. Although the story lacks the necessary heart and soul, The Angry Birds Movie remains enjoyable enough for what it is.